National Geographic : 1976 Sep
Both true statements. Both consider costs, but from different viewpoints. Which costs more: updating? Or not? Modernizing all our rural roads would be a staggering job. 3.2 million miles are involved: 84% of all U.S. roads. Most were built over 40 years ago for Model A cars and light farm trucks. 30 MPH speeds. Many have lanes less than 12 feet wide. They cross 200,000 bridges, many obso lete; go over 38,000 railroad cross ings, less than half with warning lights. Cost to upgrade these roads? The government says $108 billion! Many people honestly question such an expenditure. Yet, rural roads-cracked, pot holed, blind-cornered - must carry our farm crops to market. And sup plies to farms: fertilizers, feeds, fuels, pesticides, machinery. Bad rural roads increase food costs by increas ing transportation costs. They waste time, fuel; take lives. About 25,000 in 1975. Fatal accident rates are higher on rural roads. What to do? We can't make every road a superhighway. But we can't deny the benefits good roads bring to cities and farms. If America's farm production is to expand, rural trans portation must keep pace. We should give rural road improvement the pri ority it deserves. Caterpillar equipment is used to build and maintain roads and to power trucks. We believe good roads are essential to an efficient, total trans portation system. There are no simple solutions. Only intelligent choices. Caterpillar. Catand0 areTrademarks ofCaterpillar TractorCo.