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Essay: Why Investing in Road Expansion is Costing Taxpayers Billions

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  • Subject area(s): Sample essays
  • Reading time: 3 minutes
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  • Published: 1 February 2018*
  • File format: Text
  • Words: 847 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 4 (approx)

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For decades now, states have invested disproportionately in road expansion and left regular repair and preservation underfunded. As a result of these spending decisions, road conditions in many states, South Carolina in particular, are getting worse and may threaten taxpayers with billions of dollars in expenses. These expenses are skyrocketing but the issue isn’t being handled to the residents satisfaction. Between the years 2004 and 2008, states collectively spent $37.9 billion on road repair and expansion projects. The majority of these funds, 57% went to just 1.3% of roads during this time. The remaining 99% of states’ road networks received only 43% of funding. Not surprisingly, without adequate funding for repair many roads across the country fell out of good condition during this time.

Investing in expansion at the cost of repair doesn’t just mean a bumpier ride on some roads, it’s a transportation investment strategy that poses huge financial liabilities for states. Putting off repairs today means spending much more on those repairs in the future. Not fixing the issues now will only prolong the repairing time. During the time of debates on whether funds should go towards roads or not, the roads are gradually getting worse from the excessive traffic passing by, cars losing hubcaps because of these potholes, and overall making the holes more insufficient then there already are. Repair costs rise exponentially as road conditions decline. According to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, repairing a road that has fallen into poor condition can cost up to 14 times as much as preserving a road in good condition to begin with. Compounding these costs is the fact that with every dollar spent on road expansion, states add to a system they are already failing to adequately maintain. Understanding there is a problem with the roads of our town is the first step. Understanding taxpayers are paying for things to be done in our community rather than prolonging the issues is the second step in solving this issue.   

When faced with the task of increasing awareness for the improvement of road conditions in South Carolina, there are many solutions that can be implemented. A task force can be formed within the county government to identify and prioritize the worst roads in the county. This task force can then draw up a preliminary budget estimate for the costs of improving these roads’ conditions. Community awareness can be heightened through a fundraiser. A fundraiser for road improvement would likely draw a large crowd of county residents from a multitude of backgrounds because poor roads affect everyone equally. The funds raised through this event would be gifted to the Chamber of Commerce or Public Works department and specified as for use in the improvement of county roads. A group of volunteers from the community would also be able to raise awareness for the advocacy of a road improvement campaign that would bring attention to government officials. These volunteers could lead a phone-a-thon or letter writing campaign to let government officials know how important the road improvement campaign is to them. These options for raising awareness would almost certainly be an effective means by which to implement a solution to the poor condition of roads in South Carolina.

Leadership can be used in many different ways, in our communities especially. With the problem we proposed  road safety in Spartanburg, South Carolina and specifically the potholes. The first leadership skill that can be used is consciousness of context. In order to lead our problem, one must be aware of the road conditions. The roads are a safety hazard in Spartanburg. There are approximately  39,035 wrecks in South Carolina involving injuries (Smith). Some of these are caused by the conditions of the roads. Being aware of these conditions makes leading our problem easier. Consciousness of context also includes being aware of the problem’s background. This could include who is in charge of the roads, specifically cleaning them up. It could also include how the problems are caused, and how they can be fixed.  Leadership can also be used in fixing our problems by using our specific strengths. All of our strengths can be used for different aspects of completing our solution and bring awareness to road safety. For example, our top strengths included responsibility and significance. These two strengths are very important because if you are responsible, you are capable of getting tasks done. This is important because to make others aware of the problem in South Carolina, you must be able to achieve tasks and bring awareness to our communities to solve the problem. Significance is also important because since the problem is in our own community, it is significant to us. This strength is also important because those leaders tend to want to make a big impact, and that is exactly what we are trying to do. The most important part of leadership being used in our problem is that there needs to be a leader to be in charge of the problem. Without leadership, nothing would ever be solved. We need leaders in our communities to fix these issues.

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