If governmental entities didn’t have to deal with roads, streets and bridges, life would be good for them. Yes, there are other issues these officials have to deal with, but roads, streets and bridges have always been a challenge, especially when it comes to the people who use the infrastructure.
The state, county commissions, road districts and cities spend a great deal of their time on transportation issues. The driving public depends on this infrastructure daily and expects first-rate roads, streets and bridges because they pay taxes for their construction and maintenance. When these public transportation facilities are not up to standards, the people complain. The officials listen and try to respond. Too often the funds aren’t there to meet public demands. And, we all know tax dollars have been wasted. We have an example of that in Franklin County in its pave every road program. Much work had to be redone at an estimated cost of about $1 million.
Overall, the state is meeting its highway and bridge needs as best it can with available resources. Many counties in the state are struggling with their transportation demands. Cities also have a challenge with streets and their bridges.
The condition of many streets in cities aren’t what they used to be prior to the increase in traffic and the need for new streets. The condition of some streets in St. Louis city and county aren’t what they used to be due to a lack of funds for maintenance. Washington has a number of paved streets that are rough and on some of them the patch work has left them uneven and bumpy. It’s a rough ride on a number of city streets.
The city of Washington did away with its street committee some years ago and there are critics who believe the city was more responsive to needs with that system than the present structure.
The Washington Area Highway and Transportation Committee has been an important liaison with federal, county and state road officials. The county’s Transportation Committee also plays an important role. We don’t doubt for a second that the city’s Highway 47 Bridge Committee is playing a vital role in the efforts to obtain a new structure. The progress is evident.
Just about every entity of any size has more roads, streets and bridges to take care of than in the past decades. That, of course, is not true in no-growth cities and villages.
Highways, streets and bridges, as mentioned, are among the top issues that elected and appointed officials are faced with and the challenges are greater today than ever before. If we want to improve and expand that infrastructure, more tax dollars are needed and officials must exercise competent management, which includes adequate oversight.