Blog: These United States All Need Transportation Funding – and House Action
By ATM Staff
During this important week for transportation infrastructure, we’re focused on the impact of America’s transportation funding crisis on states, and why it’s imperative that the House pass a long-term transportation bill by next week and the House and Senate conference get a fully-funded bill on the President’s desk by Nov. 20.
Here’s this week’s #TransportationTuesday fact: “52% — The average percentage of a state’s budget for transportation improvement projects that comes from the federal program.” That 52% is obviously critical for states, especially because it makes up an increasingly smaller number of dollars spent on infrastructure.
Under-investment in transportation at all levels has led to an overall “D” rating” for American infrastructure from the American Society for Civil Engineers. A “D” – that’s not good. And from coast to coast, it breaks down into pretty crummy data for every state.
A few weeks ago, we published a guest blog by Mike Elmendorf, President and CEO of the Associated General Contractors of New York State about the release of the inaugural 2015 Report Card for New York’s Infrastructure. New York received an overall grade of “C-” across all nine assessed categories and the state’s roads and bridges are most in need of repair, receiving grades of “D-” and “D+” respectively, because of the state of deterioration and inadequate funding to improve conditions.
Elmendorf noted that, “As the father of a two year old, I sure hope he never brings home a report card like that.”
In recent months, Trip national transportation group, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and AAA jointly released reports on the deterioration of rural roads and urban pavement across America. The data was woeful in markets across the country.
The “Rural Connections: Challenges and Opportunities in America’s Heartland” Report found that America’s rural roads and bridges from Washington state to Connecticut have significant deficiencies and high fatality rates; repairs and modernization is needed to improve conditions, boost safety and support economic growth.
The “Bumpy Roads Ahead: America’s Roughest Rides and Strategies to Make our Roads Smoother” report determined that driving on deteriorated urban roads from San Francisco to Scranton, PA costs motorists as much as $1,044 annually; driving on roads in disrepair increases consumer costs by accelerating vehicle deterioration and depreciation, and increasing needed maintenance, fuel consumption and tire wear.
Americans are smart – they see their highways, bridges and public transit systems crumbling and know a higher level of sustained investment is the only way to make infrastructure better. In a recent poll of South Carolina voters, more than 90% supported an increase in the state’s gasoline tax to pay for billions of dollars of needed maintenance for roads and bridges.
The current cycle of uncertainty resulting from short-term extensions by Congress has led seven states to announce they are delaying or canceling projects valued at $1.63 billion and a total of 19 states to express concerns about the feasibility of future transportation projects.
Whether we’re talking about California, South Carolina, New York, or any state in between, the needs are all significant. Consumers and businesses in every U.S. state need the U.S. House to pass a long-term fully funded bill rather than another long-term extension.
We need Congress to pass a robust, long-term transportation bill now – rather than additional short-term extensions – and get states the funding they need to make their infrastructure safer, more efficient and less costly for their citizens.
No more borrowing, no more delays, no more excuses. Communities across America need full House then House-Senate conference action.