Solution needed for rural road crisis

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 14, 2006

The crisis facing county governments throughout Alabama as regards to the condition of rural roadways is very real.

Counties receive $4,700 per mile in state gasoline tax revenue, while the state transportation department is allocated almost $17,000 per mile in gasoline tax revenue per lane mile.

We asked Gov. Bob Riley about the condition of Alabama's rural highways and what the state could do to possibly help counties with road upkeep. Riley indicated that possible privatization of roads combined with construction of toll roads would be beneficial to state coffers and the citizens of Alabama. However, Riley's answer did little to address the immediate problem of the numerous &#8220death trap” highways located in the rural parts of the state. Would the money and savings generated by these toll and privatized state roads find its way into county budgets? Or would state legislatures and even the governor find another use for such funding?

331 people were killed in traffic accidents on county-maintained roads in 2005. Undoubtedly, some of these accidents were due to alcohol consumption. Undoubtedly, some were due to carelessness. More than half of those killed, though, died when their vehicle left the road surface.

Alabama's rural highways are old, degenerate and receive a deplorable amount of funding.

It's time someone provided a solution to this problem before the crosses on the side of the rural roads begin to outnumber the vehicles on them.