DOT says report underscores need for transportation investment

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Surface Transportation1

The U.S. Department of Transportation on Friday, March 16, announced that a new report on the state of America’s transportation infrastructure, “2010 Status of the Nation’s Highways, Bridges and Transit: Conditions and Performance,” points to a sizeable gap between current spending and projected levels of investment needed to maintain the nation’s highway and transit systems.

“President Obama is committed to building the transportation infrastructure we need for tomorrow by putting people to work today, “ said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This report shows how important it is important to get started now rebuilding America’s roads, bridges and transit systems.”

DOT’s report projects that $101 billion, plus increases for inflation, would be needed annually over the next 20 years from all levels of government – local, state and federal – to keep the highway system in its current state. It also identifies significant opportunities for investments to improve the current state of highways and bridges that could total up to $170 billion a year.

The report shows that in 2008, all levels of government spent a combined total of $91.1 billion on highway capital improvements, a 48.4 percent increase over 2000. The Obama administration’s fiscal year 2013 budget request calls for $305 billion for highway programs over six years, which reflects a 34 percent increase for roads and bridges over the previous authorization to address the outstanding need for resources.

“We see significant improvements with every dollar,” said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez. “The president called on us to create an America built to last, and while we have a long way to go to upgrade our nation’s highways and bridges, we owe it to future generations to get to work and make it happen.”

DOT’s report projects that between $20.8 billion and $24.5 billion will be needed annually over the next 20 years to attain a state of good repair for the nation’s transit systems and to accommodate expected transit ridership growth. In contrast, all levels of government combined spent only $16.1 billion on transit capital improvements in 2008. The Obama administration budget request includes $108 billion over the six years for transit options, a 105 percent increase over the previous authorization levels.

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“Today, more and more Americans are looking for greater choices in transportation,” said FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff. “With gas prices on the rise, we need to heed President Obama’s call to invest in America’s infrastructure, in order to ensure that transit remains a reliable and desirable choice.”

“Conditions and Performance” is a biennial report to Congress that provides information on the physical and operating characteristics of the highway, bridge and transit components of the nation’s surface transportation system.