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Manhattan Institute

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Beyond Repair: America’s Infrastructure Crisis Is Local

issue brief

Beyond Repair: America’s Infrastructure Crisis Is Local

October 22, 2015
Urban PolicyTax & BudgetInfrastructure & Transportation
Public SectorReinventing Government

Abstract

America’s infrastructure discussions are dominated by debates about federal funding. But large portions of U.S. roads and streets are under the jurisdiction of local governments.

Key Findings

  • Because locally owned roads are mostly ineligible for federal funding, any increased federal funding of highways would have only a limited effect on the condition of local streets.
  • Unlike federal and state governments—which draw heavily on dedicated road-user fees, such as gas taxes—local governments’ reliance on general funding for street- and bridge-maintenance has left many localities, urban and rural, struggling to address repair backlogs.
  • Regardless of the policy chosen, state and local, not federal, action will ultimately be required to significantly improve the condition of America’s local roads and streets.

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