Highways to Hell: As funds dry up, WY is first state to end road expansion
It’s official. Wyoming’s Department of Transportation says it is no longer in the business of expanding the state’s highway system.
The money just isn’t there. They’re going to put what resources they have into attempting to keep the existing roads repaired.
As the DC Streets blog reports:
“We’re beginning to look at our transportation system from a maintenance perspective rather than [as] a highway improvement program,” WYDOT Director John Cox told the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.
With these changes, Cox said the agency would enter “kind of a survival mode,” but he acknowledged it only “staves off the inevitable” — the continued deterioration of the road system, unless additional funds can be found.
- Congress is two years late in passing a transportation reauthorization
- The recession has crippled state budgets
- The Highway Trust Fund is nearly broke
- The Missouri Department of Transportation laying off 1,200 workers
- Ohio DOT Director Jerry Wray has been pleading for more federal matching funds
- Wisconsin and Texas have continued programs – but neither one has the money to do it, and they’re cutting schools to the bone instead.
- Some states, Connecticut, Maryland and potentially Michigan, are averting disaster with gas taxes.
- But no national politician appears to be willing to raise the gas tax.
- Meanwhile, at the federal level, funding has been eliminated for the Sustainable Communities Program, which aimed to reduce the need for expensive highway projects by supporting well-connected communities
- And of course, readers of RGB are well aware that the GOP has been at war against high-speed rail for the past two years, slashing spending and rejecting federal funds when they are available.