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By Roger Runningen
By Roger Runningen
WASHINGTON – More than two-thirds of U.S. roadways are in need of repair and the poor condition of the nation’s transportation network results in billions in extra costs, according to a White House report.
And leading the way are Rhode Island and Connecticut, with 41 percent of their roads considered to be in “poor condition,” compared with a national average of 14 percent.
The report was released Monday in conjunction with President Barack Obama’s campaign to pressure Congress for a deal to replenish the Highway Trust Fund. The fund, supplied by fuel taxes, is heading toward insolvency as early as next month, jeopardizing jobs and projects during the peak construction season.
Crumbling roads and bridges cut into economic growth, by increasing transportation costs and delaying shipments, according to the report.
“A well-performing transportation network keeps jobs in America, allows businesses to expand, and lowers prices on household goods to American families,” said a 27-page report by the Council of Economic Advisers and National Economic Council.
In Rhode Island, 41 percent of the state’s 6,484 miles of public roads are in poor condition, the report found, and as many as 3,595 jobs could be jeopardized if the Highway Trust Fund is not replenished. Connecticut has a total of 21,414 miles of public roads.
The report also noted that 57 percent of the Ocean State’s 766 bridges were considered “deficient or obsolete,” the highest percentage in the United States, compared with a national average of 25 percent. The state with the second-highest percentage of deficient or obsolete bridges was Massachusetts, at 52 percent.
Roads in the rest of New England were generally in much better shape than in Rhode Island and Connecticut, with Massachusetts being judged to have 19 percent in poor condition, Maine 7 percent, New Hampshire 17 percent and Vermont 14 percent.
Bridges were another matter, however. Connecticut was judged to have 35 percent deficient of obsolete, Maine 33 percent, New Hampshire 32 percent and Vermont 33 percent.
Obama is scheduled to speak Tuesday at a highway research center in McLean, Va., that tests technology to make road and bridge building more efficient. Later in the week, the president travels to Delaware to announce a new way to increase private sector investment in transportation projects, the White House said in a statement.