ROADS/BRIDGES: Report shows federal dollars being devoted to existing infrastructure

New road and bridge projects account for only an estimated 6% of allotted federal aid in 2013

Associations News November 18, 2014
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According to a recent report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, in which federal highway funding allotments were analyzed, states utilized only, on average, 6% of the contract authority received from the federal government on new roads and bridges. The lion’s share of funding was pumped into the existing infrastructure.
The GAO report of Nov. 10, stated that of the $41 billion doled out among the 50 states, 5.9% wnt into building new highways and bridges, while “another 15 percent went to adding new capacity (usually, but not always, new lanes) to existing highways and bridges,” and “40 percent of the budget went to some kind of maintenance, rehab or refit of existing roads and bridges."
This reinvestment in the nation’s existing transportation infrastructure comes as little surprise to those in the know, as the number of deficient or structurally unsound roads and bridges has presently seen a backlog in state of good repair that far exceeds any funding source’s ability to offer comprehensive reconciliation—in consequence of which the mitigation in infrastructure growth is indicative of both an underwhelming allowance of funds and states’ concentration on improving their respective present arterial roads systems.
GAO’s publication editor Jeff Davis is scheduled to appear at the Nov. 23 AASHTO annual meeting in Charlotte, N.C., where a session is planned to limn what is being categorized as "Outside-the-Box Approaches to Fund Transportation." The GAO report and reactions to it will no doubt play a role in discussions.

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