The Self-Inflicted Infrastructure “Crisis”

Gravel roads look a whole lot better if you're paying for them yourself.
Gravel roads look a whole lot better if you’re paying for them yourself.

by James A. Bacon

We continually hear about an “infrastructure crisis” in the United States, a malady from which Virginia has not been spared. Talk of pot-holed streets, tottering bridges and crumbling highways invariably moves to talk about the need to spend more on infrastructure, which morphs into raising taxes — never by talk about paring back infrastructure that has outlived its economic usefulness.

However, there is a growing body of commentary suggesting that the problem may not be too little infrastructure but too much — too much of the wrong kind of infrastructure in the wrong place. The drum-bangers for more infrastructure spending ignore a fundamental reality: The more infrastructure you build, the more you have to maintain. The more maintain, the more you spend on maintenance. The more you spend on maintenance, the less there is to spend on new stuff.

Writing in New Geography, John Sanphillippo focuses on the disproportionate resources devoted to paving and maintaining subdivision roads in New Jersey. Based on his description, New Jersey should rename itself from “the Garden State” to “the Asphalt State.” The New Jersey Highway Trust Fund is near bankrupt, he writes. Unless the gas tax is raised, all revenue will go exclusively to debt service. And we thought we had problems in Virginia!

Consider the dynamics in the historic Water Witch subdivision near Sandy Hook. The Home Owners Association maintains gravel subdivision roads. Writes Sanphillippo:

When people believe their property tax money entitles them to certain things they often have high expectations. They tend to have a very different attitude when they know they’re going to be writing a check directly for the level of service they ask for. This difference in who pays for the roads leads to different outcomes.

Back in the late 1980’s I was privy to HOA meeting debates where some members demanded that the roads be paved. They were tired of the ruts, mud puddles, and problems of snow removal. The dirt roads were one of the things that had kept property values depressed for decades. So a consulting engineer was brought in and explained exactly what it would cost to pave the roads. It would be many millions of dollars divided by the forty-two homes in the community. That conversation came to a halt instantly. So much for paved roads at Water Witch. The compromise was to maintain the gravel roads to a slightly higher standard with annual adjustments that were far more cost effective.

When government pays for subdivision roads — or bridges, highways or mass transit — people tend not to care about cost. After all, someone else is paying for it. When confronted with the reality of paying themselves, they have a very different attitude.

Here in Virginia, people get frustrated by traffic congestion, which costs them considerable time and inconvenience. They demand that “government” fix the problem — just don’t raise their taxes. Someone else should pay. When it comes down to forking over their own money, people display a remarkably high tolerance for congestion. If they have to pay for it, they’ll usually opt to plug in their iPod and put up with an extra ten minutes of driving.

This reality — that people always want more of something if someone else is paying for it but will settle for less if they have to pay for it themselves — suggests that we should apply an acid test to transportation projects whenever possible: Can the project be paid for with tolls or user fees? If there’s enough demand, the project should be built. If the demand isn’t there, it shouldn’t be.

Questions we should be asking ourselves: Why should the public be asked to pay to maintain non-through subdivision roads? Why should the public be asked to pay for rural roads that carry barely any traffic? What percentage of Virginia’s maintenance spending is consumed by lightly traveled subdivision roads and country roads — and how many more miles of each do we continue to build year after year? In other words, how much of our infrastructure “crisis” is entirely self-inflicted?

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22 responses to “The Self-Inflicted Infrastructure “Crisis””

  1. Tysons Engineer Avatar
    Tysons Engineer

    Because the electorate is too stupid to realize how many money’ed interests are in high up positions.

    People want to insist that McDonnell and Connaughton were simply envisioning upgrades to ports and that’s why they spent billions of tax payer dollars to move freight in non-traversed areas and lied to the public about it being congestion relief.

    Well look at the CTB boards he had. Several freight and coal representatives, not a SINGLE… let me repeat SINGLE ENGINEER or TRANSPORTATION official on the CTB for McDonnell.

    Then look at Connaughton. He was a board member in PWC, but before that he worked for damn American Petroleum Institute, who is the #2 highway construction lobbyist behind only AAA. They never seen a road that couldn’t be wider.

    It was backroom dealings people. And this wasn’t new to just McDonnell, sadly our transportation networks have become big business. On the CTB, look how many land developers and home builders there are, again NO ENGINEERS, NO TECHNICAL PEOPLE. So don’t be shocked that far out subdivisions get subsidized road construction. Its the reality, it won’t change until people care more about their community and governments and stop voting party line.

  2. of the 4 states where the DOTs do all the roads – I do not think New Jersey is one of them.

    But Jim Bacon is 100% correct about Virginia and the subdivision roads – which cost out the wazoo to build and maintain – AND snow plow and I don’t know how many people know the costs but they are smart enough to know they want a subdivision where VDOT is responsible for the streets if possible.

    the dynamics change a bit with cities and towns where they pick up the tab but do get some level of reimbursement and all taxpayers within the city/town have their property taxes go for what VDOT does not cover.

    Counties then try to get VDOT to take over private unpaved roads that were not built to anywhere near state standards…

    the bottom line is – many folks in Va – who live in a subdivision – their gas taxes primarily go to pay for their subdivision maintenance and upkeep while other Virginians who do not live in Subdivision – their gas taxes are used for publicly-used infrastructure – highways, freeways, etc.

    North Carolina, Texas and Alaska -I believe are the other 3.

    All other states – the non-state level roads – the interstates and the state-level roads are the DOT’s responsibility and the towns and counties are responsible for theirs and County Roads tend to be what Va calls secondary roads and the subdivision roads – are the responsibility of the folks in the subdivision.

    so if you think about it – subdivision roads in Va are subsidized by the gas taxes… and that, as Jim Bacon has asserted diverts that money away from infrastructure that serves everyone.

    What I don’t know – which might be interesting to find out – is just how much money is involved in VDOT maintaining (and operating) subdivision roads.

    one caveat – in the general scheme of things – the money itself does not change – what changes is what it is spent on. People who have VDOT maintain their roads – just spend their money on other stuff – like cabinets in the garage or a big screen TV.. if they had to pay for their road – they’d just be buying less TV and garages…


    1. TooManyTaxes Avatar

      At least in Fairfax County, VDOT will not accept any roads that do not meet its standards. And it will not allow its roads to be modified when standards are not met. The example is the foolish proposal to allow on street parking on Route 7 proposed by the Tysons Task Force, which was DOA, despite the efforts of some local politicians, including Gerry Connolly. And if Gerry cannot pull strings, who can?

  3. Between FY 2007 and FY2011, the maintenance budget for secondary roads decreased by 29% ($483 million to $345 million). In addition, during the same period, the construction budget declined by 65% (from $185 million to $65 million). In 2007, the secondary roads made up of approximately 48,000 center lane miles (70% of total VDOT road mileage), and 98% of the secondary roads were 2 lane or less. In 2011, only 12% of VDOT’s total budget was devoted to secondary construction and maintenance. This is all from a 2011 VDOT report and not much has changed since then. My home was built in 1984 and the secondary road was repaved for the first time in 2003. I do not think that the great transportation bill of 2013 provided that much more money for secondary road construction and maintenance.

    Yes, the secondary roads in Virginia do consume funds that could be directed toward reducing the deficiencies in interstate or primary infrastructure. But, if the secondary roads were given back to counties to maintain, how would they pay for such? Through local taxes rather than state taxes; there goes the cabinets in the garage or the big screen TV. When I lived in subdivision in Leon County, FL, the roads were maintained by the county not the homeowners.

    If you have private roads maintained by the homeowners, that creates another set of problems. In Virginia, school buses generally do not go down private roads; because private roads are sometimes built to reduced standards, some fire equipment will not go down such roads, etc.

    The genie is out of the bottle. To undo problems that were created in 1932 and compounded since then will require a whole lot of money, pain, and political will.

    I think that the infrastructure problem that should be focused on are the deficiencies in the interstate and primary road and bridges. They are of more concern to me.

    1. Boson – do you know the separate percentage of 600 series secondary vs the 1000 series subdivision roads?

  4. Blackbird Fly Avatar
    Blackbird Fly

    It’s concerning that NC and TX share our DOT coverage structure, because each of those states have nauseating sprawl. I understand that Henrico Co. budgets for its own roads, but does it receive reimbursements from VDOT based on moving lane mileage? Such formulae do nothing to disincentivize sprawl (or cause the consumer to bear the cost), but are frequently sited for foiling “road diet” initiatives for bike lanes/ped friendly infrastructure. These pay structures need to be reconsidered; I believe sprawled metros will be at a big disadvantage in the coming decades.

    1. re:” When I lived in subdivision in Leon County, FL, the roads were maintained by the county not the homeowners.”

      Au Contraire!

      re: private roads and school buses, fire, etc et al.

      How is that issue handled in the 46 states where the HOA is responsible for the subdivision road?

      re: secondary roads vs subdivision roads

      donj’t confuse the two.

      In Va 600 series is secondary – and 1000 series is subdivision.

      secondary roads in Va are usually county roads in other states. You’ll see them signed at CRxxx.

      of course, it’s not only school bus, but postal, and EMS, UPS, etc but it must work out..

      the thing is – people who pay gas taxes… those who live in apts – with private lots -none of it is used for access to their home whereas in subdivision – a great amount of the gas tax is used to maintain the subdivision road – ergo – much less available for roads that everyone uses.

      VDOT has tried to rectify this by requiring that subdivision roads “connect”, have more than one entrance.. connect to other subdivisions,etc but most folks who live in subdivisions are opposed to that. They do not want “their” roads used by folks outside of their subdivision.

      It’s a little matter of equity in terms of how gas tax money is spent… per the average payer of gas taxes verses what they do get back for their money.

      Folks who live in subdivisions maintained by VDOT also want more/better infrastructure for travel outside of the subdivision.

      Is that a reasonable expectation?

      1. TooManyTaxes Avatar

        Of course, local governments have the right to negotiate proffers that cover the added costs caused by the rezoning. The C&I tax can be used as well where commercial development occurs.

        Through citizen activism, Fairfax County adopted a plan that put 90% of the costs of intra-Tysons roads on the landowners. Besides cash and in-kind proffers, the County imposed a service district that lays an additional real estate tax on all Tysons landowners, including residents.

  5. I distinctly remember local governments approving developments only if the sales price and taxes of the houses exceeded the cost of services. Part of that equation was maintenance of the ‘aesthetic’ one way in, one way out roads inside the neighborhoods.

    Then the housing market crashed, fire saling the price of homes, but not so lowering the assessed value of those homes.

    It seems to me that instead of banging on the homeowner, the state should be hitting up the local governments who took the money and built fake sky diving facilities or subsidized Whod Foods stores instead of taking responsibility for their roads.

    1. our assessments did go down – a little as I recall but one of the “good” things about Virginia governance – is that the localities DO have to have a balanced budget and one of our Conservative BOS at a recent meeting discussing the needs of the county and potential tax increases – he made this statement that budgets are about priorities and should not be about the “need” to raise taxes for “needs”.

      and I tend to agree – 99% of the time.

      it’s about choices as stated by Mr. Bacon.

      although I do wonder sometimes – how it’s usually the govt infrastructure that is “crumbling” and not so much the private sector infrastructure.

      pipelines do break… planes do crash and shopping centers do crudify.

    2. TooManyTaxes Avatar

      I lived in Nebraska for a few years. Cities have the power of annexation, but did not use it until the tax revenues from a development exceeded the added costs.

      1. Virginia towns and cities could annex at one point then it was shut down.

        Virginia’s independent city style of governance pits counties against adjacent towns and cities – not only for commercial development – but also for highway infrastructure . Across Va whether its’ Albemarle/Charlottesville, Culpeper/Culpeper county, Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania – there are issues of competition where regional approaches, perhaps sharing revenues would be a better approach for both jurisdictions and taxpayers.

  6. Yes, I can see how funding a fake sky diving facility could be a higher priority than fixing a pothole. Priority, in government, is merely another name for slush fund.

  7. The toll road principle which Mr. Bacon refers to is spot on. People should pay for their usage. But a realistic fuel tax is a better tool than toll roads because 1) we all already pay gasoline taxes; 2) fuel tax relates specifically to ALL driving that most do, not just a handful of roads; 3) fuel tax nudges drivers towards trying other forms of transportation because there is no way around it; 4) it would be much more effective changing gasoline driven vehicles into electric, or fuel cells, or bicycles and, therefore, providing 5) more help for the environment.

    Toll roads are a meager substitution BUT if it must be tolled roads, the state of Virginia needs to build, operate and maintain them. The way Mr. Connaughton did it with all the “public private partnerships” is a scam on the taxpayers. We taxpayers end up paying MORE money for a P3 than we would if we’d have built the highway ourselves, the data illustrates, and the “privates” actually put up almost zero dollars, less on average than 5 percent, of any project. The privates claim massive federal loans and state guaranteed “private activity bonds” as private money BUT when the project goes bankrupt — as all seem to do within 15 years (before Uncle Sam even begins charging interest on the loan) — then the privates pay off the loan at pennies on the millions of dollars and leave taxpayers to pay off the bonds at exorbitant rates, an average of 14.9 percent. “Privates” make out like bandits. Taxpayers get screwed, especially the next generation of taxpayers.

    1. well, actually, the tax on fuel is one of the few things where voters actually reflect their anger at the polls and for years the GOP in Va has done well on elections by telling voters the Dems will raise the gas tax. Bob McDonnell beat Creigh Deeds for Gov making that claim.

      there are some other realities that voters are not very cognizant of when it comes to gas taxes – namely that the fuel tax only provides about 1/3 of the revenues collected in Va for transportation and it’s been that way for a while. In Va (not counting Fed money), the other 2/3 comes from sales taxes – 1/3 on new cars and one third on general sales taxes. Another pot comes from taxes on auto insurance policies (the priority transportation fund for new roads).

      so the idea that gas taxes can pay for transportation needs has not been true for a while yet the public still thinks so while the state decided some time ago that the advent of fuel efficient cars effectively doomed the pure tax on fuels as a viable and reliable source of transportation funds – for just maintenance -not new construction. read on about construction.

      In Virginia construction of new roads is funded from the Federal Gas tax but it has suffered from the same fuel efficiency dynamics and now generates only 1/2 of needed revenues – the other 1/2 comes from the General Fund and the GOP (and some Dems) in Congress strongly believe that transportation should not be funded from general revenues, only from gas taxes – and …they are loathe to raise gas taxes.

      So this is what is driving Va towards toll roads and Va does not like borrowing money to build new roads so – to this point – they prefer to have the private sector do it on their dime and owe the loan (even govt ones) – and pay it back with tolls.

      It’s tricky business as demonstrated by the failure of the Pocahontas Parkway but folks forget that Va also operates tolls on the bay-bridge tunnel as well as the Powhite Parkway and despite all the talk about going broke – the Dulles Tollroad has become a cash cow to fund Metro!

      Toll Roads don’t go “broke” in the sense that the assets are sold off and disappear into the hands of the low bidders.

      bankrupt toll roads just go on collecting tolls – it just takes longer to get a return on investment for the investors and they lose – not taxpayers.

      the road stays in operation – the tolls continue – and in the worst case – the state ends up owning the road while investors lose their investment – which is, depending on your point of view, BETTER for taxpayers. The new HOT Lanes on I-95 – actually are owned by VDOT not Transurban – who has, instead, 99 year lease rights. If Transurban goes belly up and no other investors want the leasing arrangement – we get a pretty good deal for the govt loans we have provided – a road for much less than what taxpayers had invested in it.

      Virginia, as said before, has essentially abandoned the idea that roads can be paid for solely with fuel taxes. Virginia has also decided that significant new roads – limited access roads should be paid for with tolls and that the tolls themselves might ought to be dynamic and vary with demand – yet another thing Va drivers hate with a passion so they hate tolls and doubly hate dynamic tolls!

      So I acknowledge the deep hatred of toll roads by Virginians – it’s undeniable but I ask – realistically what is a more viable path forward?

      Virginians will vote out of office those that support gas tax increases. The question is – will they also vote out of office those who supported legislation to allow VDOT to negotiate with companies like Transurban to build toll roads?

      Call me a killjoy but is there really any way for voters to tie their elected to a particular toll road that he/she supported? Somewhere back a few years ago enough of the GA supported PPTA legislation for VDOT to have the private sector build toll roads – and how many of any of us – can now name the legislators who voted for it?

      I think the legislators took the path of least resistance – and least accountability!

      So we have folks like Jim Bacon running around trying to affix blame for the US 460 snafu – and the focus of his ire is NOT on the Virginia legislators who set up the PPTA vehicle that then got abused!

      I will admit – it’s this kind of thing that frustrates the hell out of voters these days where they totally dislike something – yet there seems no way to get at the guys who voted it…….

      Finally – I largely do not buy the “crumbling infrastructure” narrative. While it’s true we have old stuff and some of it functionally obsolete, VDOT actually does get to the dangerous things and fixes them OR it will close a bridge if they have to. I think the “crumbling infrastructure” thing comes from folks who benefit from building infrastructure! Companies who make money and provide jobs ! surprise! surprise!

      so i issue a challenge to all – for the place where you live – come up with one or more examples of “crumbling infrastructure” that – and this is important – can no longer be used or is unsafe to use and has been closed , etc – something along these lines.

      Tell me where, in Va – a city or town has told its citizens that they can no longer provide water and sewer because their infrastructure has “crumbled”.

      Ditto for Colleges or Courthouses or fire stations or schools…

      where is that list of public infrastructure that has been totally shut down and abandoned because we could not afford to fix it’s “crumbling”?

      Call me … heh heh. a Crumbling Infrastructure “skeptic”… 😉

  8. larryg – as far as VDOT is concerned, there is no difference in their accounting system between secondary roads and subdivision roads. They may have different numbers, but the money they spend on them comes from the same pot. That is one of the reasons why the Fairfax County Parkway was reclassified recently so that more money could be spent on it.

    State law requires that money for maintenance of all roads comes off the top before construction. After interstate and primary roads, few if any dollars were left for secondary maintenance.

    Yes, getting buses, fire trucks and postal vehicle to go down privately maintained secondary roads could be worked out, but I was referring to the situation as it is now.

    Yes, homeowners may objected to the connectivity requirements, but it only applied to new subdivisions. It was the homebuilding industry who pressured the McDonnell Administration to have the barely enacted rules changed. I was there through every step of the process.

    So I was dreaming when I saw a Leon County crew filling the potholes in my subdivision in Florida?

    1. Hey Bosun – thanks.

      let me mention a couple other things.

      usually in our neck of the woods – secondary roads get plowed before subdivision roads..

      and secondary roads typically get a different kind of asphalt layer than many subdivision roads; ours for the last few years gets tar and gravel whereas the secondary road that our subdivision connects to gets regular asphalt.

      the secondary road is 11 or 12 feet (per lane) whereas the subdivision road is a couple of feet narrower…

      so it sort of seems there might be some distinctions… as to standards…

      we also have rural rustic roads which are definitely down a notch from a 600 series road ….especially on drainage and ditching..

      you had some good stats on total miles of road in Va verses how many of that total are 600 and 1000 series but you don’t have separate numbers for 600 vs 1000?

  9. larry g – I got the data from a GMU School of Public Policy Research Paper #2011-17 titled Policy Options for Secondary Road Construction and Management in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

    It states: “VDOT’s secondary system is a very mixed bag of functional classes, including urban functions and rural functions, arterial functions (i.e., serving interregional and interstate travel, collector functions (serving largely intracounty and shorter distance travel), and local (providing access to land and businesses).”

    Table 2 in the report shows Secondary System Mileage by Surface Width. Table 3 shows 2007 secondary mileage by Federal, not VDOT, functional classification which does not help answer your 600 vs. 1000 question. If you have time, poking around the VDOT site might uncover a report that shows 600 vs. 1000 mileage.

    One interesting note in the report is that “…between 1998 and 2007 [the latter date just before the peak of the housing boom], VDOT accepted an additional 1,454 miles (center lane or lane-miles?) [secondary] into its system, an increase of 3%.”

    1. I strongly suspect in Virginia a large percent of “new” roads are subdivision roads which, in turn, represent a large percentage of existing “secondary roads”.

      there is an important distinction between secondary and subdivision roads because subdivision roads are basically local access (often deadended) to private property not truly public infrastructure intended for transport grid economic activity and commerce.

      The purpose of National, Regional and State wide , even some secondary roads is to provide for the movement of people, goods and services engaged in commerce and that’s the way that most State level Transportation Agencies are largely organized – at least in the vast majority of states (46). Their mission is NOT “local access” to private property and even local commerce traffic is local responsibility not state.

      I also find political philosophies with respect to the free market and private sector to be strangely mute on the subject of publicly-funded roads both in terms of scope and scale and what justifies the govt to be the responsible party when we have conservative type decrying the broad-scope involvement of government, money and regulations in some things but not public roads.

      In states with local responsibility – once the state roads do their jobs – it’s up the the locality to provide local access to business and residential and it’s possible to own land that is not served by a public road and any roadway within is your responsibility.

      In those states – County Roads are maintained with taxpayer dollars and mostly private HOA subdivision roads – maintained by the property owners.

      In Virginia – we changed those consequential distinctions when the State took over county and local roads in the thirties and it’s had a significant effect when it comes to making land-use decisions – actually undermining the intent of “planning” land-use and transportation.

      Localities (beyond cities/towns/Henrico/Arlington) do not consider it their responsibility if they approve land-use decisions that have significant impacts to the State level roads. From VDOT’s perspective these are not “planned” changes that they had the opportunity to – prepare for in their budget -and that’s why much of VDOT’s work – reflected in the 6yr plans are, instead, reactions to local land use decisions that have impacted transportation infrastructure.

      So you’d have a state-level road – like US 29 – in Charlottesville – AND Lynchburg – both of which started out as roads intended to convey people across the state and THROUGH those cities – then being used as commercial business venues – AND access to local residential – AND – when the road degrades over time – the transportation allocations that could have been used to enhance transportation – are, instead, used to try to remediate the damage and that includes the building of million/billion dollar bypasses where that money could have been spent to further expand and enhance the existing infrastructure including pedestrian and bike facilities.

      So basically “planning” in Virginia – does not mean coordinating transportation infrastructure and land use. VDOT’s basic mission beyond maintenance and operations is to REACT to land-use decisions by localities.

      Very few of the projects that VDOT proposes are truly to upgrade the state level network – US 460 is a example of where they have tried to do that but the I-95 HOT Lanes are clearly a reaction to ever increasing volumes of commuter traffic – on a road that was intended to allow people to move up and down the East Coast.

      It’s now so bad that many will not even make a trip or if they do – they try to avoid rush hour.. altering their own plans and schedules to do so – the “trip” becomes the principal driver of their schedule.

      People who live in subdivisions and who pay about 150 a year in gas taxes – much of that money goes to maintain their own subdivision road rather than state or even 600 series secondary roads – so it’s no wonder that VDOT gets billions every year and yet it never seems to be enough and their funding now includes sales taxes on new cars and general sales.

      Here’s my view.

      There are significant and relevant facts associated with transportation planning and funding in Va – that is not widely recognized by average citizens.

      So they have formed their own opinions on limited data – and even some of that data is not fact but myth and conspiracy beliefs.

      State Legislators and VDOT know this but they have chosen to not make transportation more transparent to citizens .. in part because I suspect that
      even much of the GA is not well informed either and in my view – the local BOS are not well informed either.

      The vast majority do not know, for instance, from one year to the next – how much money will be allocated to each project in the 6yr plan. As a result two projects in the same 6yr plan may be on totally different completion schedules where one might be on track to be done in a few years and the other one might sit for a decade or more .. or sometimes , never get fully funded and engineering and right-of-way – wasted.

      How this process “works” apparently is known to only a handful of people deep in the bowels of VDOT who know the finances – which can and do vary from projected… when the price of fuel varies or the economy itself fluctuates since VDOT basically pays as it goes.. if money falls short, projects are short-funded .. if money beats predictions – some projects accelerated or new ones funded.

      so what the doda does any of this have to do with “crumbling infrastructure”?

      Well – PLENTY – because in the current world which questions the legitimacy and efficacy of govt in the affairs of commerce – no one seems to complain that the crumbling infrastructure problem is the fault of bad/corrupt/illegitimate govt much less advocate the govt get out of that business.

      public health care – no can do – public schools – why not Private? – public roads – well that’ s as American as Apple Pie!

  10. shaunalex Avatar

    The main difference in 600 series numbers and 1000 series numbers is their age.
    Route numbers are assigned as they are built and accepted by VDOT. Fairfax County is well into the 10,000 series now. Loudoun is in the 3000s. Most of the new roads nowadays are subdivision roads built by developers to be cared for by the state for infinity.

    1. could be.. I see some 700 and 800’s also but I know of few, if any, subdivision roads that are 600 series.

      and most of Virginia’s Primary Roads are in the 100,200 300? series so I’m not sure what the 10,000 is about.. but don’t disbelieve it..

      can’t find a whole lot of documentation that explains this

      1. shaunalex Avatar

        Fairfax is in the 10,000s since all the lower route numbers are in use. That shows how many subdivision routes the state didn’t build but has to maintain forever. Any readers in Fairfax, look for the small white rectangle route marker below the street name signs on subdivision roads. Newer roads will be in the 10,000s.

        9000s are usually for public school roads. Primary are less than 600.

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