The material was used for eight years in the 1970s before officials concluded it's prone to falling apart, said Richard M. Smith, manager of the agency's bridge inspection program.Had roads been privately owned it is highly unlikely the private owner would have used a new cement mixture without testing it for a number of years and only on a small number of bridges to make sure it holds up. His incentive of course would be the profit motive. Standing to lose a lot of money in law suits over crumbling cement not to mention higher insurance cost and the loss of subscribers to his roads due to bad press, there is no way he would use an untried mixture for 8 years on 1300 bridges.
The repair bill isn't cheap: $500,000 per bridge. Smith estimated as many as 1,300 bridges may be vulnerable. That would cost $650 million that a state in a budget crisis can't afford, and Smith said stopgap measures are the only option.
But the state? No one in government stands to lose a nickel so the incentive to do it right isn't there. And yet we will always be told that providing roads is a natural and required function of government because private enterprise can't be trusted to do it right.