Jeff Johnson is president of the Washington State Labor Council. Rob Johnson is executive director of Transportation Choices Coalition. Steve Mullin is president of the Washington Roundtable.Who argue;
Today, valuable public assets — roads, bridges, ferries and buses — are deteriorating due to insufficient investment in their maintenance, operations and preservation. Our transportation system is like our homes. Ongoing upkeep and upgrades are needed if it’s to continue meeting our needs.
But at current preservation and maintenance funding levels we’ll be going in the opposite direction. Estimates are that if we don’t increase our maintenance and preservation investments, more than half of the surfaces on state roads will be in poor to very poor condition by 2023.
....current funding is not enough to do the job. Current revenues cannot cover the cost of preserving, maintaining and operating our existing transportation system....The reason for this crisis is exactly the opposite of what these three claim; it is because public assets are NOT like our homes. Our homes are PRIVATELY owned and the costs of maintenance and upgrades fall on, and the benefits accrue to private actors; homeowners.
Roads and bridges owned by no one will always be neglected because of the political dynamic (ferries and buses are another matter entirely, they could easily be privately--and once were--owned and maintained, at a profit).
Maybe that explains why the state of Indiana leased out their interstate highway (I-80) years ago to a profit seeking firm, and don't have the problem of current funding not being enough to do the job.
The state of Washington could do the same with many of its public infrastructure assets. That's an actual solution to this problem.
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