Your June 25 Pre-Trip: R.I. House speaker questions DOT over bridge closure

Here are five things worth knowing today:

1. Rhode Island DOT is blaming the “extreme conditions” of this past winter for the closure of the Park Avenue railroad bridge, the Providence Journal reports.  The state’s House speaker Nicholas Mattiello is demanding to know why action wasn’t taken to fix the bridge earlier, according to the Journal. The report states that the Senate has already approved the governor’s plan to toll trucks to fix the state’s bridges and infrastructure, but Matiello said it’s unlikely to be approved by the House before the House concludes session this week.

2. The Senate approved a plan to spend $275 billion on the nation’s roads and infrastructure over the next six years, but lawmakers are still trying to come up with a way to pay for it, The Hill reports. According to the report, sponsors of the proposed legislation are saying this is the first step toward solving the country’s infrastructure problems. Lawmakers face a July 31 deadline for the expiration of the current measure.

3. Americans have broken driving records, putting in more mileage at the start of this year compared to the previous record high in April 2007, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s federal Highway Administration. A new release states that American drove 987.8 billion miles for the first four months of the year, topping the 965.5 billion record set in 2007.

4. More than 10,000 veterans and active duty personnel have transitioned into civilian jobs, such as commercial truck driving through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Military Skills Test Waiver Program.  In the first three years of the program, approximately 6,000 former military personnel obtained a civilian commercial driver’s license. USDOT has more.

5. A rockslide in Oklahoma has narrowed traffic to one lane on I-35, according to The Trucker. According to the report, state transportation officials estimate that 20,000 tons of fallen rock will have to be removed to fully reopen the highway. A rockslide from the Arbuckle Mountains caused by downpours from a tropical storm shut down a portion of the highway last week, the report said.

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