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DAUGAARD: High-class highways important to economy

Gov. Dennis Daugaard

Being governor means frequent travel, and in the weeks since the legislative session ended, I've been doing a lot of driving around South Dakota. Spending this time on the road made me appreciate our good state highways in South Dakota -- something that's easy to take for granted.

Maintaining a high-class highway transportation system is vitally important to our state's economy. Whether it's a farmer shipping corn, a business looking to expand here or a family traveling across the country to visit South Dakota, the quality of our roads matters to everyone.

Fortunately, our state highway revenues have been strong in recent years. This, combined with the federal highway funding we receive each year, has allowed us to maintain the overall condition of our state highway pavements and bridges at or near historically high levels. Since I took office, our pavement conditions have steadily improved. Today, more than 90 percent of our state highway pavements are currently in good or excellent condition.

While we should be grateful for the condition of our highways, we know that the work on our roads is never finished. To keep our roads in good shape requires constant maintenance and upkeep.

Though the Department of Transportation and our partners in the highway construction industry play the integral roles, South Dakotans also have a part in maintaining our roads. We all need to pay attention, follow speed limits, drive a safe distance behind others and have patience. In this way, we can make highway workers' jobs a lot easier and, more importantly, ensure the safety of the workers, our passengers and ourselves.

I'm thankful for the work state employees and construction workers put into our roads. Let's all do our part to keep highway workers safe this construction season.