Rural States Need Feds to Recognize Their Unique Transportation Needs

Capitol Research brief takes a hard look at what rural states are facing when it comes to transportation.

LEXINGTON, KY — It’s been almost two years since the federal transportation bill expired and no new reauthorization has passed. Despite the federal stalemate, rural states have been looking at what needs to happen in any reauthorization to help address their long-standing transportation needs.

The Council of State Governments has released a new Capitol Research brief — called Rural Transportation Needs—that takes a hard look at what rural states are facing when it comes to transportation. While some of the needs are the same as large cities, such as ways to deal with traffic congestion and a lack of highway capacity, there are several areas of concern that are unique to more rural areas.

“Road safety is a big issue in rural areas,” said Sean Slone, CSG’s senior transportation policy analyst. “Fifty-six percent of highway deaths happen on rural roads, yet many of those roads are not eligible for federal highway funding to improve safety. That leaves local governments, who may not have the funding or the expertise about road safety improvements, to deal with the issue.

“Rural states also are dealing with a lack of public transportation, a lack of or aging railroad lines and adequately funding the development and repair of roads and bridges. CSG supports a federal reauthorization that takes into account the needs of both urban and rural areas, while providing maximum flexibility to states.”

To learn more about the transportation issues facing rural areas, read the Rural Transportation Needs Capitol Research piece ( For more information about this or any other topic, visit CSG’s Knowledge Center (

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