Any credible review of highway infrastructure needs will conclude that additional highway expansion, preservation and maintenance investment is necessary. However, the amount of that need, and the amount that can be fulfilled through cost management and prioritization of projects, must be determined. While there are many “wish lists” for highway spending, it is critical that the amount of additional funding be based solely on priority spending needs that will actually contribute to improving the state’s business climate and quality of life.
There are two ways that the need for additional funding can be assessed. The first way is by reviewing the conclusions of various federal and state organizations that have reviewed the issue from both a national and state perspective. The second approach is to evaluate various indicators such as traffic growth vs. lane additions, pavement condition and trends, congestion levels and trends, transportation investment funding trend-lines, etc. The following sections explore each of these indicators of need, with a final section drawing conclusions about new funding needs.