Surprise! Federal government owns very little of U.S. transportation infrastructure

IN OUR PREVIOUS Tucker Paving blog, we wrote about the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) and listed some of the statistics found on its website (www.arbta.org). The more we got into the stats, the more interesting they became.

Here are a baker’s dozen more tidbits from the ARTBA FAQs page on its website:

1. Almost all roads, bridges, airports, and transit systems in the United States are owned by state and local governments or government-created agencies, which are responsible for constructing and maintaining them.

2. Though it owns and operates the nation’s passenger rail system, Amtrak, the federal government actually owns very little of the nation’s transportation infrastructure. The federal government does, however, help state and local governments pay for the construction and upkeep of airports, transit systems, and major roads.

3. The major source of funding for federal highway and transit investment is the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), which was created by Congress in 1956, during the administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

4. According to the ARTBA and other sources, “Since 2008, revenues flowing into the Highway Trust Fund have been insufficient to fully support the level of federal highway and transit investment authorized by Congress.”

5. The federal gasoline tax is 18.4 cents per gallon of gasoline, of which 18.3 cents is credited to the HTF. The federal diesel fuel tax is 24.4 cents per gallon.

6. In 2013, U.S. consumers paid an average of $96.42 in federal gasoline taxes for each vehicle they owned.

7. State gasoline tax rates range from a low of 12.25 cents per gallon (in Alaska) to 58.2 cents per gallon in Pennsylvania. (Source: American Petroleum Institute, as of Jan. 1, 2017)

8. At 36.8 cents per gallon, Florida ranks ninth among the states with the highest gasoline tax rates. (Source: American Petroleum Institute, as of Jan. 1, 2017)

9. Road and bridge improvements are designed by civil engineers, who prepare the drawings, specify the types and quantities of materials to be used, and determine how to assure the safety of construction workers and motorists while the project is under way. Construction companies, like Tucker Paving, use these plans to build the project.

10. The cost to construct a new two-lane undivided road is about $2 million to $3 million per mile in rural areas and about $3 million to $5 million in urban areas.

11. The cost to construct a new four-lane highway runs about $4 million to $6 million per mile in rural and suburban areas and about $8 million to $10 million per mile in urban areas.

12. The cost to construct a new six-lane interstate highway is about $7 million per mile in rural areas and $11 million or more per mile in urban areas.

13. The cost to mill and resurface a four-lane road is about $1.25 million per mile.