I first came to Pittsburgh in 1989. I became an official PA resident in 1994. I got my first car in 1996, and at that time, used this particular bridge fairly regularly on my daily commute. It was falling down then. The bridge crosses over Interstate 376, known in Pittsburgh parlance as the "Parkway East". Take a look at the picture that the Trib used to illustrate the story:
The Greenfield Bridge is the arch structure. You'll notice that it has fabric netting wrapped around a large portion to contain falling concrete from the structure. You'll also notice the "bridge" beneath the bridge. What's that?
Well, sometime after the 2003 lawsuit by a motorist injured by falling debris, ostensibly from the city's bridge, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation used tax dollars to build a catcher for the debris - instead granting the money to, and working with, the City of Pittsburgh to fix the damn bridge!
This is government "efficiency" at its worst. Government at any level spends too much time on problems that it shouldn't try to fix, and almost as much time looking at problems it should be on top of and saying, "Sorry, not my problem!"
Transportation infrastructure is a responsibility of government, including the Federal government. I look at a "reasonable" interpretation of the Constitution, specifically Article I, Section 8, Clause 7:
[The Congress shall have power] To establish post offices and post roadsI'm sure the US Mail traverses most of our road infrastructure at one point or another. But, that really isn't the point. It's a city bridge, that crosses a US Interstate highway, that was built and is maintained by a state agency, that receives Federal highway dollars. In other words, it's a shared responsibility, and all have failed.
President Obama likes to stand near bridges that don't need repair or replacement while yapping that they do. Perhaps the next time he inconveniences our city with his presence, he can stand under this one and catch some concrete.