DOT’s Latest Report Reveals a Need for Increased Spending
According to a recent update from the U.S. Department of Transportation, maintaining the nation’s roads and transit system in the coming years will be more expensive than expected, and certainly costlier than in past years. In fact, it appears that our government will need $101 billion every year for the next 20 years. This total does not include the increased amount that will be needed to account for inflation.
The report that was released is called 2010 Status of the Nation’s Highways, Bridges and Transit: Conditions & Performance, according to Truckinginfo. The point of the report to Congress is to offer the facts on the characteristics of the bridge, highway, and transit features of the country’s transportation system.
The report features four parts that are split into 13 chapters. They address the following issues, to name a few:
• Environmental sustainability
• The facts on travel within the country
• The impact of climate change
• Operational performance of highways, bridges, and transit
• Characteristics of the current highway system
Apparently, the reason for the money that will be spent over the next 20 years is to keep the highways in good shape so they can last for future generations. The funds would need to come from local, state, and federal government so that no single level is saddled with the costs.
According to Overdrive, the costs of highway upkeep have continued climbing for years. For example, about $91 billion was spent on improving the highways in 2008, and that was a nearly 50% increase from the year 2000. Meanwhile, the 2013 budget for highway improvement requests $305 billion annually for the next 6 years.
Some of the findings of the report, according to United States Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration include the following:
• Highway safety has generally improved
• The condition of bridges and pavement has improved
• Transit is safer and is nearly everywhere
• The funding for transit has increased
Nonetheless, the funding will need to increase even more. In fact, Overdrive reported that it will cost about $20 billion to $25 billion every year for the next 2 decades to get our country’s transit systems into good shape. They also need to be ready for increased ridership based on DOT’s expectations.
In all, it appears that there is quite a gap between the funding we need for transportation projects, and the funding we currently have. There is no official word yet on where exactly the money will come from, but it will likely affect the public at some point, so look for future updates on the plan.