This Week in Infrastructure: Continued Cause to Fix the Trust Fund


This pothole season is one of the worst in recent memory, thanks to the particularly harsh winter. The freezing, thawing, plowing and salting certainly did not help the D grade roads received in the 2013 Report Card. In the hard-hit Midwestern states, the hope of filled-in potholes and more funding for roads is a daily conversation.

This harsh winter was not just frustrating for drivers, it was also untimely as the Highway Trust Fund continues to run out of money, with one estimate now as early as July 1. One blogger referred to it as a “triple layer cake of crisis.” And while referencing cake may seem to sugarcoat it, he certainly did not as he outlined the trebly broken system. Nor did Deputy Secretary of Vermont Department of Transportation Sue Minter, who testified in Congress this week on the impact the impending shortfall would have on states. The New York Times presented the view of prominent companies that see the value in more road funding, and prefer an increased gas tax to tolls. A Huffington Post blogger also called on Congress to act on the Highway Trust Fund focusing on its impact on mass transit riders.

As Minter said, state DOTs are being put in a precarious position, exemplified in the search for funding for the Brent Spence Bridge that connects Ohio and Kentucky. This bridge is a vital link between two communities, and leads to a larger discussion about bridge safety across the country, as one in nine of our nation’s bridges are structurally deficient.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Highway Trust Fund’s funding concerns, AASHTO put together an excellent resource, “Nations at a Crossroads,” and you can find a list of valuable data sources here.

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