The nations roads and bridges are in serious trouble, and drivers are facing the consequences. As USA Today reports, a lack of money to repair roads and bridges may soon cause “seemingly endless traffic backups.” Unfortunately, when roads and bridges are not properly maintained, auto accidents result.
Collisions caused by defective roads can give rise to injury claims. These types of cases are complicated because victims who wish to pursue legal action may need to deal with laws granting limited government immunity. An experienced Boston car accident lawyer should be consulted for help after a collision that occurs due to problems with roadways.
Transportation Funding in Serious Trouble
In the United States, 45 percent of public roads and 39 percent of bridges are built and maintained by local counties. The federal government owns three percent of all of the roads in the United States. However, the federal government provides money to the states to implement improvements and updates and to maintain infrastructure so roads remain safe and functional.
The problem is, the Highway Trust Fund is going to be broke very soon and Congress cannot agree on funding for a transportation bill.
The Highway Trust Fund is funded primarily by the federal gas tax and provides federal matching funds to state and local governments. However, Congress has not raised the gas tax since 1993 even as Americans have started to drive less often and to drive more fuel efficient cars. The revenues are down on the gas tax at the same time as the buying power of money is being eroded by inflation.
The Moving Head for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) provided $105 billion in federal transportation funding to try to make the necessary money available for road upkeep and maintenance. However, MAP-21 funding will expire on October 1 unless Congress reauthorizes it.
There is disagreement on whether the federal government should reauthorize this much spending as well as disputes on how to pay for it. House Republican leaders proposed ending first-class and bulk-mail delivery on Saturday to provide some savings for the MAP-21 bill, while other proposals involve raising the gas tax, implementing a tax on the number of miles driven, or adding tolls to interstates.
The defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in June, however, may have made it more difficult for Republicans to compromise to get a bill passed.
The uncertainty over whether MAP-21 will be funded and over where money is coming from for transportation projects is making it difficult for states and counties to plan projects to fix roads. A spokesperson from the National Association of Counties (NACo) said: “These projects take years and sometimes decades to build. If you don’t know what your funding is going to be over a four-to-six year window, it’s very difficult to make investment decisions.”
The consequences of this are very real to drivers who could be put at risk if necessary projects don’t get completed to ensure roads are safe and functional.
Contact Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 888-367-2900.
More Blog Entries:
Window Tinting, Accident Risks, and Massachusetts Law, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, January 2, 2014