infrastructure

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

A dozen states are considering something that was rarely discussed a few years ago: raising gas taxes. Low prices at the pump have emboldened state officials to think about raising new revenue to repair crumbling roads and bridges.

It's a scene that's all too familiar in much of the country — construction workers performing emergency repairs on a bridge. In Franklin Township, N.J., one bridge closed abruptly last month when it was deemed unsafe.

Moving from crisis to crisis — for too long that's been America's strategy for dealing with the challenges of an aging transit infrastructure, from roads to bridges to ports. The result is a system that's crumbling and in desperate need of attention, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The massive study both looks at the current state of the country's transportation systems and forecasts the challenges that lie ahead.

Gasoline prices are at their lowest level in four years. The price at the pump in many states is almost a full dollar cheaper than it was last spring.

So some politicians think this is a good time to raise gasoline taxes. Several states are tired of waiting for Congress to fix the federal highway trust fund, so they're considering raising gas taxes themselves to address their crumbling roads.

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