Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Highway Repair

Fix-It-First Bill Introduced in Senate

Highway maintenance has been getting short shrift in state budgets, according to a recent report from Smart Growth America. But a bill introduced in the Senate today seeks to address the imbalance between road construction and maintenance.

A fix-it-first policy could help prevent another distaster like the I-35 collapse in Minneapolis. Photo: ##http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,291814,00.html## Fox News##

Maryland Senator Ben Cardin's Preservation and Renewal of Federal-Aid Highways Act would require states to develop targets for road maintenance. It would also give USDOT authority to establish and hold states to standards for "state of good repair" on federal highways.

Smart growth advocates and transportation reformers applauded the announcement today, saying it would help put the country back on a sustainable, fiscally responsible path.

“Roads in many states are falling in to disrepair and these declining conditions cost taxpayers billions of dollars in preventable expenses," said Geoff Anderson, president and CEO of Smart Growth America. "Investing in repair makes good fiscal sense, good safety sense, and good business sense for our country.”

In his statement on the proposal, Cardin emphasized the costs of neglecting road maintenance. He noted that poor road conditions are a “significant factor” in approximately one-third of fatal crashes, adding that poor roads add to the repair and operating costs for motorists to the tune of $67 billion a year, or approximately $333 per driver. Poor road conditions also contribute to 42 percent of America’s urban highway congestion, he said.

“Investing in our nation’s highways and infrastructure has been one the best federal investments we have ever made,” said Cardin, a member of the EPW's Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee. “Our nation’s highways are critical to growing our economy, and repairing and maintaining their quality is required to ensure lasting efficiency and safety.”

Last week's Smart Growth America report found that 57 percent of states' highway funding is spent on new construction, meaning that a majority of our transportation dollars are being poured into just a fraction -- 1.3 percent -- of the total system. Meanwhile, roads are decaying fast. About half of the nation's 1.9 million lane miles were judged to be in "fair" or "poor" condition by the Federal Highway Administration in 2008.

Representatives of Smart Growth America said they will be watching and supporting Senator Cardin's legislation through the adoption process.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

Wednesday’s Headlines Are in a Good Place

How should we react to public indifference about the danger cars pose to society? Perhaps a sitcom has something to teach us.

July 24, 2024

Opinion: Is Kamala Harris ‘The Climate President We’ve Been Waiting For’?

Kamala Harris fought hard for a better transportation plan in the San Diego region despite big political risks. If elected president, will she do the same for the country?

July 24, 2024

America is Setting Micromobility Records — But That Boom Could Go Bust Without Public Funding

Shared bike and scooter trips soared 20 percent in a single year. So why are so many U.S. systems shutting down — and what will it take to keep the revolution rolling?

July 24, 2024

Get on the bus! Advocates Urge Mayor Johnson to Save Chicago Greyhound Terminal

According to the letter, rehabbing the station would cost less that $40M, a small fraction of the price tag of many other local transportation projects.

July 23, 2024

Tuesday’s Headlines Are Running Hard

More political news: Today's top stories delve into Kamala Harris' record on climate change and Republicans' plans for the Trump administration if he returns to power.

July 23, 2024
See all posts