What's wrong with our roads?
Killer potholes. In a flash they can dislodge a hubcap, shred a tire, or even worse, cause a driver to lose control of a car. But they can also be a symptom of a much deeper problem – deteriorating pavement that takes much more to repair than a simple patch.
As fundamental as our transportation system is to our daily lives, our highways and bridges are aging, under-funded and inadequate to meet the demands we place upon them today, much less the future. And across America motorists are paying the price.
For state departments of transportation, preserving the condition and performance of the transportation system we have built is the top priority.
In Pennsylvania, for example, work will begin later this year on more than 240 projects to repair and improve 608 miles of highway and 399 bridges. The projects will be financed with $1 billion in federal economic-stimulus money combined with about $2 billion in federal and state funds.
This represents the most the Pennsylvania Transportation Department has ever committed to construction in a single year.
New technology, materials, and procedures are helping extend the life of our highways and bridges. States are also spending “smart” by making the investments needed to keep a road in good repair, rather than paying more later to address greater deterioration.
But the needs are enormous and poor-quality pavement is reflected in the increased operating costs that motorists must pay.
This report, developed by AASHTO in conjunction with TRIP, a national transportation research group, documents the preservation needs of the nation’s highways and the solutions that can be applied. As we look to the next authorization of federal-aid surface transportation programs, rebuilding and improving our nation’s core transportation structure must be a fundamental goal.
Allen D. Biehler
Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation