Financial District: Fix it first
Ribbon-cutting congressman and special interests linked to collapsing transportation infrastructure in new report.
By John Latta
Instead of “build baby build”, a public interest group argues that America needs a “fix baby fix” attitude towards our transportation infrastructure. Maintenance and repair of existing roads must be given priority over building new roads says the group in a new report.
The report, Road Work Ahead, is from the Education Fund of U.S. PIRG* and actually calls for a “fix it first” policy to be the dominant guiding philosophy in Washington and every state capital.
“Across the nation, drivers face more than 90,000 miles of crumbling highways and more than 70,000 structurally deficient bridges,” says the report. “Neglected maintenance of roads and bridges acts as a constant drain on our economy and a scourge on the quality of life.”
The report asks “Why are America’s roads and bridges in such terrible shape, and who or what is to blame?”
Members of congress who love nothing more than ribbon cutting and special interest groups absorb most of the blame for policies that prefer building new roads over maintaining existing ones in the report.
“One thing is for sure, the deterioration of our roads and bridges is not an accident. Rather it is the direct result of countless policy decisions that put other consideration ahead of the pressing need to preserve our investment in the highway system. Political forces often undermine a strong commitment to maintenance.
“Members of Congress, state legislators and local politicians thrive on ribbon cuttings. Powerful special interests push for new and bigger highways. Meanwhile, federal and state policies – which should provide strong guidance in the wise use of taxpayer dollars – often fail to achieve the proper balance between building new infrastructure and taking care of what we have already built.
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