New Report Says Roads Don’t Pay For Themselves

A new report from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group PIRG's report estimates that road construction has cost the American public $600 billion since the highway system began.
January 4, 2011, 10am PST | Tim Halbur
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Tanya Snyder at Streetsblog says the report shows that the traditional arguments that road construction "pays for itself", such as the economic benefit of cutting road congestion, don't hold water:

"Highway expansions are often justified as projects that relieve traffic and, believe it or not, reduce pollution. So if a highway widening achieved its stated aims, it would cut congestion and fuel consumption, which would mean fewer gas tax dollars and roads that don't pay for even a fraction of their construction costs. However, we know that new highway capacity doesn't actually reduce driving – it induces more driving.

The additional traffic created by expanding highways does generate more gas tax revenue, but still not enough to come close to covering the costs of new roads."

Thanks to Tanya Snyder

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Published on Tuesday, January 4, 2011 in Streetsblog Capitol Hill
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