WASHINGTON (WNEW/AP) — A staggering 95 percent of roads in the District are in poor condition, according to a report released by the White House.
The nation’s capital has long been known for its bumpy rides and annual “Potholepalooza” campaign to fill many of the thousands of craters plaguing the 1,501 miles of city roadways. More than 6,000 potholes were repaired during the first campaign in 2009.
However, according to the District Department of Transportation, the White House report far exaggerates the issue. The 23 percent estimated by DDOT is still well above the national average of 14 percent.
According to the White House, if Congress failed to act on improving funding for roads and infrastructure, 5,946 jobs in the District will be jeopardized and 290 highway and transit projects will be slowed or stopped.
Nearby, 20 percent of Maryland’s roads are in poor shape, but just 6 percent of Virginia’s streets earned a failing grade in the report.
The report was released by the White House this week to drum up support to keep federal transportation funding flowing to states and to keep construction crews on the job.
President Barack Obama pressed Congress for a more permanent solution to the longstanding shortfall in funding for road and bridge-building projects.
On Tuesday, the House passed a temporary patch for the Highway Trust Fund, which is projected to run dry next month unless Congress acts, the Transportation Department says. The measure cobbles together $10.8 billion from various sources to keep the fund solvent through May 2015. A similar bill is pending in the Senate. Obama said he supports the efforts by lawmakers in both chambers, but wants to see more.
“At the very least Congress should be keeping people on the job who are already there right now,” he said after touring a federal highway research center in northern Virginia. “But all this does is set us up for the same crisis a few months from now. So Congress shouldn’t pat itself on the back for averting disaster for a few months.”
Obama said better roads and bridges will help boost the economy by keeping construction workers on the job and by ultimately saving time and money for businesses and commuters. Obama pushed his own $302 billion, four-year transportation spending plan, one partly paid for by closing corporate tax loopholes.
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