"Built in 1928, the bridge collapsed that fateful day in December 1967 when it was full of rush-hour holiday traffic. It was a horrific and tragic example of our nation's decaying transportation systems," Rahall said.
The Transportation Assistance Act, passed and signed into law by President Reagan in 1983, created a federal tax on gasoline to create a funding source for public transportation projects.
Many conservatives would like to reduce federal transportation funding dramatically, IBISWorld states, which would shift funding responsibilities to the states.
"Most Democrats," the study states, support "increasing income or other taxes to advance greater federal investments in rail and highway construction projects, which would provide more jobs and update deteriorating structures quickly."
IBISWorld points out that Congress, especially the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, has repeatedly refused to renew federal transportation legislation for five or six years, which Congress routinely had done in the past.
Short-term budgets, some in effect for only a few months, make it more difficult for government and private companies to plan long-term transportation projects.
Republicans also are proposing "a solution that would increase private funding of road, highway and bridge construction in the future," IBISWorld states.
That policy would make drivers pay increased tolls.
"Republican and Democrat views vary widely when it comes to federal funding for transportation," the IBISWorld study points out. "Democrats advocate greater federal investment in rail and highway construction projects, even if it means increasing taxes to pay for them."
Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.