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Too Much Spending on New Projects, Not Enough on Maintenance

Transportation for America’s report argues that the growing cost of maintaining highways should refocus spending away from expansion projects, toward maintenance efforts.
May 20, 2019, 7am PDT | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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More roads more problems.
State Farm

Road conditions are deteriorating in the United States, and a report from Transportation for America argues that too many new roads is a big part of the problem. "Between 2009 and 2017, states added 223,494 highway lane miles — enough to crisscross the United States 83 times, T4A says. Those new highways add to the already crushing maintenance burden," Angie Schmitt writes for Streetsblog USA.

Many have suspected that incentives push state governments to build new assets for ribbon cuttings, instead of maintaining existing resources. This report confirms that contention. "If Congress really wants to improve infrastructure, it should attach some strings to any funding to prioritize maintenance over new construction," Schmitt suggests. Without these strings, states create a vicious cycle where each administration creates more assets to maintain while letting the ones it inherited fall further and further into disrepair.

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Published on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 in Streetsblog USA
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