Funding Highways and Bridges

Despite the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, many states are falling short in providing needed investment in the nation's highways and bridges. But some states in 2009 had success in finding revenue sources to fund them.

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Many states are falling short in providing needed investment in the nation’s highways and bridges.

  • California spends $2 billion less each year on highway maintenance and rehabilitation than what it needs to spend.1
  • Iowa faces a $27.7 billion transportation funding shortage over the next two decades.1
  • Massachusetts needs to come up with an additional $15 billion to $19 billion over the next two decades for maintenance on existing transportation assets.1
  • Ten mega projects in Nevada costing an estimated $4.8 billion need to be completed by 2015 to avoid gridlock in the state’s urban areas.1
  • Kansas needs to raise $18 billion over 10 years to maintain its transportation system.1
  • These states report deferred or backlogged transportation maintenance needs: Alabama ($3 billion), Arkansas ($160 million), Hawaii ($187 million), New Jersey ($13 billion), Oklahoma ($230 million), Pennsylvania ($3 billion) and South Dakota ($756 million).1

However, some states are having success in finding revenue sources to fund highways and bridges.

  • Idaho’s legislature recently approved a $57 million-a-year package of fee and revenue increases, which was far short of the $175 million sought by the governor to tackle a backlog of transportation needs. An audit indicated $295 million is needed annually to preserve existing highway and bridge infrastructure by 2013.2
  • The legislatures in North Dakota and Oklahoma increased transportation spending in 2009 without raising taxes.2 North Dakota shifted excise taxes on motor vehicle sales that normally go to human services and education to road spending.3 Oklahoma tapped the State Transportation Fund, bond proceeds and cuts to other state programs.4
  • Colorado recently hiked vehicle registration fees to raise about $250 million a year for transportation.2
  • Vermont lawmakers approved a 2 percent increase in the wholesale price of gasoline to raise money for transportation projects.2
  • Oregon’s House of Representatives approved a 6 cent per gallon increase and higher vehicle fees that would bring in an estimated $300 million a year.2
  • North Carolina lawmakers plugged a gap in the state transportation budget by canceling a planned 2 cent decrease in the state’s gas tax.2
  • Iowa plans to sell bonds to pay for grants to upgrade the state’s infrastructure to the tune of $830 million. The state will pay off the bonds using profits from casino gambling.2

Download the Excel Version of the Table: "Funding Highways and Bridges"

Resources:

1 American Society of Civil Engineers. “Report Card for American Infrastructure 2008.”
2 Stephen C. Fehr. “States divided on raising road taxes.” Stateline.org. May 29, 2009.
3 Dale Wetzel. “Legislature Approves $1.35B Road Spending Bill.” Associated Press. April 30, 2009.
4 Tim Talley. “Commission Approves $1.7 Billion Budget.” Associated Press (May 19, 2009).
5 Federal Highway Administration. “Highway Statistics 2007—State Disbursements for Highways.”
6 Federal Highway Administration. “Apportionment of Funds for Highway Infrastructure Investment Pursuant to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.”