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Two-thirds of roads need repair, feds say

– More than two-thirds of U.S. roadways are in need of repair and the poor condition of the nation's transportation network results in billions in extra costs, according to a White House report.

The report was released Monday in conjunction with President Barack Obama's campaign to pressure Congress to reach a deal to replenish the Highway Trust Fund.

The fund, supplied by fuel taxes, is heading toward insolvency as early as next month, jeopardizing jobs and projects during the peak construction season.

Crumbling roads and bridges cut into economic growth, by increasing transportation costs and delaying shipments, according to the report.

“A well-performing transportation network keeps jobs in America, allows businesses to expand, and lowers prices on household goods to American families,” said a 27-page report by the Council of Economic Advisers and National Economic Council.

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are among the states with the most roads rated in poor condition, according to the White House.

Twenty-three percent of New York's 114,592 miles of roadway are in listed in poor condition and 35 percent or public roads in New Jersey are rated that way, according to the White House report. In Connecticut, 41 percent of 21,414 miles of public roads are rated poor.

The other states with similar proportions of poor roads are Delaware, Rhode Island, Maryland, Michigan, Wisconsin, California and Washington.

Obama is scheduled to speak tonight at a highway research center in McLean, Virginia, that tests technology to make road and bridge building more efficient.

Later in the week, the president will travel to Delaware to announce a new way to increase private sector investment in transportation projects, the White House said in a statement.

States should expect the federal government to begin slowing payments as early as Aug. 1 to help stretch out funding for road, bridge and transit projects, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has said.

Construction delays threaten 112,000 transportation projects and about 700,000 construction jobs, Vice President Joe Biden told business leaders at the White House last week.

“The moment is dire,” according to Foxx. The trust fund “is quickly running toward insolvency.”

Current transportation funding law will expire Sept. 30.

The House and Senate are preparing legislation to shore up transportation funding on a short-term basis through May 2015, and lawmakers said votes may come as soon as tomorrow.

The House and Senate proposals both generate almost $11 billion, according to Congress's Joint Committee on Taxation. They include increased customs fees, changes to pensions that lower companies' short-term contributions, and revenue from a leaking underground storage tank fund.

The Democratic-led Senate version, though, contains other tax provisions that may be obstacles in the Republican-controlled House.

Lawmakers haven't acted on Obama's proposed a four-year, $302 billion plan, where about half the funding would come from an increase in the federal excise tax on motor fuels and the rest from revenue obtained by closing tax breaks for corporations, including taxing overseas earnings.

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