Almost three-quarters of the roads in Connecticut and Illinois are in poor or mediocre condition, and two-thirds or more are in the same state of disrepair in California, Colorado, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Washington and Wisconsin, according to a briefing from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The agency called on Congress to pass a long-term transportation bill, noting that 33 short-term funding measures over six years have not created a permanent solution to what the briefing note called “a dire state of disrepair..." It added, "The only way to prepare our transportation system for the next generation is to stop this cycle of short-term measures and pass a long-term transportation bill."
On average, more than one-quarter of bridges per state are considered either deficient or obsolete, the DOT said. In Rhode Island, 56.5% of bridges fall into those categories.
As cars become more fuel-efficient, drivers are buying less gas, so revenue from the 18.4 cents-per-gallon gasoline tax is no longer sufficient to sustain the federal Highway Trust Fund, which relies on that revenue for replenishment. As a result, the fund routinely dries up, and Congress continues to rescue it with temporary funds.
State governments and construction and labor groups have long urged Congress to find an alternative, permanent source of transportation funding.