National Geographic : 1976 Nov
We spend nearly $8 billion yearly on highway construction. "Too much," say some. "Not enough," say others. Who's right? 73% of all Americans live in metro politan areas. Normally, they drive city streets. On vacation they usually drive the interstates: new, scenic, wide-laned, landscaped. They read now and then of huge highway ap propriations. And pay gasoline taxes to fund such programs. The taxes seem high and the roads adequate. Understandably some ask, "Do we need to spend more for highways?" The other 27% must travel rural roads. 84% of all U.S. roads are rural: 3.2 million miles. Many are narrow, pot-holed, cracked, blind cornered, unshouldered. They link small towns and farms together: our food raisers. Food supplies and costs are influenced in part by these rural roads. Yet, most were built for light loads only. They cross 200,000 bridges-many deficient-and there are 39,000 railroad crossings, less than half with warning lights. Such archaic roads are wasteful-slowing the movement of supplies to farms and crops to market. And they are dangerous. No wonder rural road users are calling for improvements. What's the answer? Responsible peo ple agree we shouldn't make every country road a super highway. But, neglect of rural roads affects the ability of farmers to deliver food to market, increasing costs. America needs a transportation system that gives proper emphasis to urban and rural roads, to expressways and to mass transit. Caterpillar equipment is used to build and maintain mass transit systems, roads, and to power trucks. We be lieve in a balanced, total transporta tion system. There are no simple solutions. Only intelligent choices. Catpir.Caand dear o Cater r raor Co. Caterpillar.CatandU areTrademarks ofCaterpillarTractorCo.