When the Money Runs Out

There was a transportation panel at last week’s Illahee symposium, “Oil Water and Oregon”. Of course the gas tax came up. As the gas tax loses buying power to inflation and greater fuel economy, the funds available for maintenance continue to get squeezed.

One panelist opined that the message voters were sending in voting down gas tax increases was that voters didn’t want more roads. I’m not sure that’s entirely true, I suspect some portion of them just don’t want to pay…

But the eye-opener for me was to hear a panelist from ODOT say that they actually have a planning process to look at what facilities they will abandon if they can’t maintain all the roads.

I have a hard time imagining that it will ever come to that, but the fact that they feel compelled to think about is pretty sobering.

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