Rock Products

AUG 2019

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www.rockproducts.com ROCK products • August 2019 • 93 B etween 2009 and 2017, the percentage of the roads nationwide in poor condition increased from 14 to 20%. The percentage of roads in "good condition" increased only slightly: from 36 to 38% over that eight-year period. This is especially concerning given that Congress provided additional federal funding for transportation infrastructure twice over that time period. We also benefited from the one-time boost provided by the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which significantly increased the funding available for road repair for several years. Despite these injections of funds, states prioritized new or expanded roads and failed to make a dent in the backlog of roads in poor condition. Because of this, we are facing a looming spending gap. As of 2017, Transportation for America estimates that we would need to spend $231.4 billion per year just to keep our existing road network in acceptable repair and bring the backlog of roads in poor condition into good repair over a six-year period, the typical length of a federal transportation reauthorization. It is significantly more expensive to rehabilitate roads that have fallen into poor repair than to preserve roads in good condition on an ongoing basis through routine pavement preservation. By comparison, all highway capital expendi- tures across all government units totaled $105.4 billion in 2015, only a portion of which goes to repair. This is more than a money problem – it's a priorities prob- lem. The latest available data shows states have made some improvement in their spending since the first edition of Repair Priorities was released in 2011. That edition found that between 2004 and 2008, states collectively spent $21 billion per year on road expansion and $16 billion per year on repair and preservation. States have increased their spending on road repair in the years since, spending $21.4 billion on average on road repair annually between 2009-2014 (the latest year with available data) and $21.3 billion annually on road expansion. Spending on road repair accounted for 30% of states' total capital spending on highways over that time, while road expansion accounted for 29%. However, this means that states are still spending just as much on road expansion as road repair. These invest- ments in expansion don't just redirect funds away from much needed investments in repair; they continually grow our annual spending need, widening the gap. Every new lane-mile of road costs approximately $24,000 per year to preserve in a state of good repair. By expanding roads, we are borrowing against the future. So What Will It Take to Fix the System? Transportation for America and Taxpayers for Common Sense are calling on Congress to address this in any infra- structure package they consider, including the upcoming 2020 federal transportation bill. Congress should take the following actions in the 2020 transportation bill to get us back on track: 1. Guarantee measurable outcomes for American tax- payers with any new funding. The next transportation bill should set clear, quantifiable outcomes the program is expected to accomplish. Congress could set a goal for repair- ing all roads in poor condition and write a bill that clearly moves the ball forward toward that goal. If it cannot be done in the next six-year authorization bill, Congress should make clear what is feasible. 2. Require that states repair their existing systems before expanding. Congress should require that states dedicate available highway formula funding to repairing the existing system first. Historically, states have used this formula funding for new road construction. Congress could grant states additional flexibility if they are able to demon- strate that they are keeping their roads in good condition above a certain percentage threshold. 3. Require project sponsors to demonstrate that they can afford to maintain new roadway capacity projects. To supplement this formula funding now dedicated to repair and maintenance, Congress should create a competitive pro- gram to fund highway capacity expansion projects similar to the New Starts transit capital program. Projects should be evaluated for funding based on clear performance criteria to ensure that funded projects produce substantial benefit for the cost, and project sponsors should demonstrate that they can operate and maintain the asset throughout its useful life, ensuring a plan for long-term upkeep. 4. Track progress and require that FHWA publish results. The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) Act in 2012 established a requirement that states and metro areas set performance targets for the pavement conditions of the interstate and non-interstate highways they main- tain. Yet FHWA did not make those targets publicly available until spring 2019, seven years after passage of the law. The new transportation bill should establish stronger reporting requirements to ensure that our investments produce the needed results. Review of Road Conditions The Nation Is Falling Behind When It Comes to the Condition of Our Roads. Aggregates Industry Almanac Review of Road Conditions

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