The Road to Ruin: Potholes Are Costing Drivers $66 Billion a Year
Business + Economy

The Road to Ruin: Potholes Are Costing Drivers $66 Billion a Year

REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach

Anyone who has spent any time in a car recently knows that America’s roads are a mess.

And anyone who follow politics knows why: Repairing those creaking bridges and crumbling roads requires a lot of money: The Federal Highway Administration estimates that it would require $170 billion a year to significantly improve the country’s roads.

SLIDESHOW: The 10 States With The Worst Roads

Congress was deadlocked for much of the summer on highway spending and at the end of July passed an emergency extension -- for the 34th time -- to keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent for the next three months. 

That fund gets most of its money from the gas tax, which hasn’t been adjusted for inflation since 1993. Nearly 40 percent of major highways don’t generate enough fuel taxes to cover their maintenance costs, according to an analysis earlier this year by the Center for American Progress.

SLIDESHOW: These are the States Where Poor Road Conditions Cost Drivers the Most

Meanwhile, the price tag for repairs is growing. The longer a pothole or crevice goes unrepaired, the most expensive it is to fix. The costs are hitting consumers as well as the government, although it’s worse in some states than others. The U.S. Department of Transportation released data in July showing just how many roads are in poor or mediocre condition. (Click here to see the 10 states with the worst roads.)

The data describes the condition of the roads and bridges, and also calculates the additional operating costs that motorists face due to lousy infrastructure. Those costs include repairs to damage to vehicles from deteriorating roads and the imposition of additional miles traveled due to congested or unusable roads, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. The total cost to American motorists is a staggering $66 billion a year.

Click through to see which states cost drivers the most.