BRIDGEPORT, Pa. (CBS) –– Federal transportation secretary Ray LaHood visited the Delaware Valley region today to press for passage of President Obama’s jobs bill, which contains a $50-billion component for transportation projects.

LaHood (below right), accompanied by officials from SEPTA, stood near the Bridgeport Viaduct in Montgomery County — which carries the Norristown High Speed Line over the Schuylkill River — and urged lawmakers to put aside politics.

lahood ray side mabrams US Transportation Secretary Says Jobs Bill Will Help SEPTAs Infrastructure

(US Transportation secretary Ray LaHood, today. Credit: Mark Abrams)

“Pass the American Jobs Act, put friends and neighbors to work, fix up aging infrastructure, give people the kind of infrastructure that we have always had in America,” he said.

SEPTA general manager Joe Casey says the Bridgeport structure is not in imminent danger of collapse but is badly in need of repairs.

Casey says SEPTA needs $34 million to repair and recondition the bridge. He says doing nothing now will be costly in the very near future.

“At that point, we’ll be looking at… instead of rebuilding the bridge, we’ll be looking at bridge replacement at the cost of $260 million,” Casey said.

The 3,200-foot-long structure was built 100 years ago, and Casey says cracking concrete on the viaduct’s bridge piers, missing bolts, corrosion, rust, and deteriorating wooden ties can’t be ignored.

Reported by Mark Abrams, KYW Newsradio 1060

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