Streetfacts: Roads Are a Money Losing Proposition

The majority of the roads and highways built in America are simply bad investments. Continuing this pattern will only ensure that wasteful projects consume larger chunks of our federal, state, and local budgets, without addressing the real need for transportation options.

This Streetfacts chapter has a bit more math than usual, but we think we’ve made an entertaining and accessible profile of how government agencies routinely justify unnecessary road projects. The example we’ve chosen to illustrate the problem is a federally-funded “diamond-deverter” interchange in Colorado. The project as proposed may look like a pretty good deal for taxpayers at first, but after crunching the numbers, you’ll see that’s not the case at all.

Much of the inspiration for this piece comes from the outstanding work of Strong Towns, an organization that emphasizes obtaining a higher return on infrastructure investments. Strong Towns Executive Director Charles Marohn, Jr. has been getting his message out through what he calls curbside chats, and we’ll soon be debuting a Streetfilm that features his work.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Biking and Walking Score Big in TIGER III

|
In the third round of TIGER funding, the Obama administration has continued to demonstrate a strong commitment to bike and pedestrian projects. Of the 46 projects chosen for funding, 22 incorporate some aspect of bike and pedestrian accessibility, and nine of them make cyclists or pedestrians the primary beneficiary, said Kartik Sribarra of the Rails-to-Trails […]

The Next Generation DOT

|
Cross-posted from the Strong Towns blog.  Charles Marohn is a planner and engineer in Minnesota and the executive director of Strong Towns.  We’ve been looking at the instincts of today’s transportation agencies. While on an individual level it is clear that these organizations are filled with people who are professional, competent and want to do the […]

Highway Revolts Break Out Across the Midwest

|
The evolution of state and regional transportation agencies is painfully slow in places like Missouri and Ohio, where officials are plowing ahead with pricey highway projects conceived of decades ago. But plenty of Midwesterners have different ideas for the future of their communities, and they aren’t shy about speaking up. One after another, residents of […]