The expenditure for highways is one of growing importance. The development of motor transportation has caused an increased demand for good roads. This item occupies a more important place in city and state expenditure than in that of the Federal government, although the expenditure here is not inconsiderable. The per capita expenditure for highways is much larger in cities than in the other divisions. In the future, however, we may expect this item to occupy a position of greater importance in the Federal and state expenditure accounts because of the number of roads to be built with the aid of these governments.
The importance of good roads cannot be minimized in commercial and industrial development. The public should be on the alert, however, and see that funds are not wasted in road construction. Contracts have sometimes been let, through which the construction company received a certain per cent of the cost as compensation for services. Such contracts do not command efficient services, nor the purchase of materials in the best markets, and the payment from the public purse is likely to be much greater than the service given in return warrants.