Florida Road Funding Crisis

If you can make it into Rafael Marte's convenience store, consider yourself lucky. Potholes and traffic jams can make the ride over quite the challenge, and with less money for road construction, it may only get worse.

That's why Florida transportation advocates want the state to ask entrepreneurs like Rafael to volunteer a few bucks to keep the asphalt pouring.

"The road has to be fixed with the taxes that we pay for it," Rafael said. "Then there's no need for the business owner to chip in to fix the road. This is the government's job to do it."

In the midst of a down economy, they've become all too common along Florida's roads, panhandlers in need of a buck. Only now, it's not just struggling Floridians, but your struggling government, asking for money.

Asking businesses to pay for improving their local roads is only part of a new drive to find money from private sources. A bill in Washington would allow the state to expand I4 by building a toll lane.

Transportation lobbyist Doug Callaway calls it innovation in desperate times.

"I think we ought to be advocates for all of the above in terms of transportation funding. Conventional means, tolling, public-private partnerships, anything that's legal and ethical that will help fill the bill for the demand that the public in Florida has."

But in a down economy, the private sector may not have the money to spare.

Just ask Rafael, who says he wants more common sense from his government.

"You're spending money in places that you don't need to spend the money!"

In the end, pumping private money into public roads could either speed things up or make for one bumpy ride.

Transportation advocates say countries like Australia have been using public and private money to pay for their roads for decades, and believe that model would also work in Florida.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Doug Location: Dothan on Jul 29, 2011 at 02:18 PM
    Well said "Debby". They say they want "smaller government" but what they really mean is: take from someone else and leave me alone!
  • by Debby Location: Panama City, FL on Jul 29, 2011 at 08:01 AM
    I can't wait until Washington starts slashing its budget and then all those losers who say they want a smaller government have to start paying for those services for it at the state level and they don't have the funds because of how expensive it is to build and maintain roads. It's a lot easier when those costs are borne out by everyone on a national level because everyone's paying a share for the roads they use and the cost on each taxpayer is less.
  • by rodsmith on Jul 28, 2011 at 10:15 PM
    i think the first thing they need to do is require the installing company to maintain the rodway they place for a set number of years! the current practice has the road starting to fall apart before the last member of the installation crew can leave! then it wouldn't cost so much to maintain!
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