Transportation impacts of energy boom not limited to road maintenance

The booming oil and natural gas industry is bringing jobs and economic development to states across the U.S. But along with the money and jobs come lots and lots of trucks. Many millions of additional dollars in road funding are often required to keep roads near oil and gas fields in good condition. However, road maintenance isn’t the only factor related to the energy boom that is increasing the cost of road infrastructure. High housing costs near booming oil and gas fields drive up costs for roadwork in those areas, while less competition between highway contractors in neighboring states is increasing costs there.

PennDOT begins posting bridge weight limits in light of failure of transportation funding

In late June, as the Pennsylvania legislature debated whether or not to raise the wholesale gas tax, PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch warned that he would likely have to place weight restrictions on bridges across the state in order to extend their useful life if additional funding was not allocated. Some may have thought this was just a bargaining point, but now 1,000 bridges across the state have been posted with reduced weight limits.

Legislative inaction prompts possible bridge weight limits, cancels signature megaproject

While several states successfully passed transportation revenue packages this year, in Pennsylvania and Washington the failure of such bills will have immediate effects on infrastructure. PennDOT is considering weight limits for bridges across the state, and the $3 billion-plus Columbia River Crossing project, that would have replaced the existing I-5 bridge, shut down.

Public supports system preservation, why not politicians?

More evidence that the public strongly supports system preservation comes from a survey performed for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. When asked to rank the importance of a variety of potential priorities for WisDOT, preservation came out on top by a wide margin with 47.3 percent of respondents citing it as “extremely important.” A year earlier, a survey for Washington DOT found a similar result in that state.

Washington business community ups support for operations, preservation

The Washington Roundtable, a group comprising many of the state’s largest businesses, is urging passage of a nine-cent increase in the fuel tax. What’s most interesting about the proposal, however, is not the revenue ask, but where the group wants the money to go: for major increases in operations and in system preservation.

Interactive map shows the cost of river lock failures

A new interactive map shows the importance of key locks on the Ohio, Mississippi, and Illinois Rivers and outlines possible economic shocks all across the country should one or more of them fail. Failures in this system affect not just the states that border these rivers, but many areas that receive goods – in particular corn, soybeans, coal, and petroleum products – from those states