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Old March 19th, 2010, 10:33 AM   #5481
HAWC1506
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I think the best (long-term) solution would be to raise the gas tax and start maintaining our roads.

For pete's sake, can't Americans see what's going on with our infrastructure? Either the general public is too lazy to care or they just don't know how to look for problems.

It disappoints me to see such obliviousness in our society.
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Old March 19th, 2010, 11:11 AM   #5482
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http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2010/03/...ds_on_int.html


Alabama lowering speeds on Interstate 20 near Georgia after rock from pothole fatally injures traveler
By The Birmingham News
March 18, 2010, 12:35PM

Alabama Transportation officials are lowering the speed limit on Interstate 20 from Oxford to the Georgia state line following a fatal accident Monday, the Anniston Star reports.

The speed limit will drop from 70 mph to 55 mph from mile marker 182 to the state line. Extra troopers will patrol the stretch, according to the newspaper. Jo Maureen Fisher of Goose Creek, S.C., died in a Birmingham hospital Tuesday, hours after a vehicle hit a pothole and threw a rock that passed through the windshield of the car Fisher was in and struck her in the head.
I think lowering the speed limit is a stupid idea. If this happened at 55mph would they lower the speed limit to 40?
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Old March 19th, 2010, 04:06 PM   #5483
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http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2010/03/...ds_on_int.html


Alabama lowering speeds on Interstate 20 near Georgia after rock from pothole fatally injures traveler
By The Birmingham News
March 18, 2010, 12:35PM

Alabama Transportation officials are lowering the speed limit on Interstate 20 from Oxford to the Georgia state line following a fatal accident Monday, the Anniston Star reports.

The speed limit will drop from 70 mph to 55 mph from mile marker 182 to the state line. Extra troopers will patrol the stretch, according to the newspaper. Jo Maureen Fisher of Goose Creek, S.C., died in a Birmingham hospital Tuesday, hours after a vehicle hit a pothole and threw a rock that passed through the windshield of the car Fisher was in and struck her in the head.
This is ALDOT's answer to every road maintance issue, lower the speed limit to a ridiculous speed (55mph) rather than fixing the road surface itself.
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Old March 19th, 2010, 04:08 PM   #5484
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Alabama makes another top 10 list, ranked 9th for deadliest highways
By Ginny MacDonald -- The Birmingham News
March 17, 2010, 7:45AM

Alabama is No. 1 for highway fatalities caused by speeding. It is ranked No. 9 for road deaths in which alcohol was involved.

And it is ranked No. 9 among the 50 states for having overall the deadliest roads.

Montana is ranked as having the dead*liest roads in the country. Massachusetts is 50th on that list.

Alabama also ranks 28th for having the best roads in the country. The magazine tapped Kansas for having the best roads and Louisiana for the worst.

The ranking factors for deadliest roads incorporated drivers who drink, drive reck*lessly or shun seat belts and the fatalities per 100 million miles driven.

The rankings came as no surprise to Dor*ris Teague, spokeswoman for the Alabama Department of Public Safety, because of speeding and DUI, “factors that we com*monly see in fatal crashes. That’s the reason so much of our energy is aimed at these vio*lations in an effort to change driver behav*ior.”

Teague said it was obvious that a number of Alabamians shun seat belts. “In 63 per*cent of trooper-reported crashes last year, drivers were not buckled up.”
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Old March 19th, 2010, 07:06 PM   #5485
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I'm sorry but that is stupid, anyone who does highway driving knows every know and then a rock will hit your car. It might have been a freak accident that a larger rock killed somebody but to lower the speed limit instead of fixing the problem? Part of the problem in America is the government not using the gas tax funds to fix roads. I don't remember the percentage but only a certain percent goes towards fixing and improving roads. The government is lazy, ignorant, and stupid, they divert the money towards other usually less important things.
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Old March 19th, 2010, 07:48 PM   #5486
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I'm sorry but that is stupid, anyone who does highway driving knows every know and then a rock will hit your car. It might have been a freak accident that a larger rock killed somebody but to lower the speed limit instead of fixing the problem? Part of the problem in America is the government not using the gas tax funds to fix roads. I don't remember the percentage but only a certain percent goes towards fixing and improving roads. The government is lazy, ignorant, and stupid, they divert the money towards other usually less important things.
LOL , most of that money goes to building new Wide Freeways and not to improving old ones. This Country is crumbling due to that , we seem to have a huge problem of taking care of basic things. & Yet some of you want to raise the speed limit, that just causes the country to import more gas and possibly a few more wars. And the roads are already deadly enough , raising the speed limit will make them even worse. Although it depends on your state ,some states do a good job splitting up the gas tax for key things like new Transit , Rail and fixing up old roads. But most states do a terrible job with that , IE PA , that state is falling apart in every category yet expanding there Highways and Railways while not fixing up the old ones.
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Old March 19th, 2010, 09:37 PM   #5487
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Part of the problem in America is the government not using the gas tax funds to fix roads. I don't remember the percentage but only a certain percent goes towards fixing and improving roads.
The percentage in question (total highway user revenues divided by total highway expenditures) is well over 90%. The gas tax is just too low in most states and, yes, there is a tendency--but significantly weaker than is usually thought--to prioritize capital improvements higher than upkeep.
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Old March 19th, 2010, 10:06 PM   #5488
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The Americans know how to spend their highway user revenues. In Europe, it is usually < 50%, for example, in the Netherlands it is only 18%.
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Old March 20th, 2010, 12:02 AM   #5489
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Originally Posted by ttownfeen View Post
http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2010/03/...ds_on_int.html


Alabama lowering speeds on Interstate 20 near Georgia after rock from pothole fatally injures traveler
By The Birmingham News
March 18, 2010, 12:35PM

Alabama Transportation officials are lowering the speed limit on Interstate 20 from Oxford to the Georgia state line following a fatal accident Monday, the Anniston Star reports.

The speed limit will drop from 70 mph to 55 mph from mile marker 182 to the state line. Extra troopers will patrol the stretch, according to the newspaper. Jo Maureen Fisher of Goose Creek, S.C., died in a Birmingham hospital Tuesday, hours after a vehicle hit a pothole and threw a rock that passed through the windshield of the car Fisher was in and struck her in the head.
That's a 40-mile stretch of interstate! Unbelievable! Just because one one freak accident? This is the same crap they pulled on another stretch of I-20 just east of Leeds, only because accidents over some 3 month period back in 2003 or 2004 spiked up. I will not be taking I-20 on my way to Atlanta anymore, that's for sure. Tennessee and Georgia can have my gas tax revenues as I will fill up in Dalton and Chattanooga now.
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Old March 20th, 2010, 01:13 AM   #5490
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That's a 40-mile stretch of interstate! Unbelievable! Just because one one freak accident? This is the same crap they pulled on another stretch of I-20 just east of Leeds, only because accidents over some 3 month period back in 2003 or 2004 spiked up. I will not be taking I-20 on my way to Atlanta anymore, that's for sure. Tennessee and Georgia can have my gas tax revenues as I will fill up in Dalton and Chattanooga now.
Maybe they are afraid that other parts of the highway have the same problems.

But usually they only limit it to the affected area, perhaps this is just an Alabama thing.
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Old March 21st, 2010, 01:53 AM   #5491
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The Americans know how to spend their highway user revenues. In Europe, it is usually < 50%, for example, in the Netherlands it is only 18%.
I would like to see some figures. I'm sure the U.S. spends most (if not all) of their gas tax on highways, but the amount they receive is perhaps insufficient to cover what is needed. As a result, sales tax, income tax, and money from the general funds are often used to cover highway construction as well.

The point is, the U.S. spends a good percentage of their gas tax on highways, but the total amount is possibly much less than that of Europe.

And I know you might disagree, but spending gas tax on transit also helps highways by reducing the need for constant expansion and providing alternatives. Imagine 3 million more road commuters a day in London if the Underground were to be taken out.
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Old March 21st, 2010, 02:18 AM   #5492
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Originally Posted by I-275westcoastfl View Post
I'm sorry but that is stupid, anyone who does highway driving knows every know and then a rock will hit your car. It might have been a freak accident that a larger rock killed somebody but to lower the speed limit instead of fixing the problem? Part of the problem in America is the government not using the gas tax funds to fix roads. I don't remember the percentage but only a certain percent goes towards fixing and improving roads. The government is lazy, ignorant, and stupid, they divert the money towards other usually less important things.
It's a liability issue. Alabama is trying to protect their butt from future lawsuits. But, I agree, fix the problem and then it wouldn't be an issue.
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Old March 21st, 2010, 02:25 AM   #5493
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Actually, the situation is a little more complicated than that. The US spends about $100 billion on highways annually, at all levels of government. About 66% of that is paid for directly by highway user revenues, and this lower percentage is usually cited by those (primarily but not exclusively advocates of mass transit) who claim that highways are subsidized by general taxation.

But the reality is that significant portions of highway user revenue are diverted to other purposes--not just transit (through the Mass Transit Account in the federal Highway Trust Fund), but also compulsory loans to state governments, and even general expenditures in the states which don't hypothecate. The 66% figure also excludes bank interest on highway user revenues.

So the money that goes to roads from non-highway sources, like sales taxes and subventions out of the general fund, are generally replacing highway user revenues which have been diverted elsewhere. The reality is that gross highway user revenue (including bank interest) amounts to a little over 90% of highway expenditures annually. There is some subsidy to roads out of general revenues, but it is on the order of 8%, not the 33% you would expect from the 66% figure, and the subsidy is generally considered tolerable as a payment for the access function provided by roads, which benefits those who do not use the roads directly.

It is hard to do a direct financial comparison between the US and any European country because the infrastructural commitments are so different. US versus UK does not tell us much, for example, because British highway user revenues are on the order of £30 billion annually, but spending is only £6 billion. On the other hand, the US has something like 200 million drivers, while Britain has only 26 million. The US has (probably) upward of 50,000 centerline miles of freeway (the Interstate system alone is more than 46,000 miles, and populous states like California, Texas, Illinois, and even Washington have significant non-Interstate freeway mileage), while the British motorway network is around 2,000 miles in total. Perhaps British highways are adequately funded in comparison to American ones? (This ignores, though, the fact that British motorways have next to no network redundancy and have to serve twice the driving population per centerline mile.)
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Old March 21st, 2010, 03:38 AM   #5494
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Actually, the situation is a little more complicated than that. The US spends about $100 billion on highways annually, at all levels of government. About 66% of that is paid for directly by highway user revenues, and this lower percentage is usually cited by those (primarily but not exclusively advocates of mass transit) who claim that highways are subsidized by general taxation.

But the reality is that significant portions of highway user revenue are diverted to other purposes--not just transit (through the Mass Transit Account in the federal Highway Trust Fund), but also compulsory loans to state governments, and even general expenditures in the states which don't hypothecate. The 66% figure also excludes bank interest on highway user revenues.

So the money that goes to roads from non-highway sources, like sales taxes and subventions out of the general fund, are generally replacing highway user revenues which have been diverted elsewhere. The reality is that gross highway user revenue (including bank interest) amounts to a little over 90% of highway expenditures annually. There is some subsidy to roads out of general revenues, but it is on the order of 8%, not the 33% you would expect from the 66% figure, and the subsidy is generally considered tolerable as a payment for the access function provided by roads, which benefits those who do not use the roads directly.

It is hard to do a direct financial comparison between the US and any European country because the infrastructural commitments are so different. US versus UK does not tell us much, for example, because British highway user revenues are on the order of £30 billion annually, but spending is only £6 billion. On the other hand, the US has something like 200 million drivers, while Britain has only 26 million. The US has (probably) upward of 50,000 centerline miles of freeway (the Interstate system alone is more than 46,000 miles, and populous states like California, Texas, Illinois, and even Washington have significant non-Interstate freeway mileage), while the British motorway network is around 2,000 miles in total. Perhaps British highways are adequately funded in comparison to American ones? (This ignores, though, the fact that British motorways have next to no network redundancy and have to serve twice the driving population per centerline mile.)
Well, I'm not sure if you were responding to my post, but my point is only that Alabama is doing what their lawyers tell them, reduce liability immediately. Then, hopefully, correct the problem long-term.
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Old March 21st, 2010, 03:55 AM   #5495
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Actually, the situation is a little more complicated than that. The US spends about $100 billion on highways annually, at all levels of government. About 66% of that is paid for directly by highway user revenues, and this lower percentage is usually cited by those (primarily but not exclusively advocates of mass transit) who claim that highways are subsidized by general taxation.

But the reality is that significant portions of highway user revenue are diverted to other purposes--not just transit (through the Mass Transit Account in the federal Highway Trust Fund), but also compulsory loans to state governments, and even general expenditures in the states which don't hypothecate. The 66% figure also excludes bank interest on highway user revenues.

So the money that goes to roads from non-highway sources, like sales taxes and subventions out of the general fund, are generally replacing highway user revenues which have been diverted elsewhere. The reality is that gross highway user revenue (including bank interest) amounts to a little over 90% of highway expenditures annually. There is some subsidy to roads out of general revenues, but it is on the order of 8%, not the 33% you would expect from the 66% figure, and the subsidy is generally considered tolerable as a payment for the access function provided by roads, which benefits those who do not use the roads directly.

It is hard to do a direct financial comparison between the US and any European country because the infrastructural commitments are so different. US versus UK does not tell us much, for example, because British highway user revenues are on the order of £30 billion annually, but spending is only £6 billion. On the other hand, the US has something like 200 million drivers, while Britain has only 26 million. The US has (probably) upward of 50,000 centerline miles of freeway (the Interstate system alone is more than 46,000 miles, and populous states like California, Texas, Illinois, and even Washington have significant non-Interstate freeway mileage), while the British motorway network is around 2,000 miles in total. Perhaps British highways are adequately funded in comparison to American ones? (This ignores, though, the fact that British motorways have next to no network redundancy and have to serve twice the driving population per centerline mile.)
Do you know if there's a per capita figure on how much is spent on U.S. highways vs. UK (or German) highways?

Your post also reminded me. Funding also varies from state to state. Washington State for example has a tax system where road projects are actually taxed by the government (yes the government taxes itself), so in a $4 billion project like the SR520 floating bridge replacement, a good $300 million is taxed and put into the general fund for schools, libraries, health, etc.
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Old March 21st, 2010, 05:07 AM   #5496
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Maybe they are afraid that other parts of the highway have the same problems.

But usually they only limit it to the affected area, perhaps this is just an Alabama thing.
The section of I-20 in question is basically in perfect condition, so I dont understand the need to lower the speed limit to 55 mph. Im starting to suspect the state is using this as an excuse to create a 40 mile speed trap.

Last edited by Stuck in Bama; March 21st, 2010 at 05:14 AM.
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Old March 21st, 2010, 05:21 AM   #5497
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That's a 40-mile stretch of interstate! Unbelievable! Just because one one freak accident? This is the same crap they pulled on another stretch of I-20 just east of Leeds, only because accidents over some 3 month period back in 2003 or 2004 spiked up. I will not be taking I-20 on my way to Atlanta anymore, that's for sure. Tennessee and Georgia can have my gas tax revenues as I will fill up in Dalton and Chattanooga now.
I will admit that was once a dangerous section of I-20. One of the problems was that you had cars and trucks easily crossing over onto on coming traffic because of the very narrow median that was in place. Deadly accidents were becoming more common so the mayor of Pell City and St. Clair County officials asked the gov. and ALDOT to lower the speed limit.
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Old March 21st, 2010, 11:38 AM   #5498
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And I know you might disagree, but spending gas tax on transit also helps highways by reducing the need for constant expansion and providing alternatives. Imagine 3 million more road commuters a day in London if the Underground were to be taken out.
Not in the Netherlands, corridor studies for several projects have shown significant investment in transit would lower traffic volumes between 0 and 2%. It's really not worth it if you consider it as an alternative not to improve the highway system.

Also; there is absolutely not a plan to "take out the entire underground system". However, once there is a reasonably good public transport system, there is no reason to enhance it further with the argument to reduce road traffic.

If they want to improve transit; no problem, but don't use it as an excuse not to improve the highway system. Madrid understood this.
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Old March 21st, 2010, 05:08 PM   #5499
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A halfassed trip report:

Yesterday I drove from my house in Lawrenceville, GA, to Warner Robins and back. Several items of interest:

Reconstruction of the interchange of I-75 and I-475 south is all but complete, with only tidying up left to do. The concrete plant in the median of I-475 is gone, and all lanes are open, except...

The new southbound roadway is built for six lanes, three from I-75, three from I-475. But the I-75 roadway is striped down to two lanes before the merge, and to me it looks permanent. It's pretty startling to see eleven lanes worth of pavement out in the countryside, even if "only" ten are actually used.

South of the interchange, a new interchange is being built at I-75 and Sardis Church Road, having a folded diamond layout with two loop ramps oriented toward the north. The ramp footprints have been cleared of trees and the new bridge carring Sardis Church over I-75 has had most of the precast beamd placed. Apparently at least one auxilliary lane is being added to I-75 as far as this interchange.

Here's a report I did two years ago back when I was more energetic...

Back in the big town, the new interchange of I-285 and GA 10/Memorial Drive has also been completed. This interchange is one of the most bizarre projects GDOT has ever done. Why? Well...

Back in the late '80's and early '90's, GDOT had a secret plan to build an Ontario 401-style collector-distrbutor system along about 70 miles of freeways on the north side of Atlanta. "Secret plan" sounds pretty paranoid, but there had been a front-page newspaper article about it on Earth Day of 1990, and after reviewing the proposal for the I-85 Sugarloaf Parkway interchange complex in Gwinnett County, I realized the GDOT intended to build the system without bothering to incorporate it into the Regional Transportation Plan, which was a direct volation of Federal law. I did my best to beat them up about it over an incessant barrage of denials by all of the relevant agencies. Then, lo and behold, in May of 1996 the commissioner of GDOT, in another front-page newspaper article, admitted that, yes, Tom 958 was right, that indeed GDOT had been developing this CD system and would continue to do so once the air quality crisis had been resolved.

The funding picture for the CD system was never even close to complete and air quality nonconformity made the project infeasible under the Clean Air Act, and the Sugarloaf Parkway interchange complex was the only part that was ever completed.

Why am I telling you all of this? Well...

For several years, it was GDOT (and FHWA) policy that any over-freeway bridges replaced within the CD system corridors would be rebuilt with provision for the CD system. You can observe that this was done at a number of locations along I-285. But... the new I-285/Memorial Drive interchange has not only clearance for the CD roads under the new bridge, but the full footprint of the CD's established through the construction of retaining walls extending nearly to the point at which the off- and onramps join the mainline grade. Plus, the clearance for the mainline itself if huge, maybe enough for ten lanes plus barrier-separated HOV's. By my eyeball it's more than the extra mainline clearance visible in the Streetviews I linked to above, but I can't swear to that.

This was especially expensive in the southwestern quadrant of the interchange since the DeKalb County Public Safety complex is sited there, atop a significant hill, so in addition to the retaining wall between the CD footprint and the southbound onramp, there's another high wall carving the onramp into the side of the hill atop which sits the DeKalb police headquarters. I really should get some photos, shouldn't I? :P

To add to the bizarreness, a few miles north of there, the interchange at US 29 and I-285 was also rebuilt recently, but the new bridge carrying US 29 over I-285 has little provision for extra mainline width and none for CD's. That means that in the extremely unlikely event that something resembling the regional CD system is ever built, the US 29 interchange will have to be re-rebuilt or perhaps vaulted over by a viaduct carrying I-285.
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Old March 23rd, 2010, 02:32 AM   #5500
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Not in the Netherlands, corridor studies for several projects have shown significant investment in transit would lower traffic volumes between 0 and 2%. It's really not worth it if you consider it as an alternative not to improve the highway system.

Also; there is absolutely not a plan to "take out the entire underground system". However, once there is a reasonably good public transport system, there is no reason to enhance it further with the argument to reduce road traffic.

If they want to improve transit; no problem, but don't use it as an excuse not to improve the highway system. Madrid understood this.
Oh no I'm not saying that. The best transportation system is one that balances public transportation and highways. We can't rely on one system over the other. I think Texas is finally beginning to realize that relying on highways alone doesn't work. There is not enough money to expand highway networks, let alone maintain it.
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