The cost to fix all these bridges isn't all that high. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that it would take an extra $8 billion per year to eliminate our deficient bridge backlog by the year 2028. The total cost is $20.5 billion, with the government already spending $12.8 billion toward that figure.
But what is $20.5 billion, really? There are 114 different companies in the S&P 500 that have higher annual sales. The closest comparison is US Bancorp, with $20.3 billion in revenue. Yes, $20.5 billion is massive relative to the Department of Transportation's budget, which is under $100 billion, or the total amount spent on highways across the country (about $160 billion when counting local and state spending as well). When compared to private company revenue, however, it's not a giant number.
The next time you see presumably scary data about our nation's bridge problem, just know the report may not be as accurate as they say. To be sure, there are plenty of bridges that need repair, but the vast majority of them are fine. In other words, if you are going to die in a car this holiday season, the odds are that it will almost certainly not be because you fell off of a bridge.