The Least Greatest Generation (At Least When It Comes to Funding Roads)


I would also guess that due to greatly improved construction standards, highway safety standards, and plain old lust for gigantism, the cost of building a mile of road has gone up many times the rate of inflation. Go look at any new project and see the amount of concrete they poured, compared to the paltry efforts of fifty years ago. I think there's more concrete in the circular pedestrian overpass behind the stadiums at Edgar Martinez Way than there is in the entire viaduct.
Good point.
The viaduct could be exhibit A.

There are also far more roads, not just to handle the expansion in urban areas. There are now paved roads in rural areas that were gravel and dirt roads two and three generations ago.

Yet, we feel entitled to not paying for it.
Thanks for posting about this. It's a helluva study, so nothing will be done and we'll sit around wondering what happened and who to blame.

Your point is taken, but your comparative example is an unlucky choice. The work near the stadia happens to contain a lot of geofoam (basically styrofoam on 'roids), and not a lot of concrete. And yes, the geofoam is cheaper.
@3 for the Epic Funding Failure win!
Another weakness in our funding structure for roads is the feds will fund new roads but never maintenance. Every state in the union faces these challenges, partially because of that.
The graph looks even more depressing when you factor in the improved gas mileage of modern vehicles. Gas tax revenue per vehicle-mile-traveled has also gone down, compounding the problem.
Fnarf: and also the costs to mitigate for environmental damage. Something civil engineers in the sixties didn't have to pay for. An intersection can be signalized for a quarter million. The stormwater detention pond will cost a cool mil.
@5, I didn't know that, cool. Still a hideous pile of work, but interesting.

@9, good point.
and here's another (mostly) unknown fact on this issue: gas is exempt from WA state sales tax. most people think that the gas tax and road tax is on top of the sales tax already charged -- but its not.

and it should be.

ending this loophole would be a great place to start in all the wrangling to close the state budget gap.
The gas tax should be made a percentage, like the sales tax. Then it would automatically go up with inflation.