In tuesdays State of the Union address President Obama talked about the need to fix thousands of roads and bridges in the United States. Our infrastructure is crumbling and here in New Hampshire we know all too well how bad the infrastructure is. It was a little over a year ago when the Memorial Bridge literally fell down.
Even after that Granite Staters did not see an increase in spending for repairs. Now a new report comes out showing just how bad New Hampshire is when it comes to investing in infrastructure and it is costing you money.
“A new national report found that every year the state is falling $74 million behind keeping up with its aging road and bridge infrastructure, costing the average motorist $323 in motor vehicle repairs.” (Telegrapgh)
Transportation is fundamental to our states economy. People need good roads and bridges to get to work and to move the products they make at work. For thousands of people keeping up the roads is their work.
These building and construction trades have been hit hardest since the recession. Add to the continual slow down of large scale construction projects, the state has tightened the budget so much that many of the usual road and bridge repairs are just not getting done, leaving these workers out of a job.
Other findings from the report are:
Poor Condition Roads: Currently, 37 percent of state-maintained roads are classified this way and without further investment that number will raise to 43 percent by 2016, the report said.
Rough Road Cost: Higher operating costs total $323 million to drive on N.H. roads with the highest repair bills facing ($503) facing those in southern New Hampshire, according to the report.
Deteriorating Bridges: The report found almost a third of state bridges, 31 percent, show some wear or don’t meet current design standards. Without further funding, that number will rise 16 percent by 2016.
Rural Fatalities: State highway crashes ending in death here are below the national average but the fatality rate on rural, non-Interstate roads is 3.5 times greater than the rest of the state.
I know that we cannot fix all of these problems at once but we need to start getting ahead of the problem. We need to start investing in our infrastructure to build a better state. By investing you are helping to create new jobs. This in turn helps the state economy. When workers have jobs they are not collecting from the government and in turn are paying taxes to the government. It is a complete role reversal.
Not one legislator in Concord or Washington can say they did not campaign on creating new jobs. Why have we not started yet? We already have the list of roads and bridges that need to be repaired. Put people back to work, and build a better state at the same time.