New study identifies ways to build more wildlife crossings
Wildlife crossings work. We just need more of them. In states where wildlife overpasses and underpasses have been built over busy highways and roads, there has been a significant drop in vehicle-wildlife collisions with the additional benefit of mending key migration pathways to ensure healthy wildlife populations for the future. A new Pew-commissioned study, “Revenue Options for Wildlife Crossings,” which was conducted by ECONorthwest, examines “potential revenue mechanisms” that states can use to “leverage hundreds of millions of dollars in federal matching grants” to construct “new wildlife crossings over the long term,” according to a press release.
This is great news because wildlife crossings are expensive even though they have a strong return-on-investment. They also require a steady stream of funding for the duration as it can take months if not years to complete the projects. While there are federal funding streams, they can be hard to secure and incredibly competitive. Not only that, once a state obtains one of these streams, they’re required to match the federal dollars. Instead of going the federal route, the new study looks at other potential funding options. These include motor fuel taxes, vehicle registration fees, speeding ticket surcharges, heavy-vehicle use taxes and auto insurance collision surcharges, which would ensure a steady funding stream for this type of long-term project.
Infrastructure changes like these crossings benefit both motorists and wildlife. They allow wildlife to adapt to the ever-changing ecosystems and maintain key pathways for future survival.