Moving Montana Forward – Good Roads Day is June 15th
Through times of growth as well as uncertainty, Montana’s transportation infrastructure plays a vital role in providing access to essential services across the state. Roads to hospitals and emergency services, public transit, rest areas for weary travelers and commercial carriers and airport service in rural communities are just a few examples of how this infrastructure supports our state. Transportation is also crucial to the economic well-being and vitality of our state as a whole—providing access to shopping, dining, local attractions, outdoor recreation and public lands and facilities. Simply put, transportation connects us to each other and the things we need.
The third Tuesday in June – this year June 15th – marks Good Roads Day. This important date was designated by the Montana Legislature in 1947, whereby the people of the state are asked to contribute toward the improvement and safety of public highways (MCA 60-1-104). For MDT, building “good roads” takes time and means a continuous planning process that is underway long before ground is ever broken on a project. It can take eight years to complete a road project, but long-range planning starts some 1 to 20 years prior to project start.
As transportation needs outpace revenue 3 to 1, MDT focuses on safety and preserving and maintaining transportation infrastructure as top priorities; in other words, keeping Montana’s good roads in good order. In Montana, a driver on average contributes about $4 to $5 a week* in fuel taxes for maintaining and constructing Montana highways, while federal funds pay for about 87% of highway construction costs. This funding is not keeping pace with rising cost, aging infrastructure, and increasing demand, making it tougher to preserve and maintain Montana’s roads and bridges.
*Find more information on Montana’s transportation needs and funding in the 2020 Fact Book.