TRIP Reports: Michigan’s Economic Recovery Could Be Jeopardized By Transportation System Challenges, Including Deteriorated Roads & Bridges, Needed Safety Improvements And A Lack Of Transportation Funding

TRIPMichigan’s transportation system faces mounting challenges in the form of deteriorated roads and bridges, a lack of adequate safety features, highway bottlenecks and an inability to fund projects needed to support economic development opportunities in the state. Increased investment in transportation improvements at the local, state and federal levels could improve road and bridge conditions, boost safety, increase roadway efficiency and support long-term economic growth in Michigan, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization.

The TRIP report, Michigan’s Top Transportation Challenges: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility,” finds that pavement conditions are projected to deteriorate significantly over the next decade under current transportation funding levels. And while the state has made progress in reducing the share of deficient bridges in recent years, the share of deficient bridges is expected to increase in the coming years due to a lack of funding. Failure to make needed improvements to Michigan’s transportation system could threaten the state’s economic recovery.

The percentage of Michigan’s major roads that are in poor condition increased significantly in recent years, from 23 percent in 2006 to 38 percent in 2014. By 2025, the share of major roads in poor condition is projected to increase to 53 percent. Driving on rough roads costs Michigan motorists a total of $4.8 billion each year in the form of extra vehicle operating costs, an average of $686 annually per motorist. These costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

Michigan has made progress in recent years in reducing the share of bridges that are structurally deficient.

However, under current funding levels, the share of structurally deficient bridges is expected to increase. The percentage of structurally deficient bridges decreased from 16 percent in 2006 to 12 percent in 2014. By 2023, the share of structurally deficient bridges is projected to increase to 14 percent. Bridges that are structurally deficient have significant deterioration of the bridge deck, superstructure or substructure. Sixteen percent of Michigan’s bridges are functionally obsolete, an increase from 2006, when 12 percent were functionally obsolete. Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet modern design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.

“Michigan drivers have a unique opportunity to address our deficient roads and bridges in a few weeks,” said Denise Donohue, director of the County Road Association of Michigan. “Proposal 1 will add $1.2 billion to road funding, and it will be constitutionally dedicated to roads. We won’t fully recover from our current band-aid approach to roads for several years, but passing Proposal 1 puts us on the right path.”

Traffic crashes in Michigan claimed the lives of 4,587 people between 2009 and 2013, an average of 917 fatalities each year. And Michigan’s rural non-Interstate roads have significantly higher rates of fatal crashes, with a traffic fatality rate of 1.76 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel, nearly two-and-a-half times the

0.75 fatality rate on all other roads and highways in the state.

Michigan’s economic recovery is threatened by increased road and bridge deterioration, freight bottlenecks and the lack of needed transportation improvements to serve economic development. The efficiency and condition of Michigan’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Annually, $520 billion in goods are shipped throughout Michigan, mostly by truck. The amount of freight, measured by weight, shipped annually throughout Michigan is expected to increase by 25 percent from 2015 to 2030, putting further stress on the state’s roads, highways and bridges.

The efficiency of freight delivery and personal travel in Michigan is being compromised by six significant highway bottlenecks. Relieving congestion at these bottlenecks will require significant investment to improve traffic flow at these locations. The top six highway bottlenecks in Michigan include the following: I-94 at I-75 and I-75 at I-696 in the Detroit area; I-96 at US 131 in the Grand Rapids area; I-69 at I-96 and I-96 at US 127 in the Lansing area; and I-94 at I-69 in the Port Huron area.

The Federal Highway Administration estimates that each dollar spent on road, highway and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 in the form of reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffic flow.

“Michigan’s road and bridge conditions are only going to get worse if greater funding is not made available at the local, state and federal levels,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Michigan has made tremendous strides to recover from a devastating economic downturn, but the deteriorating condition of the state’s roads and bridges threatens the state’s future economic growth.”

MICHIGAN’S TOP TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGES

Providing a Transportation System to Support and Sustain Michigan’s Economic Revival

Executive Summary 

As Michigan continues to recover from a devastating economic downturn, the condition, efficiency and safety of the state’s transportation system is likely to play a critical role in determining the extent and pace of the state’s re-emergence as a region with a strong economy and a desirable quality of life.

Since unemployment and population loss crested in 2010, Michigan has experienced steady economic and employment growth and seen its population stabilize and begin to grow modestly. But the state’s economic recovery is threatened by Michigan’s inability to address its transportation challenges. These challenges include deteriorating roads, highways and bridges, a lack of adequate traffic safety features, a lack of transportation facilities to support economic growth and quality of life, and a lack of adequate financial resources to address the state’s transportation challenges.

For Michiganders to enjoy an enhanced quality of life while the state sustains and accelerates economic recovery, Michigan will need to maintain and improve the condition of its roads, highways and bridges. Making needed improvements to the state’s transportation system will enhance its ability to provide efficient, safe and reliable mobility for residents, visitors and businesses.

Meeting Michigan’s need to modernize and maintain its transportation system will require a significant boost in local, state and federal funding.

TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGE: Deteriorated Pavement Conditions

The condition of locally and state-maintained roads and highways are deteriorating and are forecast to worsen significantly under current levels of funding. Repairing roads and highways while they are in good or fair condition greatly reduces long-term preservation costs because of the high cost of repairing roads in poor condition.

  • A report by the Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council (MTAMC) found that the percentage of Michigan’s major roads in poor condition has increased from 23 percent in 2006 to 38 percent in
  • 45 percent of Michigan’s major roads were rated in fair condition and the remaining 17 percent were rated in good condition in
  • Michigan’s major roads and highways (all arterial and collector routes) account for 37 percent of all lane miles of roadways in the state and carry 90 percent of all vehicle miles of travel in the
  • Under current funding, the MTAMC found that the percentage of major roads in Michigan in poor condition will increase to 53 percent by
  • Keeping roads in good condition by performing minor maintenance is far more cost- effective than waiting until roads are in fair or poor condition when it becomes far more costly to make needed.
  • Roads in good condition can be maintained by preventive maintenance, which costs approximately $85,000 per lane mile. Roads in mediocre or fair condition require resurfacing, which costs approximately $575,000 per lane mile. Roads in poor condition require reconstruction to repair the surface and the base under the road, which costs approximately $1,625,000 per mile – 19 times greater than the cost of preventive maintenance.
  • A Fall 2014 poll of local Michigan governments conducted by the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan found that a majority (52 percent) of the state’s local governments are only able to keep up with short-term road fixes such as filling potholes, as opposed to practicing long-term and more cost-effective preventive maintenance.
  • Driving on rough roads costs all Michigan motorists a total of $4.8 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs (VOC), an average of $686 annually per motorist. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire

TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGE: Progress in Reducing Share of Deficient Bridges Threatened

Michigan has made progress in reducing its share of bridges that are rated structurally deficient, but under current funding levels, the share of Michigan’s locally and state- maintained bridges that are structurally deficient is expected to increase.

  • Twelve percent of Michigan’s locally and state-maintained bridges were rated structurally deficient in 2014. A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, superstructure or substructure. A structurally deficient bridge may be posted for lower weight, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks and emergency services vehicles, or it may need to be
  • Sixteen percent of Michigan’s locally and state-maintained bridges are functionally obsolete. Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet current highway design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor.
  • In 2006, 16 percent of Michigan’s bridges were rated structurally deficient and twelve percent were rated functionally.
  • Under current funding, the share of Michigan’s bridges rated structurally deficient is expected to increase to 14 percent by

TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGE: Improving Roadway Safety

Improving safety features on Michigan’s roads and highways would likely result in a decrease in traffic fatalities and serious crashes. It is estimated that roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of all fatal and serious traffic crashes.

  • Between 2009 and 2013 a total of 4,587 people were killed in traffic crashes in Michigan, an average of 917 fatalities per
  •  Michigan’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.00 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2013 is slightly lower than the national traffic fatality rate of 09.
  • Michigan’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.00 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2013 is slightly lower than the national traffic fatality rate of 09.
  • The fatality rate on Michigan’s rural non-Interstate roads was 1.76 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2013, nearly two-and-a-half times higher than the 75 fatality rate on all other roads and highways in the state.
  • Roadway features that impact safety include the number of lanes, lane widths, lighting, lane markings, rumble strips, shoulders, guard rails, other shielding devices, median barriers and intersection design. The cost of serious crashes includes lost productivity, lost earnings, medical costs and emergency
  • Several factors are associated with vehicle crashes that result in fatalities, including driver behavior, vehicle characteristics and roadway features. TRIP estimates that roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of fatal traffic
  • Where appropriate, highway improvements can reduce traffic fatalities and crashes while improving traffic flow to help relieve congestion. Such improvements include removing or shielding obstacles; adding or improving medians; improved lighting; adding rumble strips, wider lanes, wider and paved shoulders; and better road markings and traffic signals.
  • Investments in rural traffic safety have been found to result in significant reductions in serious traffic crashes. A 2012 report by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) found that improvements completed recently by the Texas Department of Transportation that widened lanes, improved shoulders and made other safety improvements on 1,159 miles of rural state roadways resulted in 133 fewer fatalities on these roads in the first three years after the improvements were completed (as compared to the three years prior). TTI estimates that the improvements on these roads are likely to save 880 lives over the next 20 years

TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGE: Economic Recovery Threatened by Deteriorated Roads and Bridges, Freight Bottlenecks and lack of Modernized Highway and Transit Facilities

The efficiency of Michigan’s transportation system is critical to the recovery and health of the state’s economy. The state’s economic recovery is threatened by increased deterioration of Michigan’s roads and bridges and the lack of needed transportation improvements to serve economic development.

  • Michigan’s three largest economic sectors – manufacturing, agriculture and tourism – are highly reliant on an efficient and well-maintained transportation
  • More than half of Michigan local governments (58 percent) said that poor roads in their jurisdictions had a negative impact on economic development, in response to a 2014 Fifty-one percent said that poor roads had a negative impact on the fiscal health of local governments.
  • Michigan’s population increased by approximately eight percent between 1990 and 2005, from approximately 9.3 million to 10.1 million, before experiencing a slight decline through 2010 when the state’s population declined to approximately 9.9 (9.877) million people as a result of Michigan’s severe economic
  • Michigan’s population has achieved modest growth as the state’s economy has The state’s population rose from 9.877 million in 2010 to 9.909 million in 2014.
  • Michigan’s economy faltered during the latter half of the 2000s. Employment peaked at approximately 4.7 million jobs in 2005 resulting in an unemployment rate of 7.1 percent, before dropping to approximately 4.2 million jobs and an unemployment rate of 9 percent in 2010.
  • By January 2015, Michigan had added approximately 300,000 jobs, reaching approximately 4.5 million jobs, and the state’s unemployment rate dropped to 9 percent.
  • Annually, $520 billion in goods are shipped throughout Michigan, mostly by Seventy-eight percent of the goods shipped annually throughout Michigan are carried by trucks, another 21 percent are carried by rail, and the remaining freight shipped by water and air.
  • The amount of freight, measured by weight, shipped annually throughout Michigan is expected to increase by 25 percent from 2015 to 2030, putting further stress on Michigan’s roads, highways and
New international bridge crossing between Detroit and Windsor.
Improved intermodal truck-rail terminal and facilities in Southeast Michigan.
Modernizing and repairing portions of I-94 and I-75 in the Detroit area.
Improvements to Willow Run Airport in the Detroit area.
New rail tunnel between Detroit and Windsor to accommodate modern rail cars.
New intermodal rail/bus transit facilities in Troy/Birmingham, Grand Rapids, Dearborn, East Lansing, Ann Arbor and Detroit.
Completion of the M-1 Streetcar along Woodward Avenue in Detroit.
Construction of a second bus rapid transit line in the Grand Rapids area and a bus rapid Transit line in the Lansing area.
Improve and enhance public transit along the Woodward Avenue corridor from the Detroit riverfront to the city of Pontiac.
Improve and enhance public transit from northeast of Ann Arbor to south of Ann Arbor, connecting the campuses of the University of Michigan, downtown, the medical center, the train station and commercial areas.
  • The efficiency of freight delivery and personal travel in Michigan is being compromised by six significant highway bottlenecks, which are rated among the nation’s worst 250 highway bottlenecks. Relieving congestion at these bottlenecks will require significant investment to improve traffic flow at these
  • The American Transportation Research Institute reports that the top six highway bottlenecks in Michigan on highways that are critical to the nation’s freight delivery system are: I-94 at I-75 and I-75 at I-696 in the Detroit area; I-96 at US-131 in the Grand Rapids area; I-69 at I-96 and I-96 at US-127 in the Lansing area; and I-94 at I-69 in the Port Huron
  • Highway accessibility was ranked the number two site selection factor behind only the availability of skilled labor in a 2013 survey of corporate executives by Area Development magazine.
  • A number of critical transportation improvements that will improve the efficiency of Michigan’s transportation system are underway or are in the planning process. However, most of these projects will need significant additional funding to be completed. These projects include:
  • Because of a lack of adequate resources, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) plans to focus almost exclusively on preserving its current system rather than making any improvements to the system to support economic development
  • From 2015 to 2019, MDOT plans to spend an average of $671 million on road, highway and bridge repairs and only $4 million annually on expanding the capacity of the

TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGE: Inadequate Transportation Funding

Without a significant boost in transportation funding at the local, state and federal level, the condition of Michigan’s roads, highways and bridges will decline. This lack of funding will reduce economic productivity in the state and many projects needed to support economic growth and to support quality of life in Michigan will not move forward. New research indicates that the cost of making needed road, highway, and bridge improvements is far less than the potential loss in state economic activity caused by a lack of adequate road, highway and bridge preservation.

  • Upgrading all of Michigan’s major roads currently in poor or fair condition to good condition would cost $14.1
  • Seventy-nine percent of local Michigan governments said they would need a 50 percent increase in state funding for local roads just to maintain their roads in their current condition. And more than half (56 percent) said that state funding for local roads would need to more than double to allow them to improve the condition of their roads, in response to a 2014 poll.
  • The Federal Highway Administration estimates that each dollar spent on road, highway and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 in the form of reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs, and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffi
  • Signed into law in July 2012, MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act), has improved several procedures that in the past had delayed projects, MAP-21 does not address long-term funding challenges facing the federal surface transportation program.
  • In July 2014, Congress approved the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014, an eight-month extension of the federal surface transportation program, on which states rely for road, highway, bridge and transit funding. The program, initially set to expire on September 30, 2014, will now run through May 31, 2015. In addition to extending the current authorization of the highway and public transportation programs, the legislation will transfer nearly $11 billion into the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) to preserve existing levels of highway and public transportation investment through the end of May.
  • If Congress decides to provide additional revenues into the federal Highway Trust Fund in tandem with authorizing a new federal surface transportation program, a number of technically feasible revenue options have been identified by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).
  • A significant boost in investment on the nation’s roads, highways, bridges and public transit systems is needed to improve their condition and to meet the nation’s transportation needs, concluded a new report from AASHTO. The 2015 AASHTO Transportation Bottom Line Report found that annual investment in the nation’s roads, highways and bridges needs to increase from $88 billion to $120 billion and from $17 billion to $43 billion in the nation’s public transit systems, to improve conditions and meet the nation’s mobilit

A 2014 report by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) concluded that allowing the state’s major roads, highways and bridges to deteriorate would result in significant reduction in job growth and reduced state gross domestic product (GDP) as a result of reduced economic efficiency.

  • The ODOT report used a sophisticated model that integrates transportation, land use and economic activity to compare how an economy operates when a transportation system is well-maintained versus when it is allowed to deteriorate. The report found that deteriorated pavements, which result in a rougher and slower ride for vehicles, and deteriorated bridges, which need to be closed to heavy trucks, reduce economic productivity by increasing transportation
  • The report found that allowing roads and bridges to deteriorate reduces business productivity by increasing vehicle operating costs as a result of driving on rough roads, reducing travel speeds and increasing travel times because of route detours necessitated by weight-restricted
  •  As road and bridge conditions deteriorate, transportation agencies are likely to shift resources from preservation projects, which extend the service life of roads and bridges, to more reactive maintenance projects, which results in higher lifecycle costs, the report found. Transportation agencies are also likely to respond to increased road and bridge deterioration by shifting funds from modernization projects, which relieve congestion and increase business productivity, to maintenance
  • As road and bridge conditions deteriorate, transportation agencies are likely to shift resources from preservation projects, which extend the service life of roads and bridges, to more reactive maintenance projects, which results in higher lifecycle costs, the report found. Transportation agencies are also likely to respond to increased road and bridge deterioration by shifting funds from modernization projects, which relieve congestion and increase business productivity, to maintenance
  • The ODOT report estimated that the road, highway and bridge deterioration anticipated over the next 20 years will result in Oregon creating 100,000 fewer jobs and generating $9.4 billion less in state GDP.
  • Oregon could avoid losing 100,000 jobs and $9.4 billion in GDP through 2035 by spending an additional $810 million more on road, highway and bridge repairs – nearly a 12-to-1 return on investment, according to the ODOT

Sources of information for this report include the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the U.S. Census Bureau, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), the Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council, the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, the American Transportation Research Institute and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). All data used in the report is the latest available.

 

 

 

Bridge to Sustainable Infrastructure Act

On April 16, 2014 the following statement from Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) President Dennis Slater regarding the introduction of the Bridge to Sustainable Infrastructure Act  in Congress:

AEM congratulates Congressmen Jim Renacci, Bill Pascrell, Reid Ribble and Dan Lipinski for putting forth a substantive and politically courageous proposal to fix the Highway Trust Fund. Their legislation deserves serious consideration in the Ways and Means Committee.

While the proposal is not perfect, it is a serious effort to give certainty to America’s transportation infrastructure and impose accountability on Congress to force lawmakers to develop a long-term solution to make the Highway Trust Fund solvent.

This is a bipartisan effort to end the stalemate on Capitol Hill over highway spending. Because Congress has been unable to generate a sustainable stream of revenue to make up for the annual shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund, America’s infrastructure has been chronically underfunded. The proposed Bridge to Sustainable Infrastructure Act seeks to break the cycle of patchwork efforts to short up the trust fund a few months at a time.

In essence, this legislation would force Congress to act. It would make the Highway Trust Fund solvent in the short-run and bring together a bipartisan group of leaders in Congress to figure out a way to finance America’s surface transportation for the future. And if those efforts fail, this plan provides a path forward to ensure the Highway Trust Fund is made whole in the future

DEWALT Introduces New Mechanic Tool Set and Stackable Case System

Product Report Mechanic Tool Set

I don’t know about you but I really hate it when I pick up my tool set, open it and find that I have it “This Side Up,” down and all the sockets, extensions, ratchets come spilling out rolling across the floor or in the dirt.

Well, DEWALT recently introduced a new Mechanic Tool Sets and Mechanic Accessory Tool Sets for professionals.

SONY DSCDEWALT has re-designed the contents of these sets, from ratchets, to sockets, to extenders, and more, for high performance and convenience. And when you open a case the stuff is where it’s supposed to be.

Guaranteed Tough®, the new DEWALT® Mechanics Tool Sets offer a full lifetime warranty including hassle free replacement with next day delivery.

“We are so confident in the performance of each piece of the new Mechanics Tool Sets that we are offering a 24-hour replacement program,” said Rob Ronan, Senior Product Manager. “Where competing set manufacturers promise replacement with proof of purchase at a store, requiring traveling to and from a retail outlet, DEWALT will ship replacement parts direct without proof of purchase for next day delivery if customers call 800-4-DEWALT or go online to the DEWALT customer service website before 3 p.m.”

The new Mechanics Tool Set includes a 168 piece set – model DWMT73803, 142 piece set – model DWMT73802 and 108 piece set – model DWMT73801. The new sets come in durable blow molded, high-quality plastic cases with metal latches that can take a beating while providing protection and organized storage.

The new 72-Tooth Ratchet is ideal for high torque ratcheting and offers 3X longer life cycle versus standard ratchets on average. The 72 teeth allow for slight tightening or loosening in cramped spaces where it is difficult to back up the ratchet. The Ratchet’s 5 degree arc swing and slim head design offer maneuverability in constricted areas

Offering one-hand operation, the new Ratchet features a contoured, ergonomically designed handle with anti-slip grooves for comfort and control. It is made from premium chrome vanadium steel for strength and SONY DSCdurability.

The Ratchet easily connects and disconnects to an extensive range of sockets. Sockets and other pieces in the sets feature knurled rings that help reduce slippage for hand tightening applications. Sockets also features laser etched markings for quick and easy identification.

The 168 piece and 142 piece Mechanic Tool Sets also include new Combination Wrenches with a long-panel forged design for longer reach and leverage. A new Anti-Slip design delivers 400 percent more gripping power by locking the wrench onto the nuts and bolts to help prevent slippage and provide extra torque. The Anti-Slip Design features raised ridges and indented grooves in the mouth of the wrench to provide added grip for grasping nuts and bolts. The Combination Wrenches also features a 15 degree box end offset for knuckle clearance.

A high-end vinyl Grip Bit Driver is included in the sets. This durable driver is designed to reduce slipping and provides maximum comfort.

Unique to mechanic sets are the DEWALT® Removable Accessory Cases of MAXFIT™ screwdriving tips, sleeves, and extenders. The cases can be removed from the set and SONY DSCbrought to the specific application. DEWALT’s MAXFIT™ Screwdriving Bits are made of shock-resistant steel, and feature a precision-milled top for ideal fit in screw heads. Designed for use with the Magnetic Screw Lock™ System, the MAXFIT™ bits allow for a fastener retention solution with every size and type of bit.

Individual pieces of the new DEWALT® Mechanic Tool Sets are also sold separately, totaling more than 450 skus to meet a range of demanding tasks required by mechanics and construction trades.

Stackable Sets With Job-Specific Tools

DEWALT® introduced new Mechanics Accessory Tool Sets in new durable cases. These sets slide into the individual trays that clip together as part of the new DEWALT® ToughSONY DSC Lock Stacking System for secure transport and quick grab and go convenience of hand tools and accessories.

Build your own tool platform for the task at hand with DEWALT’s new Guaranteed Tough® line of Mechanics Tools, including newly designed sockets, ratchets, drivers, wrenches, and more with new and innovative features that give mechanics the edge in on-the-job performance.

For many jobs you don’t need to bring along an entire set of mechanics tools. With the Stackable Sets program you can build your own tool platform, ideal for your specific job, and bring along only the tools you need – in a convenient durable carrying case or set of cases locked together.

The Stackable cases feature durable shatter-resistant transparent lids so it is easy to see inside the case. The cases also feature an injection molded tray which can be removed and stored in DEWALT® roller boxes or DEWALT® Metal Storage chests.

For more information, visit www.dewalt.com

TRIP Reports on Texas’ Most Critical Highway Projects to Support Economic Growth and Quality of Life

TRIPTRIP’s New Report Identifies Top 100 Highway Improvements Needed To Support Economic Growth And Quality Of Life In Texas, Including Projects To Address Deteriorated And Congested Roadways, Deficient Bridges, And Needed Safety Improvements

Transportation improvements are needed to address deficient, crowded or congested roads, highways and bridges in Texas that threaten to stifle the state’s economic growth and development. This is according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation research organization.

The report, Texas’ Most Critical Highway Projects to Support Economic Growth and Quality of Life,” identifies the 100 highway improvements most needed to support economic growth and quality of life in Texas, ranked in order as determined by TRIP. These improvements include projects to build, expand or modernize highways or bridges throughout the state in order to accommodate projected job growth and population increases. Making these needed transportation improvements would enhance Texas’ economic development, support a high quality of life, and accommodate projected future growth in population and economic activity. Texas led the nation in job creation in each of the last five years, and the state is expected to add 3.5 million residents in the next 20 years. Completion of these projects would increase mobility and freight movement, ease congestion, improve safety, and ensure Texas remains an attractive place to live, visit and do business. A lack of adequate transportation funding is the constraining factor in developing and delivering these needed improvements.

The TRIP report identifies the most needed improvements in Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Houston, San Antonio and other locations in Texas. The 10 most needed transportation improvements to support economic growth in areas outside the state’s four largest urban areas are detailed below. Additional information about each project can be found in the report.

TRIP TX 1TRIP identified and evaluated each project based on the following criteria: short-term economic benefits, including job creation; the level of improvement in the condition of the transportation facility, including safety improvements; the degree of improvement in access and mobility; and, the long-term improvement provided in regional or state economic performance and competitiveness.

“Proposition 1 was a clear message from Texas voters that they believe funding our highways is a very high priority,” said Brandon Janes, Chairman of Transportation Advocates of Texas. “We are seeing community leaders across the state urging members of the Legislature to take the next step in addressing the state’s highway funding shortfall.  Our member organizations believe a significant part of the solution will be for lawmakers to approval a reliable, constitutionally dedicated funding mechanism like SJR 5 or HJR 13.  Either approach will provide more than $2.5 billion a year in sustained funding and will keep our state from falling further behind on congestion, connectivity, safety and deteriorating roadways.”

According to the TRIP report, 15 percent of Texas’ major roads are in poor condition, while 41 percent are in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 44 percent are in good condition.

Texas’ overall traffic fatality rate of 1.38 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2013 is significantly higher than the national traffic fatality rate of 1.09. The fatality rate on Texas’ rural non-Interstate roads was 2.48 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2013, nearly two-and-a-half times higher than the 1.04 fatality rate on all other roads and highways in the state.

Enhancing critical segments of Texas’ transportation system will boost the state’s economy in the short-term by creating jobs in construction and related fields. In the long-term these improvements will enhance economic competitiveness and improve quality of life for the state’s residents and visitors by reducing travel delays and transportation costs, improving access and mobility, improving safety, and stimulating sustained job growth. Sustaining Texas’ long-term economic growth and maintaining the state’s quality of life will require increased investment in expanding the capacity of the state’s transportation system, which will enhance business productivity and support short- and long-term job creation in the state.

“Investing in Texas’ transportation system and addressing these challenges by improving the condition and efficiency of the state’s roads, highways and bridges will be an effective step in boosting the state’s economy, enhancing quality of life and accommodating future growth,” said Will Wilkins, executive director of TRIP.

Texas’ Most Critical Highway

Projects to Support Economic Growth and

Quality of Life

 Executive Summary

         Texas’ transportation system has played a significant role in the state’s development, providing mobility and access for residents, visitors, businesses and industry. The state’s roads, highways and bridges remain the backbone of the Lone Star State’s economy. Texas’ transportation system also provides for a high quality of life and makes the state a desirable place to live, work and visit. The condition and quality of its transportation system will play a critical role in Texas’ ability to continue to recover from the recession, capitalize on its economic advantages and meet the mobility demands of the 21st Century.

To foster and sustain the state’s economic growth and accommodate future increases in population and economic expansion, Texas must proceed with numerous projects to improve key roads, bridges and public transit systems. Enhancing critical segments of Texas’ transportation system will boost the state’s economy in the short-term by creating jobs in construction and related fields. In the long-term these improvements will enhance economic competitiveness and improve the quality of life for the state’s residents and visitors by reducing travel delays and transportation costs, improving access and mobility, improving safety, and stimulating sustained job growth.

In this report, TRIP examines recent transportation and economic trends in Texas and provides information on the transportation projects in the state that are most needed to support economic growth. Sources of data include the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the U.S. Census Bureau. All data used in the report is the latest available 

TRIP has identified the highway projects that are most needed to support Texas’ economic growth. These projects are located throughout the state and include projects to build, modernize and expand highways or bridges, as well as improvements and capacity expansion to the state’s rail and public transit systems.

  • The most needed Texas transportation improvements would enhance economic development opportunities throughout the state by increasing mobility and freight movement, easing congestion, and making Texas an attractive place to live, visit and do business.
  • TRIP identified and evaluated each project based on the following criteria: short-term economic benefits, including job creation; the level of improvement in the condition of the transportation facility, including safety improvements; the degree of improvement in access and mobility; and, the long-term improvement provided in regional or state economic performance and competitiveness.
  • The most needed highway projects to support economic development, ranked in order as determined by TRIP, have been broken down geographically and are listed below. Information on the following projects may change as they are subject to revisions as part of an ongoing review process.

AUSTIN

  1. Reconstruct and expand a portion of I-35 in Travis County. This $1.9 billion project would reconstruct and expand approximately 27 miles of I-35 in Travis County, from SH 45N to SH 45SE. Expanding this critical portion of the region’s transportation system, which currently has six lanes, would improve mobility and safety along this corridor and would have a high impact on supporting economic development in the region.
  1. Reconstruct and expand a portion of I-35 in Hays County. This $1.5 billion project would reconstruct and expand approximately 24 miles of I-35 in Hays County, from SH 45S to Posey Rd. Expanding this critical portion of the region’s transportation system, which currently has six lanes, would improve mobility and safety along this corridor and would have a high impact on supporting economic development in the region.
  1. Reconstruct and expand a portion of I-35 in Williamson County. This $815 million project would reconstruct and expand approximately 17 miles of I-35 in Williamson County, from SH 130 to SH 45N. Expanding this critical portion of the region’s transportation system, which currently has six lanes, would improve mobility and safety along this corridor and would have a high impact on supporting economic development in the region.
  1. Build overpasses on a portion of SH 71 in Bastrop and Travis Counties. This $102 million project would build overpasses to eliminate all signalized intersections along a 15-mile portion of SH 71 in Bastrop and Travis Counties. This improvement would improve safety and mobility on this corridor and enhance regional economic development.
  1. Extend the US 290 Manor Expressway in Elgin and Austin Counties from Manor to Elgin.   This $540 million project would extend the US 290 Manor Expressway from Manor to Elgin, which would improve mobility and safety along this corridor and enhance regional economic development.
  1. Reconstruct and expand a portion of Loop 1 South in Austin. This $290 million project would reconstruct and expand approximately eight miles of Loop 1 South in Austin from south of Cesar Chavez Street to Slaughter Lane. This project would improve mobility and safety along this corridor and enhance regional economic development.
  1. Reconstruct and expand a portion of the US 183 South Bergstrom Expressway in Austin. This $680 million project would reconstruct and expand approximately eight miles of the US 183 South Bergstrom Expressway in Austin from south US 290 East to SH 71, which would improve mobility and safety along this corridor and enhance regional economic development.
  1. Reconstruct and expand the Oakhill “Y”/US 290/SH 71 in Austin. This $648 million project would reconstruct and expand approximately four miles of the Oakhill “Y”/US 290/SH 71 in Austin from Loop 1 to FM 1826, which would improve mobility and safety along this corridor and enhance regional economic development.
  1. Construct a new highway along the SH 45 SW corridor in Austin. This $100 million project would construct 3.6 miles of highway along the SH 45 SW corridor in Austin from Loop 1 to FM 1626, which would improve connectivity to the region’s highway system and improve regional mobility and safety.
  1. Make operational improvements to a portion of Loop 360 in Austin. This $500 million project would make various operational improvements to a 14-mile portion of Loop 360 in Austin from US 183 to Ben White Boulevard, which would improve mobility and safety along this corridor and enhance regional economic development.

DALLAS-FORT WORTH

  1. Rebuild and widen the I-30/US 80 East Corridor. This $2 billion project would rebuild and widen a 29 mile portion of I-30/US 80 East from I-30 (downtown) and US 80, to Bass Pro Drive. This improvement would revitalize downtown Fair Park and improve mobility for the East Corridor while supporting the economic vitality of East Dallas.
  1. Rebuild and widen US 75 from I-635 to SH 121 (Sam Rayburn Tollway). This $2.5 billion project would rebuild and widen 18 miles of US 75 from I-635 to SH 121 (Sam Rayburn Tollway). This major corridor serves Dallas, Richardson, Plano, Allen and McKinley while connecting with several other major corridors and serving major employment centers in Richardson’s information corridor.
  1. Reconstruct and widen I-35E from north of I-635 to US 380. This $3.4 billion project would widen 29 miles of I-35E from north of I-635 to US. Completion of this project would provide congestion relief and safety improvements while enhancing mobility and spurring economic development.
  1. Rebuild and widen I-635 LBJ Freeway East from I-30 to east of US 75. This $1.3 billion project would rebuild and widen I-635 LBJ Freeway East from I-30 to east of US 75 in order to accommodate anticipated regional growth along the LBJ corridor. This project would provide for improved connections for the cities of Dallas, Mesquite and Garland, in addition to other communities that access LBJ via other routes.
  1. Reconstruct and expand I-35E Pegasus from north of Oak Lawn Avenue to the I-35E/SH 183 split. This $755 million project would reconstruct and widen three miles of I-35E from north of Oak Lawn Avenue to the I-35E/SH 183 split. This project would relieve congestion north of downtown Dallas while enhancing mobility and economic development opportunities. 
  1. Widen the I-35E/US 67 Southern Gateway. This $2 billion project would widen 18 miles of I-35E/US 67 from 8th Street/I-35E to I-20/FM 1382. The Southern Gateway project provides improved access in southwestern Dallas County while adding capacity to the roadway system, improving safety, and enhancing reliability for residents traveling in this corridor.
  1. Rebuild and widen Loop 12/I-35E from SP 408 to I-635. This $1.2 billion project would rebuild and widen 13 miles of Loop 12/I-35E from SP 408 to I-635. This project would provide congestion relief and safety improvements while enhancing economic development.
  1. Construction of the Trinity Parkway from I-35E to I-45/US 175. This $1.8 billion project would construct the eight-mile Trinity Parkway from I-35E to I-45/US 175. This project would provide a much-needed bypass around downtown Dallas while relieving traffic on I-35E and providing access to the Trinity River and additional activities planned for the area.
  1. Expand SH 183/SH 114. This $3.3 billion project would expand 20 miles of SH 183 in Dallas and Tarrant Counties to include eight general purpose lanes. Currently, this corridor has limited capacity and an outdated design. This project would enhance mobility and promote economic development in the DFW Airport area, as well as in the cities of Irving and Dallas.
  1. Widen a portion of the North Tarrant Express. This $800 million project would widen 1.2 miles of the North Tarrant Express from I-30 to Northside Drive, while adding connections to downtown. This interchange has an outdated design and is heavily congested. This project would improve safety and reliability while relieving congestion and improving access into downtown.
  1. Rebuild and widen the I-20/I-820/US 287 Interchange. This $1.1 billion project would rebuild and widen the I-20/I-820/US 287 Interchange. The current interchange, which serves several major corridors, has an outdated design and limited capacity. This project would improve safety, reliability and travel times for residents traveling in this corridor.
  1. Construct a highway on Loop 9 from I-20 to US 67. This $2.2 billion project would build a new highway on Loop 9 from I-20 to US 67. This corridor comprises one of the segments of the proposed DFW Regional Outer Loop System. This project is needed to address population growth, transportation demand, system linkages and connectivity among existing roadways. It will improve mobility in the area and promote economic vitality in the region.
  1. Reconstruct portions of I-30 Pegasus/Canyon. This $600 million project would reconstruct I-30 Pegasus/Canyon from I-35E to I-45. Completion of this project would relieve congestion south of downtown Dallas while improving mobility and enhancing economic development.
  1. Construct five collector-distributor roads and reconstruct frontage roads on I-35E from I-30 to north of Oak Lawn Avenue. This $650 million project would construct five collector-distributor roads and reconstruct the frontage roads on I-35E from I-30 to north of Oak Lawn Avenue. This project will reduce vehicle weaving from the freeway to the connector-distributor lanes, while supporting the economic vitality of downtown Dallas.
  1. Rehabilitate an overhead portion of I-345 from I-30 to Woodwall Rodgers Freeway. This $185 million project would rehabilitate an overhead portion of I-345 from I-30 to Woodwall Rodgers Freeway. This project will extend the service life of this facility for many years. The route is a main connector between South Dallas and North Dallas and also provides connection to downtown Dallas.

HOUSTON

  1. Reconstruct and expand I-45 from US 59 to BW 8N. This $6.7 billion project would reconstruct and expand 15 miles of I-45 from US 59 to BW 8N, including US 59 and SH 288 in downtown. This project would relieve congestion, improve air quality, increase safety and provide economic vitality for the region.
  1. Reconstruct and widen I-69 SW from I-610 to BW 8. This $1.25 billion project would widen 7.5 miles of I-69 from the Houston Galleria area/Bellaire area at I-610 southwest to BW 8. This project will support air quality improvements and provide congestion relief in the Galleria/Bellaire area, while supporting regional connectivity and stimulating development near the Houston Galleria and the surrounding area.
  1. Construct four express lanes on I-610 from US 59 to I-10W. This $250 million project would construct four express lanes on approximately five miles of I-610 from US 59 to I-10W. This corridor has been identified as one of the most congested in the state. This project will support air quality improvement and provide congestion relief, while stimulating further economic development near the Houston Galleria and the surrounding area.
  1. Reconstruct and widen I-10 East from I-610 to SP 330. This $523 million project would reconstruct and widen more than 26 miles of I-10 East from the northeastern portion of downtown Houston at US 59 to the Beaumont District Line. I-10 is one of the Houston area’s Hurricane Evacuation Routes. This project would stimulate economic growth, support air quality improvements, provide congestion relief in eastern Harris County and enhance regional connectivity by continuing the widening of I-10.
  1. Construct four toll lanes on SH 99 from US 59 N to SH 146. This $1.3 billion project would construct four new toll lanes on SH 99 from US 59 N to SH 146. This project would provide congestion relief, air quality improvements, increased safety and enhanced economic vitality for the region.
  1. Reconstruct and expand SH 288 from US 59 to SH 99. This $1.3 billion project would reconstruct and expand 25 miles of SH 288 from US 59 to SH 99. This project would relieve congestion, improve air quality, increase safety and promote economic vitality in the area.
  1. Reconstruct and expand I-45 from NASA 1 to 61st This $1 billion project would reconstruct and expand 25 miles of I-45 from NASA 1 to 61st Street. This project would relieve congestion, improve air quality, increase safety and promote economic vitality in the area.
  1. Reconstruct and expand I-10 from SH 6 to FM 359. This $360 million project would reconstruct and expand 13 miles of I-10 from SH 6 to FM 359. This project would relieve congestion, improve air quality, increase safety and promote economic vitality in the area.
  1. Reconstruct I-10 to add additional lanes from FM 359 to the Brazos River. This $150 million project would reconstruct I-10 to add one main lane in each direction from FM 359 to the Brazos River. This project would relieve congestion, improve air quality, increase safety and promote economic vitality in the area.
  1. Add a dedicated bus lane on I-610 from Post Oak Boulevard to I-10W. This $55 million project would add a dedicated bus lane on I-610 from Post Oak Boulevard to I-10W. This section of I-610, near the Houston Galleria, has been identified as the most congested in the state. This project will support air quality improvement and provide congestion relief and an alternative mode of transportation in the Houston Galleria area.
  1. Reconstruct I-610 connectors and mainline bridge at US 59. This $160 million project would reconstruct the I-610 connectors and the mainline bridge at US 59. This project would relieve congestion, improve air quality, increase safety and promote economic vitality in the area.
  1. Construct four toll lanes and frontage roads on SH 99 from SH 288 to I-45S. This $580 million project would construct four toll lanes and frontage roads on SH 99 from SH 288 to I-45S. This project will continue the Grand Parkway loop around the greater Houston area and connect SH 288 in Brazoria County near Iowa Colony to I-45 in Galveston County near Dickinson. This project will stimulate economic development on this southeastern portion of the Grand Parkway loop and support regional connectivity and additional capacity for mobility in Brazoria and Galveston Counties. 
  1. Construct four toll lanes with frontage roads on SH 99 from US 59S to SH 288. This $626 million project would continue the Grand Parkway loop around the greater Houston area and connect SH 288 in Brazoria County near Iowa Colony to US 59 in Fort Bend County. This project will stimulate economic development on this southwestern portion of the Grand Parkway loop.
  1. Construct toll lanes and frontage roads on SH 249 from Brown Road to FM 1774. This $515 million project would add six toll lanes with two three-lane frontage roads in Harris County, and construct four toll lanes in Montgomery and Grimes Counties. This project provides a connection from the Houston area to the Bryan/College Station area and Texas A&M University. It will relieve congestion, support air quality improvement and stimulate additional economic development in the areas between Houston and Bryan/College Station.
  1. Reconstruct and expand US 290 from SH 99 to FM 2920. This $133 million project would reconstruct and expand approximately 10 miles of US 290 from SH 99 to FM 2920. This project would relieve congestion, improve air quality, increase safety and promote economic vitality in the area.

SAN ANTONIO

  1. Expand I-35 to add four lanes and interchange improvements at US 90, I-10 and I-37. This $900 million project would expand I-35 from US 90 to I-410 to add four lanes and interchange improvements at US 90, I-10 and I-37. This project would provide congestion relief to this important trade and commuter corridor while improving mobility and trip reliability and supporting economic development.
  1. Expand I-35N to add four lanes and interchange improvements. This $1.6 billion project would expand I-35N from I-410 to New Braunfels, to include adding four lanes and interchange improvements at I-410S, I-410N, Wurzbach Parkway and Loop 1604. This project would provide congestion relief to this important trade and commuter corridor while improving mobility and trip reliability and supporting economic development.
  1. Expand Loop 1604 to add lanes and interchange improvements. This $1.1 billion project would expand 35 miles of Loop 1604 from IS 90 to I-35, to add four lanes and interchange improvements at US 90, SH 151, I-10 and I-35. This project would provide congestion relief, improve mobility and support economic development.
  1. Expand I-10W to add two lanes from BS 87 to FM 3351. This $390 million project would expand nearly 13 miles of I-10W from BS 87 to FM 3351 to provide congestion relief, safety enhancements, mobility and economic development opportunities. The northwest area between San Antonio and Boerne/Kendall County is experiencing fast-paced growth causing peak-hour traffic congestion. Many of the current segments of frontage roads are two-way operation, creating safety concerns with increased traffic.
  1. Expand Bandera Road to four lanes from I-410 to Loop 1604. This $330 million project would expand six miles of Bandera Road to four lanes from I-410 to Loop 1604. This congested corridor serves as an important commuter route between SL 1604 and I-410. This project would improve mobility and trip reliability while supporting economic development.
  1. Expand Loop 337 to four lanes from I-35 N to I-35 South. This $160 million project would expand eight miles of Loop 337 to four lanes from I-35 N to I-35 S. It would support economic development and provide long-term congestion relief for this important connection between SH 46 and I-35, while relieving local congestion in the New Braunfels area.
  1. Expand I-35 South to add two lanes from FM 117 to US 90. This $2.1 billion project would expand 68 miles of I-35 South to add two lanes from the LaSalle/ Frio County line to US 90. This important trade corridor experiences increasing truck traffic and mounting peak hour congestion, and has two-way frontage roads that present safety concerns with additional traffic. This project will provide improved safety, mobility and reliability while enhancing economic development opportunities. 
  1. Expand Loop 1604 East to four lanes and improve interchanges. This $495 million project would expand eight miles of Loop 1604 East from I-35 to I-10 East. It would include a four-lane expressway with frontage roads and interchange improvements at I-10 East. This project would provide congestion relief while improving mobility and supporting economic development.
  1. Expand SH 151 to add two lanes from Loop 1604 to US 90. This $270 million project would expand 11 miles of SH 151 to add two lanes from Loop 1604 to US 90. This corridor is an important commuter route between the residential communities on the far west side of San Antonio to downtown, as well as other employment centers in between. Fast paced growth in the area has created considerable peak hour demand and congestion. This project would improve mobility and support economic development.
  1. Expand US 90 to a six-lane expressway with frontage roads from I-410 to SH 211. This $210 million project would expand seven miles of US 90 to a six-lane expressway with frontage roads between I-410 and SH 211. This corridor serves as an important commuter route for the residential areas on the far west side of San Antonio. Fast paced growth in the area has created a need for improvements on US 90. A portion of the existing frontage roads remain two-way, creating safety concerns that would be addressed by this project. It would improve safety, mobility, reliability and economic development.

OTHER TEXAS REGIONS

  1. Upgrade a portion of SL 20 in Laredo to Interstate standards. This $438 million project would upgrade an approximately nine-mile segment of SL 20 in Laredo to Interstate design standards from I-35 to US 59 Business east of Laredo, including lane widths and limited access. These improvements will relieve congestion, improve regional goods movement, improve safety and improve air quality.
  1. Upgrade a portion of US 59 in Liberty, San Jacinto, Angelina, Nacogdoches and Polk Counties to Interstate standards. This approximately $2 billion project would upgrade a 107-mile portion of US 59 to Interstate design standards from I-69 south of Cleveland to North of Nacogdoches, including lane widths and limited access. These improvements will enhance regional connectivity, relieve congestion, improve regional goods movement and improve safety.
  1. Expand a portion of I-10 from four to six lanes from Vidor to the Louisiana state line. This $410 million project would widen I-10 in Orange County from four to six lanes from Vidor to the Louisiana state line. This project will complete upgrading I-10 from four to six lanes from Beaumont to the Louisiana state line. Improving I-10, the major East-West corridor across the Gulf Coast, will improve goods movement in this corridor and stimulate economic development locally, regionally and throughout the Gulf Coast.
  1. Upgrade a portion of SH 44 to Interstate standards in Nueces and Jim Wells Counties . This approximately $600 million project would upgrade a 29-mile portion of SH 44 to Interstate design standards from US 281 to US 77/I-69E, including lane widths and limited access. These improvements will enhance regional connectivity, relieve congestion, improve regional goods movement and improve safety.
  1. Upgrade a portion of US 59 to Interstate standards in Wharton and Fort Bend Counties. This approximately $475 million project would upgrade a 40-mile portion of US 59 from US 59 Business Route south of El Campo to I-69 west of Rosenberg, to conform to Interstate design standards including lane widths and limited access. These improvements will enhance regional connectivity, relieve congestion, improve regional goods movement and improve safety.
  2. Expand a portion of I-10 from four to six lanes from Winnie to Beaumont. This $290 million project would widen this approximately 20-mile segment of I-10 in Chambers and Jefferson Counties from four to six lanes from FM 1663 in Winnie to CR 131 in Beaumont. Expanding this last four-lane section between Houston and Beaumont to six-lanes would eliminate a bottleneck thus easing congestion and improving mobility on this major East-West corridor in the Gulf Coast.
  1. Expand a portion of I-45 between Dallas and Houston from four to six lanes. This $1.8 billion project would widen from four to six lanes this approximately 112-mile segment of I-45 from the Houston district line to the Dallas district line. Expanding this last critical freight corridor between the state’s two largest urban areas will improve mobility and safety on this corridor and support economic development growth in the region and statewide.
  1. Upgrade a portion of US 77 in Willacy, Kennedy, Nueces and Kleberg Counties to Interstate standards. This approximately $600 million project would upgrade a 92-mile portion of SH 77 from I-69 north of Raymondville to I-69 in Robstown to Interstate design standards including lane widths and limited access. These improvements will enhance regional connectivity, relieve congestion, improve regional goods movement and improve safety.
  1. Upgrade a portion of US 281 to Interstate standards in Hidalgo, Brooks and Jim Wells Counties. This approximately $900 million project would upgrade a 100-mile portion of US 281 to Interstate design standards from I-69 north of Edinburg to US 281 Business route north of Alice, including lane widths and limited access. These improvements will enhance regional connectivity, relieve congestion, improve regional goods movement and improve safety.
  1. Upgrade a portion of US 59 to Interstate standards in Victoria County. This approximately $217 million project would upgrade to Interstate design standards an approximately 12-mile portion of US 59 from US 77 to US 59 Business route north of Victoria, including lane widths and limited access. These improvements will enhance regional connectivity, relieve congestion, improve regional goods movement and improve safety.
  1. Add an additional lane in each direction on a portion of I-10 in El Paso. This $135 million project would widen this approximately 11-mile segment of I-10 from the New Mexico state line to Sunland Park Drive in El Paso. Expanding this last critical corridor will improve mobility and safety on this corridor and support economic development growth in the region and statewide.
  1. Expand a portion of I-35 in Hill County from four to six lanes. This $100 million project would widen this approximately eight-mile segment of I-35 from I-35 north of Hillsboro to the Dallas District Line. Expanding this last critical corridor will improve mobility and safety on this corridor and support economic development growth in the region and statewide.
  1. Expand a portion of I-35 from four to six lanes in Hill and Johnson Counties. This $220 million project would widen this approximately a 14-mile segment of I-35 from I-35 north of Hillsboro to the Fort Worth District Line. Expanding this last critical corridor will improve mobility and safety on this corridor and support economic development growth in the region and statewide.
  1. Expand a portion of I-10 from four to six lanes in Gonzales, Colorado, Caldwell, Austin, Fayette and Waller Counties. This $1.4 billion project would widen this approximately 103-mile segment of I-10 from the Guadalupe/Caldwell County Line to FM 359 in Brookshire. Expanding this corridor will improve mobility and safety thus supporting economic development both locally and regionally.
  1. Expand a portion of I-20 from four to six lanes in Gregg, Smith, Harrison and Van Zandt Counties. This $727 million project would widen this approximately 90-mile segment of I-20 from the Kaufman County line to the Texas/Louisiana State line. This section of I-20 is the primary route connecting the Dallas/Fort Worth area to Shreveport, Louisiana. Widening this portion of I-20 will reduce congestion, improve safety, improve air quality and support economic development both locally and regionally.
  1. Upgrade a portion of US 77 in San Patricio County to Interstate standards. This approximately $350 million project would upgrade an approximately 15-mile portion of US 77 to Interstate design standards from I-37 to US 77 Business route north of Sinton, including lane widths and limited access. These improvements will improve regional connectivity, relieve congestion, improve regional goods movement and improve safety.
  1. Widen a portion of I-35 in Waco from six to eight lanes. This $393 million project would widen eight-miles of I-35 in Waco from South Loop 340 to North Loop 340 from six to eight lanes. Expanding this corridor will reduce congestion, improve safety and increase freight movement capacity, thus supporting economic development locally, regionally and statewide.
  1. Build a relief highway route for a portion of US 59 in Harrison County. This $328 million project would build a 20-mile, Interstate standard highway from north of Marshall to South of Marshall, which may be designated as a part of I-69. Expanding access in this corridor will improve safety, air quality and mobility, thus supporting economic development locally, regionally and statewide.
  1. Build a Midland relief highway route in Midland County. This $350 million project would build a 21-mile highway relief route from I-20 west of the Midland, re-connecting with I-20 east of Midland. The additional capacity would relieve crowded and unsafe local road conditions and enhance economic development opportunities in the region.
  1. Expanding a portion of I-20 from four to six lanes in Midland and Ector Counties. This $700 million project would widen this approximately 46-mile segment of I-20 from west of FM 866 near Odessa to the east of FM 1208 near Midland. Expanding this corridor will help relieve growing traffic congestion, partly due to increased gas production in the region, and also improve safety on this corridor, thus supporting economic development growth in the region.

Transportation projects that improve the efficiency, condition or safety of a highway or transit route provide significant economic benefits by reducing transportation delays and costs associated with a deficient transportation system. Some benefits of transportation improvements include the following.

  • Improved business competitiveness due to reduced production and distribution costs as a result of increased travel speeds and fewer mobility barriers.
  • Improvements in household welfare resulting from better access to higher-paying jobs, a wider selection of competitively priced consumer goods, additional housing and healthcare options, and improved mobility for residents without access to private vehicles.
  • Gains in local, regional and state economies due to improved regional economic competitiveness, which stimulates population and job growth.
  • Increased leisure/tourism and business travel resulting from the enhanced condition and reliability of a region’s transportation system.
  • A reduction in economic losses from vehicle crashes, traffic congestion and vehicle maintenance costs associated with driving on deficient roads.
  • The creation of both short-term and long-term jobs.
  • Transportation projects that expand roadway or transit capacity produce significant economic benefits by reducing congestion and improving access, thus speeding the flow of people and goods while reducing fuel consumption.
  • Transportation projects that maintain and preserve existing transportation infrastructure provide significant economic benefits by improving travel speeds, capacity, load-carry abilities and safety, and reducing operating costs for people and businesses. Such projects also extend the service life of a road, bridge or transit vehicle or facility, which saves money by either postponing or eliminating the need for more expensive future repairs.
  • Highway accessibility was ranked the number two site selection factor behind only the availability of skilled labor in a 2013 survey of corporate executives by Area Development Magazine.
  • The Federal Highway Administration estimates that each dollar spent on road, highway and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 in the form of reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs, and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffic flow.

According to a recent national report, improved access as a result of capacity expansions provides numerous regional economic benefits. Those benefits include higher employment rates, higher land value, additional tax revenue, increased intensity of economic activity, increased land prices and additional construction as a result of the intensified use.

  • The projects analyzed in the report were completed no later than 2005 and included a wide variety of urban and rural projects, including the expansion or addition of major highways, beltways, connectors, bypasses, bridges, interchanges, industrial access roads, intermodal freight terminals and intermodal passenger terminals.
  • The expanded capacity provided by the projects resulted in improved access, which resulted in reduced travel-related costs, faster and more reliable travel, greater travel speeds, improved reliability and increased travel volume.
  • The report found that improved transportation access benefits a region by: enhancing the desirability of an area for living, working or recreating, thus increasing its land value; increasing building construction in a region due to increased desirability for homes and businesses; increasing employment as a result of increased private and commercial land use; and increasing tax revenue as a result of increased property taxes, increased employment and increased consumption, which increases sales tax collection.
  • The report found that benefits of a transportation capacity expansion unfolded over several years and that the extent of the benefits were impacted by other factors including: the presence of complimentary infrastructure such as water, sewer and telecommunications; local land use policy; the local economic and business climate; and whether the expanded capacity was integrated with other public investment and development efforts.
  • For every $1 million spent on urban highway or intermodal expansion, the report estimated that an average of 7.2 local, long-term jobs were created at nearby locations as a result of improved access. An additional 4.4 jobs were created outside the local area, including businesses that supplied local businesses or otherwise benefited from the increased regional economic activity.
  • For every $1 million spent on rural highway or intermodal expansion, the report estimated that an average of 2.9 local, long-term jobs were created at nearby locations as a result of improved access. An additional 1.6 jobs were created outside the local area, including businesses that supplied local businesses or otherwise benefited from the increased regional economic activity.
  • The report found that highway and intermodal capacity projects in urban areas created a greater number of long-term jobs than in rural areas, largely due to the more robust economic environment and greater density in urban communities.

Texas’ transportation system must be modernized and expanded in order to accommodate anticipated population growth and the continued expansion of the state’s economy.

  • From 1990, Texas’ population increased by 53 percent, from approximately 17 million to 26.2 million.
  • Texas’ population is projected to grow by another 3.5 million people to 29.7 million residents by 2035, an increase of 14 percent over the current population.
  • From 1990 to 2013, annual vehicle-miles-of-travel (VMT) in the state increased by 51 percent, from approximately 162 billion VMT to 245 billion VMT. Based on travel and population trends, TRIP estimates that vehicle travel in Texas will increase another 25 percent by 2030.
  • Job creation in the state has remained strong in recent years. Texas has experienced sustained job growth, adding more jobs than any other state in 2014. Texas led the nation in job growth in each of the last five years.
  • Texas has benefited from a diverse economy, which includes significant employment in the following sectors: mining, agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, information technology, finance and petroleum production.
  • Every year, approximately $1.2 trillion in goods are shipped annually from sites in Texas and another $1.2 trillion in goods are shipped annually to sites in Texas, mostly by truck.
  • Sixty percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in Texas are carried by trucks and another 11 percent are carried by parcel, U.S. Postal Service or courier services, which use trucks for part of the deliveries.

Texas’ economy is served by an extensive state and locally-maintained system of roads, highways and bridges that have some deficiencies, lack of adequate capacity to support economic development opportunities and lack some desirable safety features.

  • Texas’ system of 313,228 miles of roads and 52,937 bridges, maintained by local, state and federal governments, carries 245 billion vehicle miles of travel annually.
  • Fifteen percent of Texas’ major state and locally maintained roads and highways have pavements in poor condition. Forty-one percent of the state’s major roads are rated as either mediocre or fair and the remaining 44 percent are rated in good condition.
  • As Texas’ roads and highways continue to age, they will reach a point where routine paving and maintenance will not be adequate to keep pavement surfaces in good condition and costly reconstruction of the roadway and its underlying surfaces will become necessary.
  • Investing in lower-cost, routine roadway repairs and preservation can extend the life of Texas’ roadways and prevent or postpone more costly repairs and reconstruction. It is critical that roads are fixed before they require major repairs because reconstructing roads costs approximately four times more than resurfacing them.
  • In 2014, 19 percent of Texas’ bridges were rated either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet current highway design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.
  • Between 2009 and 2013 a total of 15,865 people were killed in traffic crashes in Texas, an average of 3,173 fatalities per year.
  • Texas’ overall traffic fatality rate of 1.38 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2013 is significantly higher than the national traffic fatality rate of 1.09.
  • The fatality rate on Texas’ rural non-Interstate roads was 2.48 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2013, nearly two-and-a-half times higher than the 1.04 fatality rate on all other roads and highways in the state.
  • Where appropriate, highway improvements can reduce traffic fatalities and crashes while improving traffic flow to help relieve congestion. Such improvements include removing or shielding obstacles; adding or improving medians; improved lighting; adding rumble strips, wider lanes, wider and paved shoulders; upgrading roads from two lanes to four lanes; and better road markings and traffic signals.

The federal surface transportation program, which is an important source of funding for Texas’ roads, highways and bridges, expires on May 31, 2015.

  • A significant boost in investment on the nation’s roads, highways, bridges and public transit systems is needed to improve their condition and to meet the nation’s transportation needs, concluded a new report from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

 

Sources of data include the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the U.S. Census Bureau. All data used in the report is the latest available.

 

 

ABC Reports: Construction Materials Prices Expand in March

CEU2“Although overall construction materials prices rose for the month, prices for more categories of materials decreased than increased” —ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu.

PPI_Mar15Prices for inputs to construction industries expanded 0.8 percent in March, the largest monthly increase in more than two years, according to the April 14 producer price index release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Prices have now expanded for two consecutive months after declining during the prior six; however input prices are down 3.6 percent on a year-over-year basis. March marks the fourth consecutive month year-over-year input prices have declined, the longest such streak since 2009. Crude petroleum prices fell 4 percent in March and have fallen in eight of the previous nine months.

“Although overall construction materials prices rose for the month, prices for more categories of materials decreased than increased, including sharp monthly declines in the price for softwood lumber and iron/steel,” said Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “On a year-over-year basis, deflationary pressures are even more apparent as crude petroleum prices are down 55 percent and natural gas is down 45 percent, despite an increase in gas prices in March.

“Though U.S. nonresidential and residential segments continue to expand, global construction volumes remain suppressed by widespread weakness in Asia, Europe and Latin America,” said Basu. “With the U.S. dollar likely to get stronger over the next few months as domestic interest rates begin to rise, there is little likelihood of significant increases in construction input prices over the next six to nine months. Overall producer prices managed to increase 0.5 percent on a monthly basis, the first increase since June 2014. This reading serves to increase the likelihood that the Federal Reserve will begin to increase short-term interest rates later this year.”

Only two of the key materials prices increased in March.

  • Fabricated structural metal product prices inched 0.4 percent higher for the month and have expanded 1.3 percent on a year-over-year basis.
  • Natural gas prices expanded 1.5 percent in March, but are down 45.3 percent from the same time one year ago.

Nine of the 11 key construction inputs did not expand for the month.

  • Prices for plumbing fixtures fell 0.3 percent in March but are up 2.5 percent on a year-over-year basis.
  • Prices for prepared asphalt, tar roofing, and siding fell 0.4 percent for the month and are down 0.2 percent on a year-ago basis.
  • Iron and steel prices fell 2.5 percent in March and are down 11.5 percent from the same time last year.
  • Steel mill products prices fell 1.9 percent for the month and are 4.8 percent lower than one year ago.
  • Softwood lumber prices fell 4.1 percent and are 7.4 percent lower than one year ago.
  • Nonferrous wire and cable prices remained flat on a monthly basis and grew 2.5 percent on a yearly basis
  • Crude petroleum Crude energy prices fell 4 percent in March and are down 55 percent from the same time last year.
  • Crude energy materials prices fell 1.4 percent in March but are 43.7 percent lower year over year.
  • Concrete products prices remained flat in March and are up 4.1 percent on a yearly basis.

To view the previous PPI report, click here