ROADS/BRIDGES: Report: $120 billion needed annually to repair roads, bridges

AASHTO/APTA research shows U.S. in desperate need of a long-term highway bill

December 09, 2014

The 2015 Bottom Line Report on transportation investment needs, released Dec. 9 by the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials and the American Public Transportation Association, estimates that to meet current demand it will require an annual capital investment over six years by all levels of government in the amount of $120 billion in the nation’s highway and bridge network and $43 billion in America’s public transportation infrastructure. To meet the combined surface transportation needs, it would require an investment of $163 billion per year in surface transportation over a six-year period. Despite those dramatic investment needs, currently only $83 billion is invested in roads and bridges, while just $17.1 billion is invested in public transit.  

“The top priority for every state transportation department is to keep America’s surface transportation system operating safely and efficiently,” said AASHTO Executive Director Bud Wright. While the new report highlights a major gap between what is needed and what is actually spent, Wright said that aiming for a more robust investment level “could target the backlog of repair and rehabilitation projects across the country. Workers would benefit . . . as would the entire U.S. economy.”

“As the demand for public transportation increases, our systems are strained and in dire need of strong investment,” said APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy.  “After years of a lack of robust investment, the public transit infrastructure that our communities and businesses rely on to grow and prosper is crumbling. Investment in public transit is a key ingredient to driving growth in our communities, attracting development and causing increased property values along its corridors.”

The report found about 64,000 structurally deficient bridges are still operating across the country. That is after that category shrank by 43% from 1994 to 2013 following a major federal infrastructure spending package and state efforts to target older bridge structures.

Highway and bridge estimates in the report are based on a rate of travel growth of 1% per year in vehicle miles of travel. In 2014, America was returning, for the first time since the recession began in 2008, to the level of 3 trillion miles of travel. That rebound in travel miles has been spurred in part by falling gasoline prices and increased employment.  

The full Bottom Line Report is available at: