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A bumpy road for transportation

South Dakota State Roundup

September 1, 2009


Ron Wirtz Editor, fedgazette
A bumpy road for transportation

How do you like your roads: bumpy and cheap, or smooth and not so cheap?

A report this year from the South Dakota Department of Transportation showed that the state managed to improve the overall condition of its highways from 1998 to 2008, though it fell short of its improvement goals. The bad news is that the state is on a slippery funding slope, with an annual shortfall of $81 million for meeting local road and bridge needs going forward. Other news sources put the statewide figure at about $90 million.

The problem: Gas tax revenue has been flat because people are driving less with higher gas prices and a slumping economy, yet highway construction costs have increased significantly. A legislative committee has been charged with developing a strategy for addressing the funding gap and is due to report in October.

Ron Wirtz
Editor, fedgazette

Ron Wirtz is a Minneapolis Fed regional outreach director. Ron tracks current business conditions, with a focus on employment and wages, construction, real estate, consumer spending, and tourism. In this role, he networks with businesses in the Bank’s six-state region and gives frequent speeches on economic conditions. Follow him on Twitter @RonWirtz.