According to the USA Today, half of the nation’s worst roads are in counties that will only receive about 20% of the stimulus money allocated by state and federal officials for street repairs. As a result, nearly $10 billion in federal aid is bypassing major urban areas.
According to the report, the 74 counties with half of the nation’s bad roads will split $1.9 billion, while counties with no major roads in poor shape will split about $1.5 billion.
John Barton, head of engineering for the Texas Department of Transportation, told the USA Today that many of the roads are in such bad shape that the repairs would take too long and the asking price would be too high, disqualifying them for ARRA funds.
“It’s just not fair,” Hassan Saab, a highway engineer for Wayne County, Mich., told the USA Today. The report revealed that Detroit, which carries about a third of Michigan’s bad roads, will only get about 10% of the state’s ARRA repair money.
Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, however, disagrees with the assessment.
“By the USA Today’s own measure, counties with the worst roads are getting close to $10 for every dollar spent in all the other counties in the country,” LaHood said in his Fast Lane blog. “And, of the nearly 1 million roads in the federal highway system, the data used by the USA Today only covers 22% of those roads. Hmmm.
“Unfortunately, this biased report has missed the boat completely. We are getting money quickly out the door to areas of the country that need it most and for roads and bridges in the worst shape.”