Firefighters plea for better roads and bridges

LA_City_Firefighters_Gear_UpThe Missouri State Council of Fire Fighters are pleading with state officials to focus on the safety of state’s transportation system. The organization, which represents over 6,000 professional firefighters across the state, has released an open letter to the state.

“There are 20,000 miles of bridges and highway crossings in Missouri without shoulders,” Eric Latimer, 4th District vice president of the Missouri State Council of Fire Fighters, writes. “Missouri ranks third in the nation in structurally deficient bridges, and 65 percent of our roads and bridges are rated in “fair” or “poor” condition.”

The organization has studied the benefit of good roads and bridges. It is a proven fact that less people die when good transportation conditions are maintained.

“Between 2005 and 2012, as bridge and highway conditions improved, roadway fatalities decreased by more than 34 percent,” Latimer says.

Ultimately, it comes down to Congress working out a long-term Highway Trust Fund bill instead of consecutive short-term patches.

“If we do not find a long-term funding solution, our roads will deteriorate, putting the safety of the public and our first responders is at risk,” Latimer writes.