Report Highlights Transportation Infrastructure Deficit

USDOT notes investment gains and work to be done

March 3, 2014 - The USDOT Fast Lane Blog looks over the recent FHWA Report to Congress on the conditions and performance of the nation's highways, bridges, and transit system; and notes the improvements from investments as well as the work still to be done.

The report showed improvement on American roads, with those in good condition rising from 46.4 percent in 2008 to 50.6 percent in 2010. This is the highest two-year jump since the FHWA started using this metric.

Infrastructure investments of 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are credited with improving the quality of bridges, highways, and transit. Continuing investment through the Transportation Infrastructure Investements grant program known as TIGER aid in the improvement of the nation's infrastructure as well.

The same report that showed the increase in good condition roads, "2013 Status of the Nation's Highways, Bridges, and Transit: Conditions and Performance," confirms that this nation needs greater investment to maintain and improve our highway and transit systems.

The report estimates that all levels of government--federal, state, and local--would need to spend between $123.7 billion and $145.9 billion per year to improve the condition of roads and bridges. In 2010, all levels spent a combined $100.2 billion on this infrastructure, and that includes the $11.9 billion boost from the Recovery Act.

The report also indicates that as much as $24.5 billion is needed per year to maintain and improve the condition of transit rail and bus systems. In 2010, total spending to maintain and expand transit systems was $16.5 billion –again boosted temporarily by the Recovery Act. That's another considerable gap.

In fact, the report finds that the state of good repair and preventive maintenance backlog for transit is at an all-time high of $86 billion--and it's growing by an estimated $2.5 billion annually. To catch up on that backlog over the next two decades, the nation will need an additional $8.2 billion over current spending from all levels of government every year.