Federal Road and Bridge Spending Misdirected; Billions Wasted

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Thousands of miles of roadway spanning highways and bridges lack necessary maintenance and repairs due to political decisions that result in spending more money on building new roads. The preference on the part of lawmakers at the state and federal level to cater to the desires of the “highway lobby” seeking billion-dollar construction projects has resulted in large segments of the nation’s infrastructure falling into disrepair.

According to data from the Federal Highway Administration cited by the Public Interest Research Group in its new report, “45% (or more than 150,000 miles) of federal highways and major roads were in poor, mediocre or fair condition as of 2008.” PIRG also states there were more than 70,000 “decaying bridges” across the United States.
From 2006-2008, nearly twice as much money was spent on average by state governments using federal transportation funds on new highway construction than on maintenance and repair—$8 billion vs. $4.8 billion.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Road Work Ahead: Holding Government Accountable for Fixing America’s Crumbling Roads and Bridges (by Travis Madden, Benjamin Davis and Phineas Baxandall, U.S. PIRG Education Fund) (pdf)


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