Billions needed to keep the roads running
State and local governments pay a majority of the cost to maintain the nation’s highways, roads and transit systems. An issue brief released in February by the Washington-based National Governors Association Center for Best Practices provides tips on how to raise money for road maintenance without raising taxes. Two authors of the brief, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell, say states must find creative ways to raise the $222 billion needed annually to maintain and expand the nation’s highways and transit systems and the $66 billion needed to bring the system to a level where it enhances productivity. States can consider toll and road-pricing schemes, debt financing to reduce project development costs, creating partnerships with local governments and reducing long-term growth in highway travel demand. The brief is available at www.nga.org.
Current annual investment in road and transit system maintenance: $177 billion
Annual investment needed to maintain roads and transit systems: $222 billion
Annual investment needed to make roads and transit systems capable of enhancing productivity: $288 billion
Source: National Governors Association Center for Best Practices issue brief, “State Policy Options for Funding Transportation,” Feb. 9, 2007.