As Congress debates mechanisms to fully fund the Highway Trust Fund, rural concerns are often absent from the conversation. The trust fund is used to make repairs to our roads, bridges, and mass transit infrastruture and is funded by the 18 cents per gallon federal gas tax. The tax hasn’t been raised in since 1993, and is not bringing in enough money to pay for needed improvements across the country.
The Road Information Program (TRIP), a nonpartisan, non-profit transportation research organization recently released a new study on the state of rural roads and bridges. The study suggests that rural roads are being used more frequently than ever and many are in poor shape. In eight states, more than one-quarter of the paved roads are rated as being in "poor condition." Five states had 20% or more of their rural bridges identified as "structurally deficient."