Our transportation system is breaking down. In Idaho, we would need an additional $262 million a year to maintain our existing approach. Nationally, it would require $3.6 trillion — almost the same amount as our entire federal budget.
We have built a system we can't afford. The proposed solution? Supersize it, so it's even bigger and less affordable. The current plan at both the state and federal levels is to continue expanding our existing system through ever-wider roads.
Forget about building a bigger system. To even close the funding gap to maintain existing roads and bridges would require tremendous tax increases. The gas tax, for example, would have to be raised not by pennies per a gallon, but by dollars.
While solving our transportation crisis will require some additional funding, the first step is to open our minds to new approaches rather than further opening our wallets.
John Reuter is the Executive Director of Conservation Voters for Idaho and a member of the Strong Towns Board of Directors.