WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, today has introduced legislation to ensure that our nation’s highways and bridges receive the appropriate maintenance and repair to ensure safety and meet America’s transportation needs.
“Investing in our nation’s highways and infrastructure has been one the best federal investments we have ever made,” said Senator Cardin, a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee. “Our nation’s highways are critical to growing our economy, and repairing and maintaining their quality is required to ensure the lasting efficiency and safety of our nation’s highways and bridges.”
In 2009, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave our nation’s highways and bridges a grade of “D-” in its Report Card for America’s Infrastructure. A 2011 transportation infrastructure study by TRIP, a non-partisan, non-profit transportation research organization, found that: 32 percent of America’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition; poor road conditions are a “significant factor” in approximately one-third of fatal traffic accidents; poor roads take a major toll on the repair and operating costs of vehicles to the tune of $67 billion a year, or approximately $333 per driver; and poor road conditions contribute to 42 percent of America’s urban highway congestion.
The Preservation and Renewal of Federal-Aid Highways Act would:
- Require the Secretary of Transportation to establish “state of good repair standards” for the various classes of federal-aid highways to serve as benchmarks of achievement for states to reach.
- Require states to use an “Asset Management Process” to develop “State System Preservation and Renewal Plans” and “State System Preservation and Renewal Performance Targets” to ensure that their federal-aid roads achieve a state of good repair.
- Consolidate the Interstate Maintenance program, Highway Bridge program and half of the National Highway System federal-aid highway programs funds together to create a flexible System Preservation and Renewal Program Fund for the states to use as they see fit to meet the goals of their System Preservation and Renewal Plans and Performance Targets.
“These are difficult economic times and repairing and maintaining our existing highways and bridges is a wise investment of federal highway taxpayer dollars. Neglecting or ignoring needed repairs only exacerbates the decline of our roadways, adding to unsafe road conditions and increased congestion that can adversely affect motorists.”