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Frank Bernheisel: The View From Here
Frank Bernheisel
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Frank Bernheisel
Posted 03.14.12
Just Outside Washington

FRANK BERNHEISEL

Current US transportation bill a waste

Dear US Senator Warner (DVA),

I think that funding the US transportation bill for only two years is a gigantic waste of time, effort, and money. Also, the amount of money being discussed in inadequate.

A two-year funding will not allow for the planning, engineering, and construction needed for the type of projects necessary to bring the country's transportation infrastructure up to what is needed.

The American Society of Civil Engineers indicates that $186 billion per year is needed just for roads. They also estimate that the average driver spends $1000 per year due to poor road conditions, which include the extra cost of repairs to their cars and the cost of the delays.

It seems to me that Virginia DOT has been working on the I-495 Beltway forever. The latest expansion, the Express Lanes and the 14-mile rebuild started construction in July 2008 and is due to be complete by the end of 2012.

However, that is only less than of the story; VDOT and FHWA started the planning for the project in 1998, so the entire project will have taken fourteen years.

It is almost impossible to do large scale, long length projects in two-year increments.

I suggest that the US Congress reestablish the five-year transportation bills and work out a way to pay for the transportation infrastructure that the country needs to keep bridges from falling down. There are only so many ways to get the money: gas tax, sales tax on vehicles, tolls and, road-use fees.

Congress needs to fix the transportation bill so that the roads can be fixed. And by the way, doing it will create a lot of American jobs.

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