A five year federal transportation reauthorization bill was an important step in stabilizing transportation funding. But as this article indicates the states must recognize the need for additional state transportation funding if state DOTs are going to be able to maintain the current systems and meet the needs of growing populations.
April 15, 2016
A number of state departments of transportation are telling lawmakers and residents to expect their highway systems to continue to deteriorate unless legislatures provide more project funding, and some states are eyeing unusual steps to keep projects moving.
A senior Michigan DOT official – Chief Operations Officer Mark Van Port Fleet – recently warned state House and Senate transportation committees, the Detroit News reported, that “the results of our predictive model is that the condition of pavement is going to continue to decline” despite higher state and federal funding levels approved in the past year.
A March 22 MDOT staff analysis said: “A significant amount of pavement is in fair condition. Even with the recent passage of increased state and federal transportation revenue, many of these pavements, if not addressed soon, will fall into poor condition. Once pavements deteriorate into the poor category, it is more costly to bring them back into good condition.”
New state projections also see vehicle miles on state roads going up faster than earlier estimates, with congestion continuing to worsen.
The MDOT official told lawmakers that a large multiyear state funding plan, signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder last November, is “going to slow the decline” in road conditions, the Detroit News said.
AASHTO and other industry trade groups have said the new five-year FAST Act federal surface transportation legislation provided “modest” increases in core highway and transit program funding. While that was an improvement from previous levels, AASHTO has said it was not enough to allow states to eliminate their large backlog of needed infrastructure projects to maintain their networks and reduce congestion. Read on…