Are millennials really to blame for the poor condition of our roads and highways, leading to thousands of motor vehicle accidents, injuries and deaths across the U.S. every year? It's not that simple, but a recent report by Standard's & Poor's, a national financial services and information company, finds that older teens and young adults are partially at fault...in a round-about way.
This blog post will explain how the report comes to that conclusion, from the persective of financing highway projects.
It's all about tax revenue
Federal and state gasoline and vehicle registration taxes are the primary source of funding for road repairs, paid primarily through the Federal Highway Trust fund. But since 1993, there has been no increase above the 18.4 cent/gallon federal gasoline tax and states like Georgia are often slow to raise state gas taxes or vehicle registration fees needed for state-funded projects.
In the eight years of records kept between 2001 and 2009, there was a 23 percent reduction in miles driven by 16 - 34 year olds. The report finds that young drivers get behind the wheel less frequently, and when they do, they are likely to take shorter trips.
Unlike their Gen X parents and Baby Boomer grandparents, millennials are more likely to move into an urban community, where public transportation is readily available. Instead of impatiently longing for the day they turn 16 to get their driver's license, many are putting it off until their 20s. And when they do buy a car, accoring to the report, it will generally be a smaller, more fuel-efficient model.
So, are millennials really to blame for disrepair of our roads and highways? Of course not. But unsafe road designs, improper construction zone signage and poor road surfaces account for a significant number of serious accidents across Georgia every year. In specific circumstances, injured drivers and passengers have a legitimate lawsuit for compensation...just not against the millennial generation.