Letter to the Editor

Highway funding creates new jobs

Saturday, March 22, 2008

To the editor:

With the Highway Trust Fund facing insolvency in 2009, and as the Missouri Department of Transportation begins repaying bonds soon thereafter, our state and nation face serious issues with our aging roads and bridges. The trust fund relies on fuel taxes to maintain roads and bridges. By 2009, revenue generated by the fund will not meet expected maintenance costs.

Amendment 3, approved by voters to provide more funding for roads and bridges here in Missouri, included a bonding feature that allowed necessary repairs to be done quickly. However, as MoDOT enters the repayment period for those bonds, funding for maintenance will be dramatically decreased. The original interstate highway system has aged beyond its design life, and nearly a third of our nation's roads and bridges are in poor or mediocre condition. The longer we wait to address this issue, the more expensive the solution will become.

A viable transportation system is critical to our economy as it allows small businesses, manufacturers and farmers to efficiently deliver products to market. By making a significant investment in transportation infrastructure, we not only reduce costs for the goods and products we consume, but we also create jobs. It has been estimated that a $1 billion investment in transportation infrastructure creates nearly 50,000 jobs. With such an investment, we can create sustained economic development.

As Congress takes up the next highway bill, it is important for us to consider the long term benefits of investing in our transportation system.

RIC NEUBERT, President. Delta Companies, Cape Girardeau