Are Americans “not willing to pay” for longer-lasting roads?

Updated May 15, 2013

roadworksignOver at our sister site Better Roads, columnist Kirk Landers has put together a pretty interesting, and brutally honest, estimation of the glaring discrepancy between Americans’ calls for quality, longer-lasting roads and their willingness to pay for them.

You see, it’s pothole season, the time of year when road crews all over the nation get to work mending the damage of winter. Traffic delays, and thus driver outrage, are widespread and the result, as Landers puts it, is a whole lot of people wondering aloud “Why are our roads so crappy?”

Landers outlines some of the general theories held by Americans. Some reduce it to a debate over the merits of asphalt vs. concrete. Others are convinced government corruption, lazy employees or cheap materials are at fault.

But Landers shrugs those theories aside and gets to the heart of the matter: “We would like to have roads that last 50 to 100 years, and they can be built out of concrete or asphalt or both. But those roads cost money, a lot more money than we the people and our chosen representatives have ever been willing to pay for roads.”

He makes a very good point. Take a look at the majority of the news articles over at Better Roads and you’ll quickly see that funding and fears over a lack of it have become the road-building and transportation industry’s hottest topic. There’s a reason President Obama’s budget specifically made $50 billion worth of room for transportation and infrastructure funding alone. American infrastructure is in disrepair and it costs more money to fix than most people are aware of.

Meanwhile, lawmakers are trying to find the most taxpayer-friendly way to fund transportation and infrastructure work. As of right now, it looks like tolls are more popular among the American people than gas taxes.

But what do you think? Are American taxpayers unwilling to pay for the roads they so greatly desire? Or should the burden be shifted to lawmakers to come up with better ideas for funding? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to read Kirk Landers’ full piece over at Better Roads by clicking here.