Study Ranks Florida Second Worst in Urban Roads
Nord, Thomas, The Florida Times Union
Florida is doing a poor job maintaining its urban highways,
spending far more federal dollars on new roads while neglecting
older, crumbling thoroughfares, two public interest groups say.
But state transportation officials were quick to debunk the
study released yesterday by two Washingtonbased think tanks, the
Environmental Working Group and the Surface Transportation
The report zings state leaders for spending almost two-thirds
of their federal highway funds to build and expand highways in
According to researchers, state motorists spend close to 10
times as much money -- about $212 million annually -- to repair
damage to vehicles caused by bad roads than the state spends in
federal dollars -- $22.7 million -- to fix them.
"The people of Florida are using these roads, and it appears
that they are not being fixed as they should be," said Brian
Cohen, the policy analyst who wrote the report.
Florida ranked second behind Iowa and tied with Illinois on the
so-called "Pothole Index," which factored in the number of miles
of urban highways needing repairs and the amount of federal
dollars used to maintain them.
Upon closer examination, however, the study reveals that only
597 of the state's 12,000 miles of highways were included in the
analysis, based on data collected by the U.S. Department of
According to Dick Kane, a state transportation spokesman in
Tallahassee, the federal government only funds about a third of
the $1 billion it spends annually to build and maintain roads.
The majority comes from taxes and fees collected within the
"We don't agree with their findings and recommendations," Kane
In the current fiscal year, for example, the state is spending
$300 million to repave state roads and highways, including many
in urban areas, Kane said.
"So where they are getting their figures, I don't know," he
The groups complained that, under the current federal highway
funding program, states have diverted money intended for repairs
to building new roads. …