American families heading out for their summer vacation are in for a rude awakening. There is a good chance they are going to lose the family minivan in a pot hole the size of a meteor crater.
Not that Congress cares. As we careen blindly toward Highway Trust Fund insolvency, both sides of the aisle continue to talk and blather, propose and oppose, but no one wants to take any action.
What’s at stake? More than 700,000 highway construction-related jobs could be lost or jeopardized if the trust fund goes belly-up next month, according to the Transportation Department.
It’s not like those families heading out on vacation – or the trucking industry – haven’t had their say. A new survey from the Asphalt Pavement Alliance finds drivers are increasingly frustrated with the state of U.S. roads.
- Eighty-four percent of drivers and 73 percent of commercial truckers want well-maintained roads without the inconvenience of roadway shutdowns by having maintenance performed during off-peak hours and the road open for rush hour.
- When presented with 14 factors for officials to consider when building a road, 56 percent of drivers selected safety as one of their top priorities.
- Most drivers, 69 percent, said they are willing to accept periodic maintenance delays if it means they get to enjoy a smooth driving experience. Smooth, well-maintained roads are more comfortable for drivers; they also cause less wear-and-tear on vehicles, reducing operating costs.
- Eighty-six percent of drivers and 78 percent of commercial truckers feel spending priorities should focus on the maintenance and repair of existing roads, rather than on building new roads.
- A majority of drivers support new or additional funding mechanisms to ensure adequate funding for roadway maintenance and construction.
So while Congress mulls over whether to raise gasoline user fees, initiate corporate tax reform or squeeze money out of the global oil companies, the prevailing opinion is the American people want this to get done. Congress needs to come to some conclusions fast.
Mark S. Kuhar, editor
Member: Construction Writers Association