Will Higher Gas Prices Cause Roads And Streets To Crumble?

By Jeff Neumeyer

February 28, 2011 Updated Feb 28, 2011 at 6:53 PM EDT

Whitley County, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- County highway departments across Indiana may soon be cursing higher gas prices for drying up revenues to make road, street, and bridge repairs.

More motor vehicle highway funds are now being diverted to state police and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, diminishing cash for road repairs.

But the real problem, according to Whitley County Highway Director Michael Barton, is that the forecast of higher gasoline prices is expected to translate into less driving, and thus less gas tax revenue that helps communities keep their roads in good shape.

There's a double whammy, because the cost of fixing roads is not going down.

Michael Barton/Whitley County Highway Director: " Our prices still keep going up on all materials we buy, but we have less money, in fact, one of the things that we had just mentioned, our money is probably equal to what we were getting back in about the year 2000."

To make matter worse, state budget officials announced last week they overpaid local governments in fiscal years 2009, 2010 and 2011, because of incorrect income tax revenue projections.

Payments will be reduced to counties over the next few years to make up the difference, and some funds will have to be returned to the state.




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