Two-thirds of all states have stepped up highway funding over the past five years.Am I piling on to highlight that "backlogs deepened by the last recession?" Surely that 2009 stimulus created or saved some million jobs on shovel ready projects. Oh, wait ...
It's happening in both Democratic- and Republican-led states as their transportation departments strain to overcome backlogs deepened by the last recession. And lawmakers are acting regardless of promises from President Donald Trump for a $1 trillion national infrastructure program that his administration has yet to detail.
Some state officials doubt that Trump's plan will make much of a difference when it comes to repairing and replacing thousands of old bridges or repaving and widening countless miles of congested roads.
But the states are contemplating increases in motor fuel taxes, and other user fees, and contemplating making do without the Highway Trust Fund, which is itself ... in a shape comparable to the "Social" "Security" Trust Fund and the Medicare Trust Fund.
South Carolina House Majority Leader Gary Simrill said the federal money would be welcome but doesn't provide a long-term solution. The state's Department of Transportation wants an additional $1.1 billion annually over the next 25 years to improve roads.I'll save for another day the possibility that the federal government contributed to the problem, by giving state road commissioners all sorts of incentives to go ahead with projects that were eligible for federal matching funds. Now the Interstate Highways (well, apart from the pork-barrel ones to nowhere, where the matching funds haven't depreciated yet) are also old and tired.
"People who are waiting on the federal government usually just get old and tired," said Simrill, a Republican who has led the House's road-funding efforts for several years. "South Carolina cannot wait on the federal government to take care of our problem."
Perhaps it is time to let some of the roads crumble as no longer offering sufficient public utility.