A recent report showcasing Florida as having the country’s best roads and bridges is a testament to the nonstop efforts of our state’s transportation agencies. Despite decreasing revenue from the federal gas tax, Florida is taking advantage of new ways to fund and maintain our infrastructure; whether through tolls, or more recently the use of public-private partnerships, as exemplified by the success of the 595 Express project. But providing quality roads and bridges is just one piece needed to solve the larger transportation puzzle.
With Florida’s swiftly growing population, it is critical to provide transportation options to residents who are increasingly becoming less reliant on cars. South Florida is making progress toward serving our multimodal needs. The Miami Intermodal Center will allow commuters to connect to more than half a dozen transportation options. The successful Miami Trolley is helping tie communities together, giving commuters yet another reason to leave their cars at home. And plans to bring bus rapid transit into the mix in South Florida will help ease congestion on Miami’s most crowded roadways.
But these projects come at a cost, and this is where Congress must provide leadership. The federal Highway Trust Fund, through which federal gas taxes are distributed back to states, is on the verge of bankruptcy. Without a sustainable solution, billions of dollars of infrastructure projects will come to a halt. Improving America’s transportation infrastructure is critical to driving the country’s economic growth, and our leaders need to come up with a long-term solution instead of short-term fixes.
In the meantime, Florida’s transportation leaders deserve praise for creative solutions that keep us moving and rank our roads and bridges as the best in America.
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Albert Sosa, vice president,
HNTB Corp., Miami