HARRISBURG - Gov. Rendell today urged the state legislature to approve more funding to speed up bridge repairs on more than one thousand aging bridges across Pennsylvania.

Rendell, speaking at a press conference, said he wants the legislature to sign off on his proposal to spend an additional $200 million a year over three years to fix 1,145 structurally deficient bridges, including 67 bridges in the southeast.

Citing the Minnesota bridge collapse that killed 13 people last year, Rendell said:

"We know what can happen when bridge needs are not addressed; we see tragedies like Minnesota. We have to repair our bridges and we have to repair them now."

Pennsylvania has more bridges that are over 50 years old than any other state. Among those 6,000 are structurally deficient, which means they are not dangerous but could face closure or reduced weight loads if they are allowed to further deteriorate.

He said the funding would allow the state to cut by 40 percent the number of structurally deficient bridges over 10 years.

Rendell said he wants to see the bond funding approved before the legislature is scheduled to break for the summer on June 30.

The principal and interest on the bond would be paid through the state's Motor License Fund.

Rendell made the announcement standing near the one of the bridges that is in need of repair – the George Wade Bridge that carries Interstate 81 over the Susquehanna River in Harrisburg.

Contact staff writer Amy Worden at 717-783-2584 or aworden@phillynews.com