AID MONDAY MAY 18, 1998 NATION THE SALINA JOURNAL, IGHWAYS rive to repair nation's roads full of potholes Congress is putting $100 jllion toward road repair, it some say it's not enough By ALAN K. OTA Congressional Quarterly I *WARRENTON, Va. — Parked at a truck stop, Rick Lane prepared for a long nap in the cab of his trailer truck just as a jrecent evening's rush on the Capital Beltway around Washington, D.C., was .reaching its peak. „ j"I don't want to get stuck in that traf- fccj" said Lane, 48, a driver for Merillat 'int., a Michigan cabinet-making compa- ri£. "I'll take my eight-hour break and 'Start my next run at midnight." • '"'bane needed a rest after a long drive, not just to dodge the Beltway bottleneck but to prepare for an obstacle course known as the Pennsylvania Turnpike. "It's in bad shape. I've got every bump memorized so I can change lanes to get ai»und them," said Lane. Heavy traffic and rough roads across thfe nation are taking their toll on truck drivers such as Lane, forcing them to adopt new tactics to survive. I Congress has promised some help: the VAIDS mammoth surface transportation bill now nearing final action in Congress would increase federal highway spending by nearly 40 percent, providing a badly needed cash infusion to states for road repairs. But experts say the legislation would only begin to reduce the nation's repair backlog. The American Society of Civil Engineers reported in March that 59 percent of the country's roadways were in poor, mediocre or fair condition. For Kansas, the society reported 71 percent of roads were in poor, mediocre or fair condition. The society pegged the cost of bringing the system into top condition at $437 billion, including $80 billion to repair the one of every three bridges in the nation that is structurally deficient. That total is about four times the $100 billion in the pending legislation expected to go to maintenance and road repairs over the next six years. And even worse, some transportation experts say, Congress has missed a golden opportunity to shift priorities and develop plans for the future. Among them: developing private highways, producing pavement that lasts a half-century and prodding research on how to better handle congestion. "The sad thing is that the only way The roads more taken Here are some facts on road wear and tear in the United States: • The nation's fleet of automobiles is expected to grow from 220 million this year to 240 million in 2000. • Nearly 9 of every 10 Americans drive to work despite decades of efforts to encourage mass transit and other alternative transportation. • Highway usage measured In vehicle miles has more than doubled since 1975; the average commuter covers one- third more territory, the equivalent of three trips from coast to coast each year, according to the Transportation Department. • Traffic congestion costs the average driver in California's San Bernardino County about $1,090 a year in lost time (measured at a rate of about $11 per hour) and fuel. In Washington, D.C., a driver pays $980. And in Atlanta, the cost amounts to $740. Congress has responded to the problems is to come up with more money," said Alan Pisarski, a transportation consultant in Virginia. "We cannot buy our way out of these problems." At the root of the problem is America's ongoing love affair with the automobile. Although transportation spending has been increasing in recent years, it has i not kept pace with the rising tide of traffic. In 1997, for example, the U.S. Depart ment of Transportation found that spending on roads, when compared with vehicle miles traveled, fell 1.4 percent each year from 1988 to!994. While the federal government struggles to pay for 156,000 miles of federal , , roads, sticker shock is hitting home for ; states and local government that must i i foot the bill for 3.8 million miles of othei?' roads. For example: ! : • In Michigan, about 50 lawsuits are j seeking $11 million in damages for neglij- gence in maintaining roads. One man became disabled after his car was hit by a i chunk of falling concrete when he drove) under an overpass. i • In Philadelphia, city officials are: scrambling to find $50 million to replace r the South Street Bridge over the |" Schuylkill River. Engineers say it is so ! worn and brittle that it could collapse \ without warning. | • In Washington, D.C., delayed repairs of city streets have occasionally forced residents to take matters into their own hands. Potholes have been filled with sand, boards, metal plates and even a used mattress. ¥accine volunteers get little in return By. MARTHA IRVINE The Associated Press CHICAGO — Dr. James Sullivan's mother grabbed the phone when she heard doctors were vol- fUriteering to be injected with a weakened strain of the AIDS virus rtoa search for a vaccine. "You will not do this," she or- •dered in a message left on her . son's answering machine. • r; He didn't volunteer for that live ; virus test. But he didn't tell her then that he was about to roll up his sleeves •for a different series of experimen- ;tai shots — ones that could contain just the protein envelope that covers the AIDS virus and a ca- •aary pox germ carrying three genes found in HIV. i, i'Tm doing this bold and wonderful thing," says the 35-year-old infectious disease specialist, who treats AIDS patients at his Chicago practice and who also has lost many friends to the disease. "The epidemic is extremely real to me," Sullivan said. "I've seen thousands and thousands of people die." Sullivan is among 40 people — all gay men or female partners of IV drug users — who volunteered for a vaccine study at Chicago's Howard Brown Health Center and the University of Illinois-Chicago. Hundreds of others are taking part in similar studies from New York to Nashville and Denver to San Francisco. Volunteers get little compensation — no more than $25 a visit — and often must make a two- to five- year commitment. 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