|By Darren Fishell, Bangor Daily News, Maine|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
The latest rural road assessment released Thursday from the
"There is data that shows there are more accidents on rural roads that aren't in good shape," Fuentes said in a phone interview. "So it's a safety issue and it's an economic issue. And I think it's something that impacts every person in the state."
Fuentes said the problem has been exacerbated in recent years by gridlock in
A cash shortfall projected by the
"The impact of inadequate federal surface transportation revenues could be felt as early as this summer, when the balance in the Highway Account of the federal
Fuentes said that lagging federal funding is matched with decreased investment at the state level. In the 1970s, she said, about 26 percent of state revenues went to transportation; that figure is now closer to 10 percent.
"With the federal government not being the partner that they once were with the states, states are having to figure out on their own how to maintain their system, and it's been very difficult," she said.
"Every year [
In 2012, a TRIP report estimated that Mainers paid between
The latest report also points to agriculture as an industry bearing the brunt of bad roads. Earlier this year,
"Certainly local farming is an area in which we're really seeing some very positive growth," Fuentes said. "But we're not giving them the support in terms of the transportation network that we should be."
While the latest report gives a general overview of the condition of rural roads in the state, Fuentes said her organization will get more specific next week, revealing its choice for the "
As for bridges, the report found 16 percent of the state's rural bridges were structurally deficient, compared with 15 percent in 2010. The study is one of many issued on infrastructure quality each year.
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