Our aging 47,000-mile Interstate system accounts for just 1.2 percent of U.S. highway miles, but carries 24.2 percent of all highway traffic. The system was established in 1956 and built mostly in the 1960s and 1970s. Although $20 billion was spent on Interstate highway fixes in 2008, the Department of Transportation says it will cost $688 billion in the next 16 years to repair and upgrade the Interstates to handle anticipated traffic and meet new safety and environmental standards. That’s more than five times their original construction cost.
Interstate highways are firmly part of the American landscape and we’ve got more facts about the system in our special interactive infographic. Be sure to click around and see everything. Then use the “What Do Others Say?” resources and discussion thread to consider this and other mammoth infrastructure-fix estimates. Should they be priorities for the public sector? Who should pay? How would you tackle this funding problem?