Monday, October 7, 2013

Rough roads ahead in Colorado Springs

Posted By on Mon, Oct 7, 2013 at 2:01 PM

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Think the road conditions around town are subpar? Well, things may be getting even hairier within the next year as pavement conditions in Colorado Springs are expected to spiral downward. By October 2014, the state of Colorado will lose $605 million, due to cash shortages in the Highway Trust Fund

According to Bud Wright, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO):

"States depend on investment from the Highway Trust Fund to help preserve and maintain the roads and bridges that carry our families and our economy," he says in a press release. "We cannot continue to ignore the very real crisis facing our national transportation system without a long-term, sustainable funding source for the Highway Trust Fund."


Ranked 20th highest in vehicle operating costs, Colorado Springs drivers lose $589 each year according to TRIP, a national transportation research group. Weaving around — and hopefully not through — the handful of pot holes not only puts drivers at risk but results in vehicle deterioration, an increased need for maintenance, added fuel cost and tire wear. 

Even maintaining current conditions will require an increase in money. According to a 2010 U.S. Department of Transportation report, annual funding for road and highway improvements would need to increase by at least 21 percent to keep pace. For significant, much-needed improvements, a 91 percent increase would be required.

This counterintuitive choice to slash funding as present conditions continue to jeopardize road safety and drivers' peace of mind is bolstered by the fact that these essential improvements would hugely impact the economy. Investing $1 billion in highway construction would subsidize thousands of jobs, according to a 2007 analysis conducted by the Federal Highway Administration. 

According to Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director:

With state and local governments struggling to fund needed road repairs and with federal surface transportation funding set to be slashed next year, road conditions are projected to get even worse. Congress could reduce the extra costs borne by motorists driving on rough roads by approving funding that will support a federal transportation program that improves road conditions on the nation’s major roads and highways.

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