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Americans Willing to Pay More to Fix Roads

And they’ll vote for lawmakers who boost spending, says a new study.

by on Jun.11, 2014

A suburban Detroit driver avoids a tire-chewing pothole. Photo courtesy: CNBC.

Michigan lawmakers will be scrambling over the next few days to work out a compromise meant to generate more than $1 billion to repair roads severely damaged by both a bad winter and heavy truck traffic. And the home of the domestic auto industry isn’t alone. From California to Maine, America’s roadway infrastructure has been crumbling, even as both state and federal dollars needed to fix the problem have come up short.

Perhaps it’s the jarring folks take commuting every day, never mind the cost of replacing tires and keeping suspensions aligned, but despite the nation’s generally anti-tax mindset, a new study indicates U.S. motorists are “fed up” and willing to shell out a bit of cash for road repairs.

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In fact, a majority of those surveyed by AAA said they’d be more likely to vote for a member of Congress who supports increased federal spending on transportation.

“Many of us are willing to pay a little more if it means we will have access to better roads, bridges and transit systems,” said AAA President and CEO Bob Darbelnet. “It is time for our nation’s leaders to stand with those in Congress who support improving our country’s transportation system.”


Fix the Roads, But Don’t Ask Us to Pay for It

The Highway Trust Fund is about to go broke, again.

by on Sep.03, 2009

 61,000 miles of our National Highway System are now in poor to fair condition, 25% of bridges "structurally deficient."

About 61,000 miles of our National Highway System are in poor to fair condition.

Everyone knows what happens to a car when it runs out of fuel. Nevertheless, the same cannot be said about the Highway Trust Fund, which at current funding levels will be $17 billion short of money for the 2010 fiscal year that starts next month.

Minnesota Democrat James Oberstar’s sweeping bill to reform Transportation policy and fix the bankrupt Highway Trust Fund has been blocked by the Obama Administration, so the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, among others, is pushing to renew the existing bill for six more years.

Virtually everyone agrees that our roads, highways and bridges need more maintenance and rebuilding, but a depressed economy and soaring budget deficits make politicians reluctant to address the problem.

In addition, the gang that lives in state along the banks of the Potomac is much better at passing out money for earmarks and pet programs, than they are at finding ways to pay for them. That’s why the Trust Fund is under funded in the first place.

The problem with renewing the existing bill is that it doesn’t contain adequate taxes to support the work required to keep roads repaired. The gasoline tax of 18.4 cents a gallon that goes toward roads has not been raised in 15 years. And, if you’ve been driving through those years, you know what has happened to our highways. About 61,000 miles of our National Highway System are now in poor to fair condition, and 152,000 bridges – 25% — are “structurally deficient.”

Well, things could get worse. The easy political position given circumstances right now is to renew the existing law, without increasing fuel taxes.

However, the numbers do not work. An estimated $235.7 billion (FY 2010-FY 2015) will be raised, but existing transportation programs cost $326.1 billion during the same period. And this doesn’t catch up with decades of neglect.

No Potholes!

No Potholes!

The Obama Administration kicked the problem down the road as Congress recessed this summer by moving $7 billion more in funding into the Trust Fund so that it can get by for the time being.