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Assessing bridge safety and gasoline tax increase

The collapse of I-35w bridge due to design flaw in Minnesota last summer killed 13 people and injured 100. The accident has raised renewed attention on the safety of the nation's highways and bridges.

Today, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is expected to ask states to assess bridge safety, especially those constructed in the 1960s, with their gusset plates "not thick or strong enough to meet safety margins of the era," according to the Washington Post (1/15, A3, Wilber, Laris).

Correspondingly, a "special commission is urging the government to raise federal gasoline taxes by as much as 40 cents per gallon over five years" to help with repairs to "the nation's decaying bridges and roads," the AP (1/15) reports. The recommendation is part of a "two-year study being released" today "by the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission, the first to recommend broad changes after the" collapse in Minneapolis.

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