Civil engineers and nonpartisan transportation advocates agree: The nation's infrastructure is in bad repair. Yet on Capitol Hill, lawmakers of both parties are looking to cut the federal deficit, and that means less money to improve crumbling roads and bridges.
Cardin says he has a way around that. His bill would combine the current federal funds for highways, bridges and interstates into one pool that states could used based upon specific needs.
"It's too onerous if we don't do this because you're causing a lot of damage. Not even hidden damage. Go look at how many front ends are out of alignment. Look at the damage that's done to tires. Look at the extra fuels that we're using because of roads that are not in adequate condition. You put all that together and we can't afford not to do this," he says.
Cardin's legislation would also require the transportation secretary to establish new standards for highways, which would be used to assess the nation's infrastructure and set goals for improvement.