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Pa. Auditor General Renews Call For Repair of State's Rotting Infrastructure

By David Madden

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Pennsylvania auditor general Jack Wagner made a stop today under one of Philadelphia's more heavily traveled bridges to demonstrate the sad state that thousands of bridges across the state are now in.

Under a Roosevelt Boulevard extension overpass where Wagner visited today, a sign on a pillar says it all:  "No Parking, Falling Rock."

You can see the crumbling concrete and the exposed, rusting metal.

Wagner is worried that a catastrophic accident could occur if spans like this one over Roberts Avenue are not fixed.

"A bridge in Pennsylvania is going to fail if this issue is not addressed," he told reporters today.  "And when I say fail, I mean there could be the loss of life."

He said the bridge is one of about 6,000 in Pennsylvania that need attention, more than 900 of which are within Philadelphia's borders.

He says there is a report gathering dust in Harrisburg that recommends ways to pay the 2½ to 3½ billion dollars a year needed to correct this infrastructure problem. They include an increase in the oil franchise tax (paid by wholesalers), which he says would affect consumers to the tune of about $2.00 a week when fully implemented.

But until legislators do something, Wagner notes, these bridges will continue to deteriorate.

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