New federal report gives Texas roads a D+

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A report released by the White House on Monday to promote a new jobs bill shows how bad infrastructure is in Texas.

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Overall, the White House gave Texas a C for its total infrastructure, which includes many items including roads, water, and green energy. But when focused on roads and highways, Texas received one of the lowest grades in the country.

"My car is almost three years old and I feel like it's taken so much damage in the suspension area just because of the potholes in the Houston area, just because of the bad roads," explained Jesus Menedez, a Houston driver.

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There's yet another problem that has popped up after the winter storm: more potholes.

"Lots of potholes," said driver Ramiro Zamora. "Roads are always messed up, especially where I live in the East End."

Texas received a D+ for its roads. The report shows there are 818 bridges and 19,400 miles of road in poor condition across the state.

ABC13 asked TxDOT what it thought of the report. A spokesperson told us that 75% of the roads included in the report aren't maintained by TxDOT.

Also, the spokesperson pointed out the state received a B- for its bridges, which is the second best score in the country. ABC13 wasn't able to get a number of miles of road in poor condition, however, the spokesperson told us 32 bridges are in poor condition in Harris County.

The Biden administration wants to spend $600 billion to improve aging infrastructure. But the bill's price tag is more than $2 trillion, which means there's a lot more than roads.

The new report said the proposal would also help the state's public transportation, drinking water, flood risks, green energy and broadband. Those are items that improve certain communities, University of Houston Downtown assistant professor Dietrich von Viedenfeld said, but not necessarily create jobs.

"There is going to be, I think, a long-term benefit for us, but those immediate job gains for those blue-collar union workers, that's not going to directly impact Texas," Viedenfeld explained.

The Biden administration said it could create 19 million jobs nationally. Viedenfeld said that's unlikely, and they may only produce a few million jobs. The plan calls for a lot of tax credits, which he says isn't going to necessarily put people to work in private companies.

"It's great to be bold, but my overall understanding of it is too much emphasis on government interference and not enough on enabling private sector actors on the areas where they do well," Viedenfeld explained.

There was a bi-partisan meeting on the bill Monday. Republicans said they're interested in an infrastructure package. That's a piece of the bill drivers are watching closely.

"It's pretty hard to try and navigate it because you're always trying to dodge potholes," Zamora explained. "You're always trying to dodge the bumps. You're moving too much. It's kind of hard sometimes."

The White House says the time to fix roads in Texas is now. Because of the growth the state has witnessed, especially in the Houston area, it estimates the state will be short $15 billion to fix roads for the next 20 years.

It's important to note that doesn't mean $15 billion total, but short $15 billion a year to keep up with the demand of Texas drivers.

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