By making regular maintenance eligible for federal highway funds, we can lessen the need for major rehabilitation and reconstruction while protecting taxpayers' investment through rational asset management.
Under current law, these federal agencies must request money from Congress to carry out requisite operation and maintenance activities, but they have not been provided adequate financial resources to carry out such activities. The results are poor facility conditions and very sizable maintenance backlogs. Currently the roads and bridges maintenance backlog for the National Park Service is $4.9 billion, and it is estimated that 90% of its roads are in poor to fair condition.
The current funding arrangement has a built-in perverse incentive that leads to waste and inefficiency. By deferring regular maintenance long enough, the highways and bridges will degrade to such an extent that they require major rehabilitation or even reconstruction—activities that are eligible for federal highway funds.