The nation's highway bridge maintenance program lacks adequate means of tracking progress in improving bridges, according to a study by the Government Accountability Office. The report, requested by Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., in the wake of the Interstate 35W bridge collapse, said about 72,000 structurally deficient bridges remain in the nation. A study of the Federal Highway Bridge Program found that although the program is intended to reduce the number of deficient bridges, states and local governments often use funds for other projects.

The federal government will run a near-record deficit of $407 billion this year, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The figures released Tuesday indicate the deficit would reach a record $438 billion next year -- and could go even higher as the government takes over mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The CBO predicts that the economy will grow 1.5 percent this year in real terms and slip to just 1.1 percent growth in 2009.

Turning a deaf ear to Russia's complaints, the Bush administration is moving to rebuild Georgia's military while asserting it will not let Russia divide Europe again. Undersecretary of Defense Eric Edelman told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that the Defense Department will send an assessment team to Tbilisi later in the week.