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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Road maintenance issues plague the region

Over the past several years a number of cities, highway districts, and the state for that matter, have focused their resources and energy on building and expanding new roads to accommodate record-setting growth.

But now that we have all this new infrastructure, the cost of maintaining it is getting away from us. This Cd'A Press editorial taps into the frustration that is mounting over this issue.

Talk to any agency that deals with roads in North Idaho or eastern Washington and the story is pretty much the same: maintenance and preservation budgets for roads are simply tapped out, and there is no new revenue to address the issue. In many cases, these agencies are millions of dollars short of what they need to adequately maintain the public's infrastructure investment.

Some rural counties in Washington state have even considered going back to gravel roads in some areas because they are cheaper to maintain. I'm not kidding here, they are seriously contemplating tearing up the asphalt from paved roads to reduce the cost of maintenance.

As the Cd'a Press stated in its editorial, at some point "the public" will need to invest more in the preservation and maintenance of the infrastructure they have already spent millions to build.

Compound that with a need for even more expansion, and the problem gets exponentially worse. As you probably already know, the governors of Idaho and Washington have vowed to propose new revenue options in the next legislative sessions, but those state-level solutions rarely address the local needs.

That is the main reason the local highway districts are proposing a modest $24 increase in vehicle registration fees. While that won't raise enough money to address the entire need, it will go a long way toward protecting the investments we have already made.

OK, you are king for a day again: Where do you find the money to adequately fund the preservation and maintenance of our transportation infrastructure? Also, do you support or oppose the car tab proposal?

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