THE NEED FOR INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING
In 1997, a loaf of bread, on average, cost $1.17. Today, that same loaf of bread costs, on average, $2.25 (a 192% increase!). Or, to use another comparison, in 1997 a movie ticket cost $4.50 whereas today it costs $9.25 (a 205% increase!). So, why on earth am I talking about bread and movies in an asphalt industry newsletter? Well, 1997 also happens to be the last year in which the motor fuel tax was increased in Utah! That amount, 24.5¢, has remained the same for over fifteen years! Needless to say, the world has changed a lot since then and so has the ability of the motor fuel tax to cover and fund the infrastructure needs in our state. Couple this information with the projection that Utah’s population is set to double over the course of the next twenty years, and you can see that we have a real challenge on our hands.
So what can you do? While there is no silver bullet that will solve all of our funding woes in the state, let me offer a few small suggestions to help build awareness and cause action on this monumental issue:
· Use UAPA to become educated on this and other issues facing our industry
o UAPA is part of a thirty-five-member family of similar state associations from across the entire United States. Together with the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA), we are likely to have the answers you need
· Find out who your representatives are at the state legislature and let them know that this issue is important to you and to your livelihood
o Getting connected today is easier than ever before and your representatives want to hear from you – go to le.utah.gov
· Tell others about need for investment in one Utah’s best assets – our roads!
o The need for funding hits all of our roads from local surface streets in need of repairs to major highways such as I-15 – we all travel our roads and we want them to be the best in the country!
Now, more than ever, we need true leadership on this issue. Together, we can make our voices heard by doing the small and simple things mentioned above. We have a great opportunity here in the next few weeks to let our legislature know this is an important issue for us. I hope you will take advantage of that opportunity.
-W. Reed Ryan
The Utah Asphalt Pavement Association