Jun 12th, 2008
In the first two weeks of June, the US House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held special hearings to examine the needs of the country’s surface transportations system. The committee’s investigations will be used to inform the new federal highway funding law due to be drafted in 2009.
“Many of the nation’s surface transportation facilities are being stretched to the limit of their design life and beyond,” said committee chair James L. Oberstar, D-MN. “In addition to their age, many segments of the roadway network handle much greater volume of traffic than originally projected, including a 52.4% increase in freight ton-miles by truck between 1990 and 2005.”
In order to respond to the threat that aging infrastructure poses to the system, the US Congress is considering several bills designed to raise billions for highway maintenance and expansion. A January report by the federal National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission announced that $225 per year in funding is needed for maintenance and expansion of transportation infrastructure over the next 50 years. Current yearly federal spending is closer to $85 billion per year.