The Great American Road Trip has been a part of Americana for over a hundred years. On the eastern seaboard, you can drive through numerous states in a day. Out here in the West, where wide open space is king, it’s a different story. In Idaho, roads are a lifeline that connects our vast state north to south and east to west.

There are over 39,000 miles of maintained roads in the state of Idaho. Nearly 34,000 of those road miles are built and maintained by highway districts, counties and cities. Thanks to the hard work of these governmental entities dedicated to maintaining and improving Idaho roads, we are able to drive to grandma’s house in a timely and safe manner. They also increase recreational access.

Don’t forget about the economy. Local roads provide reliable infrastructure to connect supply chains from field to factory. These roads also increase opportunities for access to employment, education and healthcare.

Delaying road maintenance becomes a more expensive proposition the longer it is deferred. Rising oil and road material prices and rising wages make maintenance increasingly expensive.

Even more important, ongoing road maintenance is vital for the safety of all road users from motorcyclists to truck drivers. When funding is insufficient, maintenance has to be postponed. This puts lives at risk and can lead to tragedy for families. It can also lead to an additional burden on hospitals and first response teams.

Roads are critical for the safe movement of people and products. The next time you hop in your automobile, give a silent thank you to the local decisionmakers who work to provide Idahoans with safe corridors to aid you in reaching your destination.