The government spends only 43 percent of its transportation infrastructure budget on more than 98 percent of our country’s roads. Between 2004 and 2008, the remaining 57 percent of the budget went towards new road construction.
Repair Priorities 2019 is a study completed by Transportation for America and Taxpayers for Common Sense. This report found that U.S. roads in “poor condition” increased to 20 percent from 14 percent over the last decade. In addition, 37 states reported a worsening in road conditions during that period.
States have flexibility in how they spend federal transportation funds. Many are opting for new construction, instead of maintenance and repair of current roads. However, new construction costs governments more than routine repairs. Every mile of new road costs $24,000 per year to maintain. As a result, new construction is ultimately adding to the maintenance deficit.
Government entities that invest in preventive maintenance can reduce costs, improve safety, and prevent catastrophic events.
By working with professionals in the civil engineering and financial fields, government officials can determine best practices. Officials can analyze historic data on road usage, weather conditions, and lifespan of roads. The data informs decisions on which maintenance tasks will be more cost effective.
Poor road conditions can contribute to crashes, as well as vehicle damage. By keeping roads in good repair, safety of citizens can increase, as well.
Finally, the longer that road, highway, and bridge maintenance is ignored, the more likely a catastrophic event will occur. Preventing future incidents is paramount to protecting public safety.
What types of maintenance does the government sponsor?
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