WYDOT Director John Cox testified before a U.S. Senate Committee in Washington Thursday about the importance of maintaining the interstate highway system.

Highways through rural states serve as a bridge, he told the Committee on Environment and Public Works, between heavily populated areas. Most of the trucks on the interstate in Wyoming are just passing through.

"What we call I-80 in Wyoming is the thousand pound gorilla. The fact is that if federal funding remains flat for the next 25 years I-80 would take all of the federal funding that Wyoming receives to preserve it in its present condition, without adding bridges, without adding off ramps and on ramps, without any notion of capacity addition or anything like that."

Cox pointed out that state lawmakers in Wyoming are actively addressing the question of highway maintenance as well.

"There are multiple studies going on during the interim between sessions this year. The argument over whether or not the need exists has ceased, now its an argument over where the money will come from."

On the viability of a vehicle-miles-traveled fee to help fund highway construction and maintenance, Cox pointed out that Wyoming motorists drive an average of about 17,000 miles a year, the highest in the nation, making a fee  based on miles  driven unfair to Wyoming and other similar rural states.