It has been well documented now both by truck drivers and numerous experts that our infrastructure in the U.S. is not in good shape. Recently, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the nation’s infrastructure a “D+” rating which is beyond “poor needs improvement”. Indeed, it has been noted by several experts on all sides, especially at Federal and State Government levels, that they are very aware of our crumbling roads, bridges, tunnels and other projects but they lack the funding to pay for them. This is a hole that continues to get worse making it more expensive to pay for.
So what are the options to pay for this great need? Several states have considered or implemented fuel taxes, but the Federal Government hasn’t raised the gas tax since the early 1990’s. Paul Trombino, the Nominee for Federal Highway Administration Chief and former Iowa Transportation Secretary, recently brought several options to the table with caveats as he testified before the Senate Envirnment and Public Works Committee. He told the Committee that tolls, public-private partnerships (P3’s), and other tools work in some states but not in others. He did indicate that all three of these solutions re useful on a state-by-state basis but stopped short of a blanket national solution such as raising the fuel tax nationwide.
Clearly this is a complex problem or it might have been solved by now. Yet, the initiatives for the Interstate System and other projects took flight in teh 1950’s and 1960’s so a national initiative is needed to get everyone on the same page. What that looks like remains to be seen, but at least the conversation has a real voice and real interest. What that solution looks like, in all of its facets, is up the Senate adn those who elected them.