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.
- 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.