This Week in Infrastructure: The High Cost of Insufficient Funding


On Tuesday, TRIP issued a report on the condition of North Carolina’s roads, bridges and traffic conditions. The bottom line: traffic is bad and the poor condition of roads costly.  As the 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure shows us, this TRIP report, along with one released this week in Minnesota, is a microcosm of the state of our nation’s roads, bridges and infrastructure as a whole.

While former Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood predicts a short-term extension of MAP-21, states are making other plans as the Highway Trust Fund’s money dwindles.

For example, in Nebraska, a bill allowing bond financing for road projects pushed through a filibuster to advance the bill. A Rhode Islander considered an infrastructure bank as a way to provide funding. Similarly, Secretary of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Mike Hancock, wrote “the real issue is not whether drivers want to pay tolls; it’s whether drivers want to keep paying the price of lost time, lost productivity and daily highway hazards with the corridor as it is,” as explanation for why Kentucky and Ohio need new funding tools and a fix for the Trust Fund.

Pleads to fix the Trust Fund did not end there. A south Florida mayor visited Washington to ask for funding. The Georgia DOT prepared motorists for a continued bumpy ride because of the lack of funding to repair the Dawsonville Highway bridge and the state’s Chamber urged congressional action in response, along with 30 other states’ Chambers of Commerce. The National Lieutenant Governors Association also asked Congress to take action in a unanimous, bipartisan resolution. And even members of the Canadian government are asking Congress for highway funding.

A California columnist noted “Sadly, America’s crumbling infrastructure is like the weather: Everyone complains, but nobody does anything about it.” Here’s hoping the states above get what they asked for and that sentiment doesn’t ring true much longer. There’s no free ride on infrastructure. The North Carolina and Minnesota TRIP reports prove it, as does everyone’s unique but shared experience of traffic during a commute.

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