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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

AASHTO/APTA report: U.S. needs $163 billion annually to fix aging transportation infrastructure


A report released by two national transportation associations yesterday estimated that $163 billion is needed each year over a six-year period to fix the nation's aging surface transportation system.

The "2015 Bottom Line Report" released by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) estimated that all levels of government would need to invest $120 billion in the nation's highway and bridge network and $43 billion in the public transportation infrastructure to meet current demand.

The investment needs, which the report derived from an economic analysis of demand trends and current network performance, illustrate that government investment in surface transportation infrastructure is far below what is needed to meet demand and allow for safe travel, the associations' leadership said in a press release.

The need to invest $163 billion each year is in contrast to the current investment level of $83 billion in roads and bridges, and $17.1 billion in public transit, they said. Aiming for a more robust investment level "could target the backlog of repair and rehabilitation projects across the country," said AASHTO Executive Director Bud Wright.

Demand for public transportation has increased, adding strain to the nation's public transportation systems, which are in dire need of investment, said APTA President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Melaniphy.

"After years of a lack of robust investment, the public transit infrastructure that our communities and businesses rely on to grow and prosper is crumbling," he said. "Investment in public transit is a key ingredient to driving growth in our communities, attracting development and causing increased property values along its corridors."

The report found about 64,000 structurally deficient bridges are in operation across the country. Meanwhile, the Federal Transit Administration's "State of Good Repair Assessment," which identifies the investments necessary to achieve a state of good repair for current public transit assets and then maintain them, estimates the value of the current state of good repair backlog at $87.7 billion.

"The business community, trade unions, commercial truck drivers and numerous associations including AASHTO and APTA support greater investment," said Wright. "The key is reaching consensus on Capitol Hill. We hope this report will help decision-makers better understand what's at stake in deciding on a long-term, sustainable stream of revenue to support transportation infrastructure."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/9/2014