National Geographic : 1979 Jun
America's roads. Some worry they're being destroyed. Others cite record budgets and say, "Is there truly a need to spend more?" Who's right? Winter destroys roads. Heavy traffic is bad, too. We've 140 mil lion vehicles beating on road surfaces, cracking pavement, crumbling shoulders, pounding out holes. Breaking up roads essential to everyday travel, deliv ery of goods and services. No wonder jolting potholes, vehicle wear and tear, prompt some to cry, "Our roads are in ruin. We must do something." Others say, "Wait! Some prob lems are seasonal. Come spring and summer, road crews can make things right again." Our road system is not being ignored. Nearly $21 billion is spent yearly on road upgrading and mainte nance. Highly organized highway departments are well aware of needs. Dollars spent on road work have doubled in ten years. So, many conclude, "We're spending plenty for now." Both sides are partially right. Roads do wear out with time and use. And use is up 50% in ten years. We've more cars and trucks than ever. Yet available road miles have only slightly in creased. Traffic on many roads exceeds design expectations. True, highway expenditures are up. But so are dollar costs. So much so, the actual road work car ried out last year was less than in 1975, despite record spending. Consequently, highway deterio ration is outpacing upgrade and repair. It's time everyone looked closely at our road situation and considered measures to bring revenues in line with need. Caterpillar machines build and upgrade highways. Our engines power trucks. We believe good roads are essential to America's well being. There are no simple solutions. Only intelligent choices. Caterpillar Cat and are Trademarks of Caterpillar Tractor Co. Caterpillar,CatandWareTrademarksofCaterpillarTractorCo.