White House report blames road decay for sluggish growth
WASHINGTON — More than two-thirds of American roadways are in need of repair, and the poor condition of the nation's transportation network results in billions in extra costs, according to a White House report.
The report was released on Monday in conjunction with President Obama's campaign to pressure Congress for a deal to replenish the Highway Trust Fund.
The fund, supplied by fuel taxes, is heading toward insolvency as early as next month, jeopardizing jobs and projects during the peak construction season.
Crumbling roads and bridges cut into economic growth by increasing transportation costs and delaying shipments, according to the report.
“A well-performing transportation network keeps jobs in America, allows businesses to expand and lowers prices on household goods to American families,” said a 27-page report by the Council of Economic Advisers and National Economic Council.
New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are among the states with the most roads rated in poor condition, according to the White House.
Twenty-three percent of New York's 114,592 miles of roadway are listed in poor condition and 35 percent of public roads in New Jersey are rated that way, according to the White House report. In Connecticut, 41 percent of 21,414 miles of public roads are rated poor.
Obama is scheduled to speak on Tuesday at a highway research center in McLean, Va., that tests technology to make road and bridge building more efficient. He'll promote the need to invest in the nation's infrastructure on Thursday during a trip to Delaware, where he'll announce an initiative to increase private sector investment.
States should expect the government to begin slowing payments as early as Aug. 1, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has said. Construction delays threaten 112,000 transportation projects and about 700,000 construction jobs, Vice President Joe Biden told business leaders at the White House last week.
The trust fund “is quickly running toward insolvency,” Foxx said.
The transportation funding law expires on Sept. 30.
The House and Senate are preparing legislation to shore up transportation funding through May 2015, and lawmakers said votes could be taken as soon as Tuesday.
The House and Senate proposals generate almost $11 billion, according to Congress' Joint Committee on Taxation. They include increased customs fees, changes to pensions that lower companies' short-term contributions, and revenue from a leaking underground storage tank fund. The Democratic-led Senate version, though, contains other tax provisions that might be obstacles in the Republican-controlled House.
Pennsylvania will not have a problem paying for its highway projects while Congress works toward a resolution of the Highway Trust Fund crisis, according to a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation.
Lawmakers, however, have stressed the importance of keeping the money coming.
“There is an immediate need to address the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund and to extend the current surface transportation law in order to prevent a shutdown of transportation programs and projects across the country in the coming weeks,” said U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Hollidaysburg, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- NYPD officer shot over weekend dies
- Bullying bad for children’s mental health, study hints
- Former tech executive Carly Fiorina enters presidential race
- U.S. intel misjudged al-Qaida, ex-CIA official’s book says
- Curfew lifted in Baltimore
- 3 shot outside Texas cartoon exhibit of Muhammad artwork
- Baltimore on edge: National Guardsmen take up positions
- Researchers find new, elusive bird species
- Utah outpost stands in for Mars
- Judge puts Hurricane Katrina flooding costs on federal government
- Experts: Convictions against police officers will be tough to win in Baltimore case