Arizona's Transportation Infrastructure: An Investigation into the Quality, Funding Sources, and Maintenance Processes of Roads and Bridges in the State of Arizona
Arizona's transportation infrastructure is in need of an update. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) State Infrastructure 2017 Report Card scores Arizona's roads at a D+ and Arizona's bridges at a B. These grades are indicative that the serviceability levels of the roads and bridges are less than adequate. These grades may seem tolerable in light of a national bridge C+ grade and a national road D grade, but the real problem lies in Arizona's existing funding gap that is in danger of exponentially increasing in the future. With an influx of vehicles on Arizona's roads and bridges, the cost of building, repairing, and maintaining them will grow and cause a problematic funding shortage. This report explores the current state of Arizona's roads and bridges as well as the policy and funding sources behind them, using statistics from the ASCE infrastructure report card and the Federal Highway Administration. Additionally, it discusses how regular, preventative maintenance for transportation infrastructure is the economically responsible choice for the state because it decreases delays and fuel expenses, prevents possible catastrophes, and increases human safety. To prioritize preventative transportation infrastructure maintenance, the common mentality that allows it to be sidelined for more newsworthy projects needs to be changed. Along with gaining preventative maintenance revenues through increasing vehicular taxes and fees, encouraging transportation policymakers and politicians to make economic decisions in favor of maintenance rather than waiting until failure is a reliable way to encourage regular, preventative maintenance.