In this Aug. 13 photo, the cash price for gasoline is shown on a changeable sign at a gas station in Seattle. Washington state recently approved a 16-year, $16 billion transportation plan that raises fuel taxes, vehicle fees and bonding.

In this Aug. 13 photo, the cash price for gasoline is shown on a changeable sign at a gas station in Seattle. Washington state recently approved a 16-year, $16 billion transportation plan that raises fuel taxes, vehicle fees and bonding.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — While Congress remains stalled on a long-term plan for funding highways, state lawmakers and governors aren’t waiting around.

Nearly one-third of the states have approved measures this year that could collectively raise billions of dollars through higher fuel taxes, vehicle fees and bonds to repair old bridges and roads and relieve traffic congestion, according to an analysis by The Associated Press.

The surge of activity means at least half of the states – from coast to coast, in both Republican and Democratic areas – now have passed transportation funding measures since 2013.

And the movement may not be done yet.

Tennessee’s governor is in the midst of a 15-city tour highlighting the state’s transportation needs. North Carolina lawmakers are debating a road-bonding proposal. And legislators are returning to work this week in California and Michigan with transportation funding on the agenda.

“I don’t know of a state that’s not having the conversation” about raising revenue for transportation, said Iowa Transportation Director Paul Trombino III, who is vice president of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and whose home state recently raised fuel taxes by 10 cents a gallon.

The widespread focus on transportation funding comes as state officials are becoming frustrated by federal inaction in helping to repair roads and bridges described as crumbling, aging and unsafe.

About 20 percent of the nation’s 900,000 miles of interstates and major roads need resurfacing or reconstruction, according to one analysis of federal data. A quarter of the 600,000 bridges are considered structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are about to fall; it means they are showing worrisome problems or are no longer adequate for today’s traffic.

“There’s a lot of voices that say let’s push this off,” said Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, whose call for more transportation funding has been opposed by some fellow Republicans. “But the need is not going to go away. We’re going to have to do something to address this.”

In many states, the new money is going primarily toward repairing old infrastructure, though some projects – such as a new fourlane U.S. 20 across Iowa – are designed to ease congestion so that commerce can flow more freely.

Congress has yet to agree on long-term funding to supplement the states’ efforts. Instead, it recently passed its 34th short-term extension of the nation’s transportation program since 2009, ensuring only that states will continue to receive federal highway funding through Oct. 29.


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