DOT_Logo_150pxWashington, D.C. – The Highway Trust Fund is set to expire on July 31. Without action from Congress, federal funding for transportation will come to a screeching halt. And with it, so will traffic in many places across the country.

Over the last six years, Congress has passed 33 short-term measures rather than funding transportation for the long term. And our transportation system –our roads and bridges, especially– is in a dire state of disrepair because of it. The table of state-by-state road and bridge conditions, shown below, demonstrates this.

Experts agree: The only way to prepare our transportation system for the next generation is to stop this cycle of short-term measures and pass a long-term transportation bill.

U.S. road and bridge data by state 

StateStructurally Deficient / Functionally Obsolete Bridges*Annual Total Extra Vehicle Repairs / Operating Costs Due to Driving on Roads in Need of Fixing**Percentage of Roads in Poor / Mediocre Condition**
ALABAMA3,608 of the 16,078 (22.4%)$530 million ($141 per motorist)25%
ALASKA290 of the 1,196 (24.2%)$181 million ($359 per motorist)49%
ARIZONA954 of the 7,862 (12.1%)$887 million ($205 per motorist)52%
ARKANSAS2,894 of the 12,748 (22.7%)$634 million ($308 per motorist)39%
CALIFORNIA6,953 of the 24,955 (27.9%)$13.892 billion ($586 per motorist)68%
COLORADO1,438 of the 8,612 (16.7%)$1.034 billion ($287 per motorist)70%
CONNECTICUT1,472 of the 4,218 (34.9%)$847 million ($294 per motorist)73%
DELAWARE177 of the 864 (20.5%)$168 million ($257 per motorist.36%
FLORIDA2,044 of the 12,070 (16.9%)$1.792 billion ($128 per motorist)26%
GEORGIA2,600 of the 14,769 (17.6%)$374 million ($60 per motorist)19%
HAWAII494 of the 1,125 (43.9%)$456 million ($515 per motorist)49%
IDAHO859 of the 4,232 (20.3%)$316 million ($305 per motorist)45%
ILLINOIS4,246 of the 26,621 (15.9%)$2.4 billion ($292 per motorist)73%
INDIANA4,168 of the 18,953 (22%)$1.249 billion ($225 per motorist)17%
IOWA6,271 of the 24,398 (25.7%)$756 million ($381 per motorist)46%
KANSAS4,465 of the 25,171 (17.7%)$646 million ($319 per motorist)62%
KENTUCKY4,436 of the 14,116 (31.4%)$543 million ($185 per motorist)34%
LOUISIANA3,790 of the 13,050 (29%)$1.2 billion ($408 per motorist)62%
MAINE791 of the 2,402 (32.9%)$246 million ($245 per motorist)53%
MARYLAND1,418 of the 5,291 (26.8%)$1.598 billion ($422 per motorist)55%
MASSACHUSETTS2,694 of the 5,136 (52.5%)$1.461 billion ($313 per motorist)42%
MICHIGAN3,018 of the 11,022 (27.4%)$2.534 billion ($357 per motorist)38%
MINNESOTA1,513 of the 13,137 (11.5%)$797 million ($250 per motorist)52%
MISSISSIPPI3,636 of the 17,044 (21.3%)$811 million ($419 per motorist)51%
MISSOURI6,633 of the 24,350 (27.2%)$1.6 billion ($380 per motorist)31%
MONTANA882 of the 5,126 (17.2%)$136 million ($184 per motorist)52%
NEBRASKA3,765 of the 15,370 (24.5%)$380 million ($282 per motorist)59%
NEVADA253 of the 1,853 (13.7%)$391 million ($233 per motorist)20%
NEW HAMPSHIRE790 of the 2,438 (32.4%)$267 million ($259 per motorist)54%
NEW JERSEY2,334 of the 6,566 (35.5%)$3.476 billion ($601 per motorist)66%
NEW MEXICO654 of the 3,935 (16.6%)$397 million ($291 per motorist)44%
NEW YORK6,775 of the 17,442 (38.8%)$4.551 billion ($403 per motorist)60%
NORTH CAROLINA5,534 of the 18,168 (30.5%)$1.555 billion ($241 per motorist)45%
NORTH DAKOTA966 of the 4,439 (21.8%)$112 million ($237 per motorist)44%
OHIO6,647 of the 27,015 (24.6%)$1.685 billion ($212 per motorist)42%
OKLAHOMA5,828 of the 22,912 (25.4%)$978 million ($425 per motorist)70%
OREGON1,754 of the 7,656 (22.9%)$495 million ($173 per motorist)65%
PENNSYLVANIA9,561 of the 22,660 (42.2%)$2.947 billion ($341 per motorist)57%
RHODE ISLAND433 of the 766 (56.5%)$350 million ($467 per motorist)70%
SOUTH CAROLINA1,920 of the 9,275 (20.7%)$811 million ($255 per motorist)40%
1,459 of the 5,875 (24.8%)$194 million ($324 per motorist)61%
TENNESSEE3,802 of the 20,058 (19%)$809 million ($182 per motorist)38%
TEXAS9,998 of the 52,561 (19%)$5.27 billion ($343 per motorist)38%
UTAH437 of the 2,974 (14.7%)$332 million ($197 per motorist)25%
VERMONT903 of the 2,731 (33.1%)$230 million ($424 per motorist)45%
VIRGINIA3,588 of the 13,765 (26.1%)$1.344 billion ($254 per motorist)47%
WASHINGTON2,066 of the 7,902 (26.1%)$1.349 billion ($272 per motorist)67%
WEST VIRGINIA2,514 of the 7,125 (35.3%)$372 million ($273 per motorist)47%
WISCONSIN1,970 of the 14,088 (14%)$1.147 billion ($281 per motorist)71%
WYOMING723 of the 3,099 (23.3%)$96 million ($236 per motorist)47%

*According to 2013 data from the Federal Highway Administration.

**According to the American Society of Civil Engineers 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure.

(The following article, written by Ken Orski, editor and publisher of Innovation Briefs, is reproduced with permission of Mr. Orski.)

WASHINGTON — Congressional action on transportation this year, including the shape of the next surface transportation bill, will be inevitably influenced by the changed political geography of the 112th Congress.

Not only will the level of funding for transportation be dictated by new, fiscally conservative House appropriators, but the program priorities will be influenced by a new House majority that largely hails from small-town and suburban America.

None of the new GOP majority on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee represents big city transit-oriented districts. A majority come from the heartland. The closest to a major urbanized areas that any of the Republican members come from, are Oklahoma City and Charleston, S.C.

Thus, the committee will likely focus on traditional concerns of keeping roads and bridges in a state of good repair — and try to stabilize the Highway Trust Fund by bringing expenditures in line with expected gas tax receipts. That means a budget of approximately $40 billion to $41 billion annually.

Within these budget limits, transit will maintain its customary standing — although it may receive somewhat less emphasis, given the changed composition of the T&I Committee.

Also likely to be curtailed will be support for high-speed rail, given its cool reception in Wisconsin, Ohio, Iowa, Florida and other Republican-dominated state legislatures.

Discretionary “executive earmarks,” such as the TIGER grants, will most likely be severely cut back if not entirely eliminated. They have not been popular with Republican lawmakers.

Chairman Mica’s resolve to make passage of a multi-year authorization a top priority increases the likelihood that a transportation bill will be brought to the House floor and approved during the first session of the 112th Congress. The Senate is likely go along.

While the next authorization will almost surely be more modest in size and less “transformational” than many in the transportation community would like to see, it will at least restore the federal surface transportation program to a stable and predictable multi-year footing.

WASHINGTON—State departments of transportation, which have long relied on gasoline and diesel fuel taxes to fund highways and transit programs, are asking Congress to replace the decades old pennies-per-gallon tax with a flat percentage tax, reports Dow Jones newswire.

The change is expected to increase dollars flowing into the Highway Trust Fund by almost $44 billion over six years, and debate could begin during a lame-duck congressional session following the November elections, said Dow-Jones.

Rather than tax gasoline at 18.4 cents per gallon, and diesel fuel at 24.4 cents per gallon, the new tax would be 8.4 percent on the price of each gallon of gasoline and 10.6 percent on the price of each gallon of diesel fuel, reported Dow-Jones.

Dow-Jones points out that raising the cents-per-gallon tax on motor fuels is not politically popular, but that the percentage tax would automatically increase federal revenue as the pump price of motor fuels increases – and insulate lawmakers from having to vote to raise motor fuels taxes in the future.

Republicans oppose the idea, however, according to Dow-Jones, which quotes Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), the senior Republican on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, as calling the proposed percentage tax a “non-starter.”