A fix in the works?

By |  February 27, 2014

An article this week from NBC News cites the highway-funding drought, and the daily reminders of it – potholes. “Every spring thaw brings potholes,” notes the story. “This year, one of the harshest winters in memory is turning America’s highways into a historic pothole-palooza.”

Here in Northeastern Ohio, we’re experiencing a ridiculously cold winter, and the few warm days mixed in have made for the kind of freeze-thaw cycles that create monster potholes. Already, crews have been out filling them, but we’re still dodging axle-breaking craters every day.

Now comes good news in the form of a proposal by the president of a four-year, $302 billion transportation reauthorization. The White House says, “The president will continue to act when he can to promote job growth in the transportation sector and put more Americans back to work repairing and modernizing our roads, bridges, railways, and transit systems, and will also work with Congress to act to ensure critical transportation programs continue to be funded and do not expire later this year.”

The new bill would replace MAP-21, which expires in September, and according to the White House would increase the amount of highway funds by 22 percent annually, for a total of about $199 billion over the four years.

I have yet to read the details, but the proposal is welcome news. While lobbying efforts by industry organizations don’t hurt, they haven’t helped secure a multi-year bill with increased funding for years now. It’s obvious that America’s aging infrastructure needs a makeover, and it’s good to see the White House is stepping up to the plate with this proposal.

Hopefully, Congress can set aside its differences and get something accomplished, despite this being an election year. In the meantime, we’ll continue traveling the broken roads and dodging the craters.

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