The state transportation director has warned lawmakers of a huge and imminent deficit that is looming in funding for roads and bridges. But state lawmakers are unlikely to do much more than talk about it this year.

Transportation director Pete Rahn faces a 19-billion dollar deficit in transportation funding during the next twenty years, starting a year from July. He’s been warning of the shortfall for three years.

Senate transportation committee chairman Bill Stouffer of Napton doubts the legislature will recommend any kind of tax increase in this election year. But he, other lawmakers, and transportation department officials are doing a lot of talking about increased funding. They’re finding that building roads and bridges is not high in the public mind. But Stouffer says he finds strong public support when he explains to audiences what the state’s needs are and what the opportunities are.

But if lawmakers spend the session talking..not acting, who will act? Stouffer hopes special interest groups–contractors, builder, insurance companies, and others lead a petition drive to put a financing package on a special election ballot early next year.

Download Bob Priddy’s story (I:60 mp3)