Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Arctic Pork: The Saga Continues

While reviewing the Highway Pork Bill( H.R. 3: Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act of 2005), Porkopolis found this interesting little reference to an increase in funding for the Alaska Highway:

Sec. 1103 Apportionments.

...(c) Alaska Highway- Section 104(b)(1)(A) of title 23, United States Code, is amended by striking $18,800,000 for each of fiscal years 1998 through 2002' and inserting $30,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2005 through 2009'.

That's a 59% increase from the amount allocated in years 1998 to 2002.

Here's the language from Section 104(b)(1)(A) of title 23, United States Code:

(A) In general.--For the National Highway System ... $18,800,000 for each of fiscal years 1998 through 2002 for the Alaska Highway...

If the 59% increase wasn't enough to concern a fiscal conservative the following will:


The Alaska Highway is 1,520 miles long two-lane highway. At $30,000,000 per year, the bill proposes to spend slightly over $19,700 per mile. Now, Alaska probably has some of the harshest weather conditions in the states resulting in high maintenance costs. This is exactly what the 'Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Annual Road Maintenance Costs' analysis from the Alaska Conservation Alliance found. However they noted the following:

The Alaska Department of Transportation estimates annual maintenance costs per lane mile as follows:

Central Region--$5,000
Northern Region--$3,500
Southeast Region--$4,400

If we take the highest estimate of $5,000 per lane mile and multiply it by 2, one gets $10,000 per two lane mile in expected annual maintenance for a two lane road.

So we have the $10,000 per two lane mile maintenance cost for the state managed roads versus the $19,700 per two lane mile specifically made available in the new Highway bill for the Alaska Highway.
Admittedly, this is a quick and dirty analysis and Porkopolis would welcome any dissenting or supportive arguments.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if someone at Lebanon ODOT might have a clue.


August 8, 2005 at 11:05 PM  

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