As the federal government struggles to figure out how to fund the nation's infrastructure, states are increasingly taking matters into their own hands. One group in Iowa is pushing state legislators to act.
The Iowa Good Roads Association, which includes interests from agriculture, trucking, banking, and construction, has been running billboard ads informing the motoring public that the time is now to "FundOurRoads.com."
According to the Federal Highway Administration, Iowa ranks 38th nationally in overall road conditions and one in five of the state's bridges are structurally deficient. The average age of the state's deficient bridges is 69 years.
National research organization TRIP says more than 40% of Iowa's roads need repair. Poor road conditions are a factor in one-third of Iowa traffic fatalities.
"It is past time that the Iowa legislature act to address the state's critical economic and community infrastructure needs. Iowa's roads and bridges transport goods throughout the nation and are vital to the state's economy," said David Scott, executive director of Iowa Good Roads Association.
"There has been no increase in the gas tax, truly a user fee, for 25 years. Twenty percent of fuel purchases in Iowa are from out-of-state vehicles. It is by far the fairest, most practical method to fund infrastructure investment."
The billboard ads dramatically draw attention to the alarming statistics regards Iowa road and bridge conditions, with messages such as:
- 1 in 5 bridges in Iowa is structurally deficient
- 47 states have safer bridges than Iowa
- 40% of Iowa roads need repair
In addition to funding, Iowa Good Roads is calling on the department of transportation to study the capability of state road funds to meet road system needs every two years instead of every five.
"Highway construction and maintenance projects require several years of commitment," Scott said. "State and local governments need to know for planning purposes now that revenues will be there in the future. Solid planning can provide stability for road funding, economic development, and public safety."
Groups Advocate More Highway Funding for Repairs, Not New Roads