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Local governments excel at pinpointing road trouble

Hank Silverberg, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – Before you can build a road or fix a bridge, state governments have to know how to get the best bang for their buck. A new report says this region is doing well at making that assessment.

Virginia and Maryland get high marks on how well transportation money is spent, while D.C. falls a bit behind in monitoring progress.

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The report from the Pew Center On The States and the Rockefeller Foundation says both states get a “Leading The Way” ranking because they do well in measuring safety, construction-related jobs creation, mobility, access, the environment and preserving existing roads and bridges. 11 other states got a similar ranking.

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Ron Kirby, Director of Transportation planning at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments says the rankings are good news, but there is still a shortage of money. “That doesn’t mean the system is necessarily performing well, or they have the resources they need to get performance up to a level that we’d like to see it,” Kirby says.

He says the focus on performance is intended to shine the spotlight on the lack for funds and to make a case for more money.

Virginia just allocated $4 billion – most of it through borrowing – for roads and rail, the largest single allocation for transportation in two decades.

Maryland is $800 million short on transportation needs according to a recent state commission report.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All rights reserved.)