More roads are filling up with potholes, and the state of Colorado seems destined to just ride it out.
Ten years ago the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) began documenting road conditions in the state. On Sept. 15, the agency announced that 52% of the 9,144 miles of highways are in poor condition, the highest “low point” since the pavement assessment began.
If CDOT continues to spend just $260 million a year on maintenance over the next 20 years, the number of roads in poor condition will skyrocket to 78%. Keeping highways in their existing condition during that timeframe is projected to cost $515 million a year.
“This is an area where the public will quickly see the consequences: The deterioration of the roads,” Colorado Transportation Commission member Doug Aden told the Denver Post. He went on to add that the grim outlook is a perfect example of “how grossly under-funded the department is.”
The goal of the state’s Transportation Commission is to have 60% of roads in good or fair condition, which would cost an additional $430 million to achieve over the next 20 years.
In 2007, a transportation finance panel set up by the governor recommended that Colorado come up with the funding firepower to produce an additional $1.5 billion for roads, bridges and transit. At the time, lawmakers refused to raise taxes or fees to accommodate such an action, but two years later the FASTER transportation bill was passed, which has added about $80 million for bridge repair and replacement.