Master of Public Administration
Department or Program
LaShonda M. Stewart
Many government bodies have raised concerns regarding preservation of existing public roadway systems, which are simply not designed for that level and intensity of usage, from roadway degradation due to the impact of fracking-related truck traffic. This acceleration in roadway consumption imposes both immediate and long-term cost burdens on taxpayers, creates unfunded liabilities for the wide range of levels of government (jurisdictions) responsible for maintaining the roadways (from township to federal), and manifests a financial need that is not easily funded by traditional fee mechanisms.
This paper’s purpose is to provide a critical assessment of the literature regarding the public costs of fracking-related roadway damage beyond what a given road system would sustain under normal traffic conditions, which would assist in accurate monetization of the roadway damage for assessment and predictive purposes. Utilizing the theoretical frameworks of prior published research studies and reports examined, relevant independent variables and their associated hypotheses are elucidated.
Fracking will continue to strain jurisdictional resources at all levels of government until accountability measures in the form of comprehensive infrastructure financing mechanisms are in place. This current research recommends the best practice approach to maintaining a community’s infrastructure during fracking while removing taxpayers from the equation is an industry-funded proactive armoring of the roadways. Resources at all levels of government will continue to be strained until accountability measures that require comprehensive infrastructure upgrades, prior to the inception of energy development, are put in place to hand full responsibility to the industry that plans on subjecting roadways to predictable undue heavy truck traffic weights and volumes.