Obama has proposed spending $40 billion on “urgent upgrades” to the nation’s infrastructure, saying that “crumbling” roads, bridges, airports and rail lines are hindering U.S. economic growth. A study by the Reason Foundation reveals that U.S. roads and bridges have improved significantly over a 20-year period.
“The overall condition of the state-controlled road system is getting better and you can actually make the case that it has never been in better shape. The key going forward is to target spending where it will do the most good.” The Reason Foundation study measured the condition of U.S. roads and bridges from 1989 to 2008, based on seven criteria; highway fatalities; miles of urban interstate highways in poor condition; miles of rural interstates in poor condition; congestion on urban interstates; deficient bridges; rural primary roads in poor condition; and the number of rural primary roads flagged as too narrow.
Here’s what the researchers found: Eleven states made progress in all seven categories, and 37 states improved in at least five of the seven. Only one state, California, showed improvement in less than three areas, making progress in just two. The U.S. fatality rate lessened from 2.16 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles in 1989 to 1.25 fatalities in 2008, a decrease of about 42 percent. The fatality rate improved in all 50 states over that 20-year period. The percentage of deficient bridges fell from 37.8 percent in 1989 to 23.7 percent in 2008. The percentage of urban interstates in poor condition decreased from 6.6 percent to 5.4 percent. In Missouri, urban interstate mileage in poor condition plunged from 47 percent to just 1.3 percent over the period studied. The percentage of rural interstates in poor condition was reduced by two-thirds, from 6.6 percent 1989 to 1.93 percent in 2008. 29 states showed reduced urban congestion between 1989 and 2008, and six states reported improvements of greater than 20 percent. The nation also saw improvements in the condition of rural primary roads and in the number of primary roads considered too narrow.
Sources—newsmax, david hartgen