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New TRIP Report Identifies Top Transportation Improvements Needed To Support Alabama’s Economic Growth, Including Projects To Address Deteriorated And Congested Roadways, Deficient Bridges, Needed Safety Improvements

image001A new report identifies Alabama’s 50 most needed transportation improvements to address deficient, crowded or congested roads, highways and bridges throughout the state. The deteriorated and congested conditions threaten to stifle economic growth and development in Alabama, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation research organization.

The report, “The Top 50 Highway Projects to Support Economic Growth and Quality of Life in Alabama,” identifies the transportation improvements most needed to support economic growth and quality of life in Alabama. These improvements include projects to build, expand or modernize the state’s network of highways and bridges. Making needed transportation improvements would enhance economic development opportunities throughout the state by increasing mobility and freight movement, easing congestion, improving safety, and making Alabama 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 20 most needed transportation improvements to support economic growth in the state, as identified by the TRIP report, are detailed below. Additional information about each project can be found in the report.

 

AL 1 AL 2

The needed highway projects identified in the TRIP report would require an investment of $4.6 billion to complete. The needed projects include 10 widening projects on 63 miles of Alabama’s Interstate highway system. Based on forecast traffic growth, approximately 630 miles of Alabama’s Interstate Highway System are currently or will become congested and will need additional capacity to accommodate economic growth in the state.

“Birmingham serves as a crucial transportation hub in the Southeast, therefore we need to enhance our infrastructure in order to be competitive and protect our future in economic development,” said Brian Hilson, president and CEO of the Birmingham Business Alliance. “The TRIP report outlines road projects that will spark economic growth and ensure public safety.”

According to the TRIP report, 16 percent of Alabama’s major urban roads are in poor condition. Nine percent of bridges are structurally deficient, meaning they have significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. An additional 13 percent of the state’s bridges are functionally obsolete. These bridges no longer meet modern design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.

Alabama’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.31 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2013 is significantly higher than the national average of 1.09. The fatality rate on Alabama’s rural non-Interstate roads was 2.11 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2013, approximately two-and-a-half times the 0.83 fatality rate on all other roads and highways in the state.

Enhancing critical segments of Alabama’s 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 Alabama’s 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 Alabama’s transportation system and addressing these challenges by improving the condition and efficiency of the state’s roads and bridges will be an effective step in boosting the state’s economy, enhancing quality of life and making Alabama an attractive place to live, work and visit,” said Will Wilkins, executive director of TRIP.

The Top 50 Highway

Projects to Support Economic Growth and Quality of Life in Alabama

Executive Summary

Alabama’s highway 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 Yellowhammer State’s economy. Alabama’s transportation system also provides for a high quality of life and makes the state a desirable place to live, visit and do business.        Eight years after the nation suffered a significant economic downturn, Alabama’s economy continues to rebound. The rate of economic growth in Alabama, which will be greatly impacted by the reliability and condition of the state’s transportation system, continues to have a significant impact on quality of life in the Yellowhammer State.

To achieve sustainable economic growth, Alabama must proceed with numerous projects to improve key roads, bridges and highways. Enhancing critical segments of Alabama’s 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 boost 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.

Many segments of Alabama’s transportation system have significant deterioration, lack some desirable safety features, and do not have adequate capacity to provide the reliable mobility needed to support economic development, creating challenges for Alabama’s residents, visitors, businesses and state and local governments. This report looks at the condition and use of Alabama’s roads, highways and bridges and provides information on the state’s 50 most needed highway improvements to support economic growth and quality of life.

With a wide based economy including agriculture, forestry, manufacturing, natural resource extraction, finance, healthcare, technology, and tourism, the quality of Alabama’s transportation system will play a vital role in the state’s level of economic growth and quality of life.

The federal government is a significant source of transportation funding for Alabama. In December 2015, Congress passed and the president signed into law a long-term federal surface transportation program that includes modest funding increases and allows state and local governments to plan and finance projects with greater certainty through 2020. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) provides approximately $305 billion for surface transportation with highway and transit funding slated to increase by approximately 15 and 18 percent, respectively, over the five-year duration of the program. While the modest funding increase and certainty provided by the FAST Act are a step in the right direction, , the funding falls far short of the level of needed to improve conditions and meet the nation’s mobility needs and fails to deliver a sustainable, long-term source of revenue for the federal Highway Trust Fund.

As Alabama works to build and support a thriving and diverse economy, it will need to modernize its highway system by improving the physical condition of its roads, highways and bridges and enhancing the system’s ability to provide efficient, safe and reliable mobility to the state’s residents, visitors and businesses. Making needed improvements to Alabama’s roads, highways and bridges will provide a significant boost to the state’s economy by stimulating short and long-term economic growth.

In this report, TRIP examines recent transportation and economic trends in Alabama and provides information on highway projects in the state that are most needed to support economic growth. Sources of data include the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT), 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 and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Transportation Research Board (TRB), the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) and the U.S. Census Bureau. All data used in the report is the latest available.

TRIP has identified the 50 highway projects that are most needed to support Alabama’s economic growth. These projects are located throughout the state.

  • The most needed highway improvements in Alabama include projects to build, expand or modernize roads, highways and bridges throughout the state. These improvements would enhance economic development opportunities throughout the state by increasing mobility and freight movement, easing congestion, and making Alabama an attractive place to live, visit and do business.
  • TRIP 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 needed highway projects identified in the TRIP report would require an investment of $4.6 billion to complete.
  • The needed improvements identified in this report include 10 widening projects on 63 miles of Alabama’s Interstate highway system. Based on forecast traffic growth, approximately 630 miles of Alabama’s Interstate Highway System are currently or will become congested and will need additional capacity to accommodate economic growth in the state.
  • Alabama’s 20 most needed highway projects to support economic development in the state as determined by TRIP follow. Additional details for these and all 50 projects can be found in the report’s Appendix.
  1. Adding lanes to a portion of I-65 in Shelby County. This $54 million project would add lanes to 3.5 miles of I-65 from US 31 to CR-52. This suburban commuter route experiences frequent congestion, traffic delays and resulting safety issues. Added capacity will facilitate continued growth in the area, improve mobility and reduce traffic delays while enhancing safety.
  2. Capacity improvements on I-10 from downtown Mobile across the Mobile Bay. This $850 million project would expand the capacity of 1.5 miles of I-10 in Mobile from Texas Street to the Eastern Shore. I-10 is a critical freight route carrying large volumes from Gulf of Mexico ports across the nation. Traffic is currently constricted by a four-lane tunnel, causing delays, frequent congestion and safety concerns. Added capacity will facilitate continued growth in the area, improve mobility and reduce traffic delays while enhancing safety.
  3. Expand capacity of I-59 in Birmingham. Improvements are needed to expand capacity and enhance mobility on 8.5 miles of I-59 in Birmingham from 1st Avenue North to Chalkville Road. This urban interstate route is experiencing growth and frequent congestion, delays and safety issues. Added capacity will facilitate continued growth in the area, improve mobility and reduce traffic delays while enhancing safety.
  4. Widening US 98 to four lanes from the Mississippi State Line to Mobile. This $36 million project would widen 12 miles of US 98 to four lanes from the Mississippi state line to Mobile. This corridor is one of the highest volume two-lane roads in the state. Crashes occur at a high frequency and commuters experience daily delays during peak travel periods. Widening will ease congestion, reduce delays, improve safety and enhance the economic potential for the route.
  5. Expand capacity on a portion of I-59 in Birmingham. Improvements are needed to expand capacity and enhance mobility on 10 miles of I-59 in Birmingham from I-459 to Valley Road. This route is experiencing growth and congestion. Traffic delays and safety concerns are increasing. Added capacity will facilitate continued growth in the area, improve mobility and reduce traffic delays while enhancing safety.
  6. Adding lanes to US 231 in Dothan. This $32 million project would add lanes to nearly three miles of US 231 (Ross Clark Circle) in Dothan. This route is experiencing growth, frequent congestion, travel delays and safety issues. Added capacity will facilitate continued growth in the area, improve mobility and reduce traffic delays while enhancing safety.
  7. Widening US-11 in Tuscaloosa. This $7 million project would widen US-11 (McFarland Boulevard) to four lanes from CR-27 to 36th This corridor is one of the highest volume two-lane routes in the state. Commuters experience daily delays during peak periods. Widening to four lanes will ease congestion and reduce travel delays. The four-laning will enhance the economic potential for the route and provide better access to Stillman College.
  8. Widening SR 133 in Shoals. This $44 million project would widen four miles of SR 133 from SR 20 to SR 184 from two lanes to four lanes. This corridor is one of the highest volume two lane roads in the state. Commuters experience daily delays during peak periods. Added capacity will facilitate continued growth in the area, improve mobility and reduce traffic delays while enhancing safety.
  9. Widening SR 14 in Montgomery. This $4 million project would widen SR 14 from the end of the current four-lane segment in Millbrook to SR 143. This section is one of the highest volume two lane roads in the state. Commuters experience daily delays during peak periods. Added capacity will facilitate continued growth in the area, improve mobility and reduce traffic delays while enhancing safety.
  10. Adding lanes to a portion of I-65 in Birmingham. This $86 million project would add lanes to 4.5 miles of I-65 in Birmingham, from CR 87 to US 31. This suburban route is experiencing growth and frequent congestion. Traffic delays are increasing and safety is a concern. Added capacity will facilitate the continued growth in the area, improve mobility, reduce congestion and enhance safety. This route carries a large amount of commuter traffic, serving workers who live in the Shelby County suburbs and commute to downtown Birmingham.
  11. Widening SR 119 from I-65 to US 280 in Birmingham. This $80 million project would widen eight miles of SR 119 from two lanes to four lanes from I-65 to US 280. This corridor is one of the highest volume two-lane routes in the state, causing delays at peak hours. Added capacity will facilitate continued growth in the area, improve mobility and reduce traffic delays while enhancing safety.
  12. New Freeway Bypass around Montgomery. This $91 million project would construct a new freeway bypass around Montgomery, from Vaughn Road to US 231. A new bypass will add capacity to the transportation network and improve mobility in the area. A new route will open new areas for economic development and better serve existing industry.
  13. Adding lanes to I-10 from the Mississippi State Line to Mobile. This $146 million project would add lanes to 15 miles of I-10 from the Mississippi State Line to Carol Plantation Road in Mobile. This interstate route carries very high traffic volumes and experiences frequent congestion and travel delays. I-10 is the southernmost interstate route from California to Florida. Added capacity will facilitate continued growth in the area, improve mobility and reduce traffic delays while enhancing safety.
  14. Adding lanes to I-10 in Eastern Shore. This $48 million project would add lanes to I-10 from US 98 at the Mobile Bay to SR 181. This interstate route carries commuter traffic between Mobile and Baldwin County, which is experiencing high residential growth, generating high volumes of travel to jobs in Mobile. Added capacity will facilitate continued growth in the area, improve mobility and reduce traffic delays while enhancing safety.
  15. Construct a four-lane route along US 82. This $110 million project would provide a 20 mile, four-lane route along US 82 from Reform to the Tuscaloosa County Line. Currently, a four-lane connection to the interstate from the populated areas of the county does not exist. A four lane interstate connector will improve mobility and enhance the economic potential of the county.
  16. Widening SR 69 in Cullman County. This $40 million project would widen 1.1 miles of SR 69 to four lanes from 4th Avenue to Cottage Hill Drive. This section of roadway is one of the highest volume two lane roads in the state. Commuters experience daily delays during peak periods. Added capacity will facilitate continued growth in the area, improve mobility and reduce traffic delays while enhancing safety.
  17. Widening SR 150 in Birmingham. This $7 million project would widen 0.8 miles of SR 150 from Lakeshore Parkway to Readers Gap Road. This section of roadway is one of the highest volume two lane roads in the state. Commuters experience daily delays during peak periods. Added capacity will facilitate continued growth in the area, improve mobility and reduce traffic delays while enhancing safety.
  18. Widening SR 77 in Gadsden. This $14 million project would widen 1.3 miles of SR 77 from Enterprise Road to SR 11. This section of roadway is one of the highest volume two lane roads in the state. Commuters experience daily delays during peak periods. Added capacity will facilitate continued growth in the area, improve mobility and reduce traffic delays while enhancing safety.
  19. Widening US 90 in Mobile. This $22 million project would widen 3.6 miles of US 90 to four lanes from CR 39 to Swedetown Road. Widening US 90 will extend the existing four lane section to the west of Mobile. This section of roadway is one of the highest volume two lane roads in the state and experiences a high rate of crashes. Commuters experience daily delays during peak periods. Added capacity will facilitate continued growth in the area, improve access to the interstate, enhance mobility and reduce traffic delays while enhancing safety.
  20. Widening US 411 in Birmingham. This $12 million project would widen US 411 to four lanes from Bankhead National Parkway to Cedar Grove Road in Birmingham. This section of road is one of the highest volume two-lane routes in the state. Commuters experience daily delays during peak periods. Widening will ease congestion, reduce delays, enhance safety and allow for economic growth.

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

  • 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.
  • Transportation projects that expand roadway or bridge 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 also 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.

Growth in population and vehicle travel has far outstripped the current capacity of Alabama’s transportation system. The state’s population and economy will continue to grow, bringing mounting challenges for the existing network of roads and bridges.

  • From 1990 to 2014, Alabama’s population increased by 20 percent, from approximately four million residents to approximately 4.8 million.
  • From 1990 to 2013, annual vehicle-miles-of-travel (VMT) in the state increased by 54 percent, from approximately 42.3 billion VMT to 65 billion VMT. Based on travel and population trends, TRIP estimates that vehicle travel in Alabama will increase another 35 percent by 2030.
  • Vehicle miles of travel in Alabama for the first ten months of 2015 were 3.4 percent higher than the first ten months of 2014. During the first ten months of 2015, U.S. vehicle miles of travel were 3.4 percent higher than the first ten months of 2014.
  • Every year, $183 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Alabama and another $189 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Alabama, mostly by trucks. Seventy-six percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in Alabama are carried by trucks and another 15 percent are carried by parcel, U.S. Postal Service or courier services, which use trucks for part of their deliveries.

Alabama’s extensive transportation system has some road and bridge deficiencies, lacks some desirable safety features and experiences congestion in key areas. Improvements to the condition and efficiency of the state’s transportation system would enhance quality of life, roadway safety and economic development.

  • In 2013, 16 percent of Alabama’s major urban roads were in poor condition, 33 percent were in mediocre or fair condition, and 51 percent were in good condition. Six percent of Alabama’s rural roads were rated in poor condition in 2013, while 31 percent were rated in mediocre or fair condition and 63 percent were rated in good condition.
  • Nine percent of Alabama’s bridges were rated structurally deficient in 2014. A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. Structurally deficient bridges are often posted for lower weight or closed to traffic, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks, school buses and emergency services vehicles.
  • In 2014, 13 percent of Alabama’s bridges were rated as functionally obsolete. Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet current highway design standards or are inadequate to accommodate current traffic levels, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.
  • 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 crashes. A total of 4,293 people died on Alabama’s highways from 2010 through 2014, an average of 859 annually.
  • Alabama’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.31 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2013 is significantly higher than the national average of 1.09.
  • The fatality rate on Alabama’s rural non-Interstate roads was 2.11 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2013, approximately two-and-a-half times the 0.83 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.
  • 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.

According to a 2012 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.

Investment in Alabama’s roads, highways and bridges is funded by local, state and federal governments.   The recently approved five-year federal surface transportation program includes modest funding increases and provides states with greater funding certainty, but falls far short of providing the level of funding needed to meet the nation’s highway and transit needs. The bill does not include a long-term and sustainable revenue source.

  • From 2009 to 2013, the federal government provided $1.28 for road improvements in Alabama for every dollar the state paid in federal motor fuel fees.
  • According to the 2015 AASHTO Transportation Bottom Line Report, a significant boost in investment in the nation’s roads, highways, bridges and public transit systems is needed to improve their condition and to meet the nation’s transportation needs.
  • AASHTO’s report found that annual investment in the nation’s roads, highways and bridges needs to increase 36 percent, from $88 billion to $120 billion, to improve conditions and meet the nation’s mobility needs, based on an annual one percent rate of vehicle travel growth. Investment in the nation’s public transit system needs to increase from $17 billion to $43 billion.
  • The 2015 AASHTO Transportation Bottom Line Report found that if the national rate of vehicle travel increased by 1.4 percent per year, the needed annual investment in the nation’s roads, highways and bridges would need to increase by 64 percent to $144 billion. If vehicle travel grows by 1.6 percent annually the needed annual investment in the nation’s roads, highways and bridges would need to increase by 77 percent to $156 billion.

Sources of data for this report include the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT), 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 and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Transportation Research Board (TRB), the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) and the U.S. Census Bureau. All data used in the report is the latest available

ARTBA Announces: Contractors from Virginia, Michigan and Florida 
Receive National Safety Awards

292e959e-725e-47e9-b81f-3973809ceb6bTransportation construction companies from Virginia, Michigan and Florida were recognized for their outstanding corporate worker safety programs at the 2015 American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s (ARTBA) National Convention in Philadelphia. An awards ceremony took place during a Sept. 30 luncheon.

Winning firms were the top honorees of ARTBA’s Transportation Development Foundation’s (TDF) annual “Contractor Safety Awards,” a program developed to promote worker safety and health as core values of the transportation design and construction industry. Award winners demonstrated a low “OSHA Recordable Rate” as measured against benchmark metrics established by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Finalists were selected based on their achievements, as evidenced by recordable rates below the industry average. Representatives from each company were invited to make a presentation before a panel of industry professionals during the association’s convention. An ARTBA member panel of judges evaluated the entries based on corporate safety culture, operational safety plans and worker training programs. Awards were presented in three categories, based on the number of employee hours worked during the previous year:

  • 500,000 or fewer hours: Hardman Construction, Ludington, Michigan
  • 500,001 to 800,000 hours: Branch Highways, Inc., Roanoke, Virginia
  • 800,000 or more: Superior Construction Company Southeast, Jacksonville, Florida

TRIP Reports: Deficient, Congested Roadways Cost Each Georgia Driver As Much As $1,900 Annually, A Total Of $7.9 Billion Statewide. Costs Will Rise And Transportation Woes Will Worsen Without Increased Funding

Roads and bridges that are deficient, congested or lack desirable safety features cost Georgia motorists a total of $7.9 billion statewide annually – as much as $1,900 per driver in some areas- due to higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays. Increased investment in transportation improvements at the local, state and federal levels could relieve traffic congestion, improve road and bridge conditions, boost safety, and support long-term economic growth in Georgia, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization.

The TRIP report, Georgia Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout Georgia, 10 percent of major locally and state-maintained urban roads and highways are in poor condition. Sixteen percent of Georgia’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. The state’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, with drivers wasting significant amounts of time and fuel each year. And, more than 6,000 people were killed in crashes on the state’s roads in the last five years.

Driving on deficient roads costs each Georgia driver as much as $1,925 per year in the form of extra vehicle operating costs (VOC) as a result of driving on roads in need of repair, lost time and fuel due to congestion-related delays, and the cost of traffic crashes in which roadway features likely were a contributing factor. The TRIP report calculated the cost to motorists of insufficient roads in Georgia’s largest urban areas: Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon and Savannah. A breakdown of the costs per motorist in each area along with a statewide total is below.

TRIP GA 1The TRIP report finds that ten percent of major urban roads in the state are in poor condition, while 39 percent are in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 51 percent are in good condition. Driving on deteriorated roads costs Georgia motorist a total of $1.7 billion each year in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

Traffic congestion in the state is worsening, costing the state’s drivers a total of $3.8 billion annually in the form of lost time and wasted fuel.

“Motorists expect and deserve safe, well maintained roads and bridges no matter if they are traveling on the Interstates or rural roads,” said Garrett Townsend, public affairs director for AAA- The Auto Club Group. “Legislators must act to provide a sustainable solution to ensure that Georgia can continue to make necessary infrastructure investments that will benefit all travelers.”

A total of 16 percent of Georgia’s bridges show significant deterioration or do not meet modern design standards. Five percent of Georgia’s bridges are structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components. An additional 11 percent of the state’s bridges are functionally obsolete, which means they no longer meet modern design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.

Georgia’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.08 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is slightly lower than the national average of 1.09. Traffic crashes in Georgia claimed the lives of 6,122 people between 2009 and 2013.

The efficiency and condition of Georgia’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Annually, $378 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Georgia and another $413 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Georgia, mostly by truck.

The Federal surface transportation program is a critical source of funding in Georgia. From 2008 to 2012, the federal government provided $1.23 for road improvements in Georgia for every dollar the state paid in federal motor fuel fees. In July 2014 Congress approved an eight-month extension of the federal surface transportation program, which will now run through May 31, 2015. The legislation will also 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 2015.

“These 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. “Congress can help by approving a long-term federal surface transportation program that provides adequate funding levels, based on a reliable funding source. If not, Georgia is going to see its future federal funding threatened, resulting in fewer road and bridge improvements, loss of jobs, and a burden on the state’s economy.”

$7.9 Billion – Statewide

$742 – Athens

$1,925 – Atlanta

$1,259 – Augusta

$1,199 – Columbus

$957 – Gainesville

$1,394 – Macon

$1,800 – Savannah

Driving on deficient roads costs Georgia residents $7.9 billion annually statewide. These costs include additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes. TRIP has calculated the cost of driving on deficient roads to the average driver in the state’s largest urban areas: Athens: $742; Atlanta: $1,925; Augusta: $1,259; Columbus: $1,199; Gainesville: $957; Macon: $1,394; Savannah: $1,800.
 

$3.8 billion

Georgia’s drivers lose $3.8 billion each year in the form of lost time and wasted fuel as a result of traffic congestion.
1,224

6,122

On average, 1,224 people were killed annually in Georgia traffic crashes from 2009 to 2013, a total of 6,122 fatalities over the five year period.
 

3.5 X higher

The fatality rate on Georgia’s non-interstate rural roads is nearly three-and-a-half greater than on all other roads in the state (2.55 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.77).
10% Ten percent of Georgia’s major urban roads are in poor condition.
5% – Athens

23% – Atlanta

19% – Augusta

9% – Columbus

5% – Gainesville

8% – Macon

36% – Savannah

TRIP has calculated the percentage of major roads in poor condition in each of the state’s largest urban areas: Athens: five percent; Atlanta: 23 percent; Augusta: 19 percent; Columbus: nine percent; Gainesville: five percent; Macon: eight percent; Savannah: 36 percent.
 

16 %

A total of 16 percent of Georgia bridges are in need of repair, improvement or replacement. Five percent of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient and 11 percent are functionally obsolete
6,581,534 Georgia had 6,581,534 licensed drivers in 2012.
 

$1.23 return on $1.00

 

From 2008 to 2012, the federal government provided $1.23 for road improvements in Georgia for every dollar paid in federal motor fuel fees.
 

 

$1.00 = $5.20

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.

 

Executive Summary

Georgia’s extensive system of roads, highways and bridges provides the state’s residents, visitors and businesses with a high level of mobility. This transportation system forms the backbone that supports the state’s economy. Georgia’s surface transportation system enables the state’s residents and visitors to travel to work and school, visit family and friends, and frequent tourist and recreation attractions while providing its businesses with reliable access to customers, materials, suppliers and employees.

As Georgia works to retain its businesses, maintain its level of economic competitiveness and achieve further economic growth, the state will need to maintain and modernize its roads, highways and bridges by improving the physical condition of its transportation network and enhancing the system’s ability to provide efficient and reliable mobility for motorists and businesses. Making needed improvements to Georgia’s roads, highways and bridges could also provide a significant boost to the state’s economy by creating jobs in the short term and stimulating long term economic growth as a result of enhanced mobility and access.

With the state’s population continuing to grow, Georgia must improve its system of roads, highways and bridges to foster economic growth and keep businesses in the state. In addition to economic growth, transportation improvements are needed to ensure safe, reliable mobility and quality of life for all Georgians. Meeting Georgia’s need to modernize and maintain its system of roads, highways and bridges will require a significant boost in local, state and federal funding.

Congress will need to pass new legislation prior to the May 31 extension expiration to ensure prompt federal reimbursements to states for road, highway, bridge and transit repairs and improvements.

TRIP GA 2An inadequate transportation system costs Georgia residents a total of $7.9 billion every year in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.

  • TRIP estimates that Georgia roadways that lack some desirable safety features, have inadequate capacity to meet travel demands or have poor pavement conditions cost the state’s residents approximately $7.9 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear), the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to traffic congestion, and the financial cost of traffic crashes.
  • TRIP has calculated the average annual cost to drivers in Georgia’s largest urban areas as a result of driving on roads that have deterioration, are congested or lack some desirable safety features. Cost breakdowns for each urban area are detailed below.

TRIP GA 3Population and economic growth in Georgia have resulted in increased demands on the state’s major roads and highways, leading to increased wear and tear on the transportation system.

  • Georgia’s population reached approximately 10 million in 2013, a 53 percent increase since 1990. Georgia had 6,581,534 licensed drivers in 2012.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Georgia increased by 50 percent from 1990 to 2013 – jumping from 72.7 billion VMT in 1990 to 109.4 billion VMT in 2013.
  • By 2030, vehicle travel in Georgia is projected to increase by another 20 percent.
  • From 1990 to 2013, Georgia’s gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 83 percent, when adjusted for inflation.

Deteriorated pavement conditions provide a rough ride and cost motorist in the form of additional vehicle operating costs.

  • Ten percent of Georgia’s major locally and state-maintained urban roads and highways have pavements in poor condition, while an additional 39 percent of the state’s major urban roads are rated in mediocre or fair condition.       Fifty-one percent are rated in in good condition.
  • The following chart details the percentage of roads in poor, mediocre, fair and good condition in each of Georgia’s largest urban ar
  • Roads rated in poor condition may show signs of deterioration, including rutting, cracks and potholes. In some cases, poor roads can be resurfaced, but often are too deteriorated and must be reconstructed.

TRIP GA 4Driving on rough roads costs Georgia motorists a total of $1.7 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

Sixteen percent of locally and state-maintained bridges in Georgia show significant deterioration or do not meet current design standards often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment. This includes all bridges that are 20 feet or more in length.

  • Five percent of Georgia’s bridges are structurally deficient. A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. Structurally deficient bridges are often posted for lower weight or closed to traffic, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks and emergency services vehicles.
  • Eleven percent of Georgia’s 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 alignment.
  • The following chart details the percentage of bridges in each of the state’s largest urban areas that are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

TRIP GA 5Improving safety features on Georgia’s roads and highways would likely result in a decrease in the state’s 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 6,122 people were killed in traffic crashes in Georgia, an average of 1,224 fatalities per year.
  • Georgia’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.08 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2013 is slightly lower than national traffic fatality rate of 1.09.
  • The fatality rate on Georgia’s rural non-Interstate roads was 2.55 fatalities per 100 vehicle miles of travel in 2013, nearly three-and-a-half times the 0.77 fatality rate on all other roads and highways in the state.
  • The chart below details the average number of fatalities in Georgia’s largest urban area from 2010 to 2013, as well as the annual financial cost of traffic crashes for the average driver in each urban area.
  • 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 services.
  • 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 crashes.
  • 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.
  • 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.

 

Increasing levels of traffic congestion cause significant delays in Georgia, particularly in its larger urban areas, choking commuting and commerce. Traffic congestion robs commuters of time and money and imposes increased costs on businesses, shippers and manufacturers, which are often passed along to the consumer.

 

  • The table below details the average annual number of hours lost due to congestion for motorists in each of the state’s largest urban areas, as well as average annual cost per motorist of lost time and wasted fuel as a result of congestion:
  • TRIP GA 7The increasing levels of congestion add significant costs to consumers, transportation companies, manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers. Increased levels of congestion can reduce the attractiveness of a location to a company considering expansion or location of a new facility. Congestion costs can also increase overall operating costs for trucking and shipping companies, leading to revenue losses, lower pay for employees, and higher consumer costs.

The efficiency of Georgia’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Businesses are increasingly reliant on an efficient and dependable transportation system to move products and services. A key component in business efficiency and success is the level and ease of access to customers, markets, materials and workers.

  • Annually, $378 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Georgia and another $413 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Georgia, mostly by truck.
  • Eighty-four percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in Georgia are carried by trucks and another ten percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.
  • Businesses have responded to improved communications and greater competition by moving from a push-style distribution system, which relies on low-cost movement of bulk commodities and large-scale warehousing, to a pull-style distribution system, which relies on smaller, more strategic and time-sensitive movement of goods.
  • Increasingly, companies are looking at the quality of a region’s transportation system when deciding where to re-locate or expand. Regions with congested or poorly maintained roads may see businesses relocate to areas with a smoother, more efficient and more modern transportation system.
  • 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.

The federal government is a critical source of funding for Georgia’s roads, highways and bridges and provides a significant return to Georgia in road and bridge funding based on the revenue generated in the state by the federal motor fuel tax.

  • From 2008 to 2012, the federal government provided $1.23 for road improvements in Georgia for every dollar the state paid in federal motor fuel fees.
  • 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.
  • 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 mobility needs.

 

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) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

TRIP: DEFICIENT ROADWAYS COST ALABAMA DRIVERS $1,562 ANNUALLY, TOTAL OF $3.1 BILLION STATEWIDE. COSTS WILL RISE AND TRANSPORTATION WOES WILL WORSEN WITHOUT SIGNIFICANT FUNDING BOOST

DEFICIENT ROADWAYS COST ALABAMA DRIVERS AS MUCH AS $1,562 ANNUALLY, A TOTAL OF $3.1 BILLION STATEWIDE. COSTS WILL RISE AND TRANSPORTATION WOES WILL WORSEN WITHOUT SIGNIFICANT FUNDING BOOST 

Roads and bridges that are deficient, congested or lack desirable safety features cost Alabama motorists a total of $3.1 billion statewide annually due to higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays. Increased investment in transportation improvements at the local, state and federal levels could relieve traffic congestion, improve road and bridge conditions, boost safety, and support long-term economic growth in Alabama, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization.

The TRIP report, Alabama Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout Alabama, 15 percent of major urban roads and highways are in poor condition. Nearly a quarter of Alabama’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. The state’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, with drivers wasting significant amounts of time and fuel each year. And, Alabama’s rural non-interstate traffic fatality rate is nearly double the fatality rate on all other roads in the state.

Driving on deficient roads costs state drivers as much as $1,562 per year in the form of extra vehicle operating costs (VOC) as a result of driving on roads in need of repair, lost time and fuel due to congestion-related delays, and the cost of traffic crashes in which roadway features likely were a contributing factor. The TRIP report calculated the cost to motorists of insufficient roads in Alabama’s largest urban areas: Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile and Montgomery. A breakdown of the costs per motorist in each area along with a statewide total is below.

TRIP AL 1Deficient-roads-cost-Alabama-4_areas“Those of us in the business community are painfully aware of the deficiencies in Alabama’s transportation infrastructure and the direct impact it has on our competitiveness,” said William J. Canary, president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama. “It is time to move together as a state to solve this problem and ensure a broad range of economic opportunities. Alabama’s future depends on it.”

A total of 23 percent of Alabama’s bridges show significant deterioration or do not meet modern design standards.  Nine percent of Alabama’s bridges are structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components. An additional 14 percent of the state’s bridges are functionally obsolete, which means they no longer meet modern design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.

Traffic crashes in Alabama claimed the lives of 4,435 people between 2008 and 2012. Alabama’s traffic fatality rate of 1.33 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is significantly higher than the national average of 1.13.  The traffic fatality rate on Alabama’s non-Interstate rural roads in 2012 was 1.92 traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel, nearly double the 0.99 traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel on all other roads and highways in the state.

“The importance of a long-term sustainable highway construction program is critical to the future of Alabama’s continued economic health.  The safety of the traveling public is just one part of the need for such a program,” said Billy Norrell, CEO of the Alabama Associated General Contractors.  “As our state highways and bridges continue to be strained by increased traffic and wear and tear, there is no choice but to inject additional resources into the system.  Current funding levels are restricting the department into more of a maintenance only organization, capable of less and less new capacity work.  We are confident our elected officials will make the difficult but proper choices when it comes to the future of Alabama’s infrastructure.”

The Federal surface transportation program is a critical source of funding in Alabama.  From 2008 to 2012, the federal government provided $1.32 for road improvements in Alabama for every dollar the state paid in federal motor fees. Congress recently approved an eight-month extension of the federal surface transportation program, which will now run through May 31, 2015. The recent legislation will also 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 2015. The following projects would require significant federal funding to proceed prior to 2019: the construction of several new routes in Montgomery, Birmingham, Anniston and Auburn to relieve congestion and provide for future growth, widening portions of US-80 in Sumter and resurfacing a portion of I-10 in Mobile. A full list of projects can be found in Appendix B.

“These conditions are only going to get worse if greater funding is not made available at the state and federal levels,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Congress can help by approving a long-term federal surface transportation program that provides adequate funding levels, based on a reliable funding source. If not, Alabama is going to see its future federal funding threatened, resulting in in fewer road and bridge repair projects, loss of jobs and a burden on the state’s economy.”

TRIP Report

ALABAMA TRANSPORTATION BY THE NUMBERS:

Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility

AUGUST 2014

Ten Key Transportation Numbers in Alabama

 

$3.1 Billion

Driving on deficient roads costs Alabama motorists a total of $3.1 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.

$1,562$1,226$1,195

$1,218

TRIP has calculated the cost to the average motorist in Alabama’s largest urban areas in the form of additional VOC, congestion-related delays and traffic crashes. The cost for the average driver in each urban area is: Birmingham: $1,562; Huntsville: $1,226; Mobile: $1,195; Montgomery: $1,218.

8874,435

On average, 887 people were killed annually in Alabama traffic crashes from 2008 to 2012, a total of 4,435 fatalities over the five year period.

2X

The fatality rate on Alabama’s non-interstate rural roads is nearly double that on all other roads in the state (1.92 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.99).

$183 billion$189 billion

Annually, $183 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Alabama and another $189 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Alabama, mostly by truck.

23 %

A total of 23 percent of Alabama bridges are in need of repair, improvement or replacement. Nine percent of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient and 14 percent are functionally obsolete.

35 hours28 hours28 hours

29 hours

The average driver in the Birmingham urban area loses 35 hours each year as a result of traffic congestion;  each Huntsville driver loses 28 hours each year; each Mobile driver loses 28 hours; and each Montgomery driver loses 29 hours.

$1.32 

From 2008 to 2012, the federal government provided $1.32 for road improvements in Alabama for every dollar paid in federal motor fuel fees

$1 billion=27,800 jobs An analysis by the Federal Highway Administration found that every $1 billion invested in highway construction would support approximately 27,800 jobs, including approximately 9,500 in the construction sector, approximately 4,300 jobs in industries supporting the construction sector, and approximately 14,000 other jobs induced in non-construction related sectors of the economy.
$1.00 = $5.20

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.

 

Executive Summary

Alabama’s extensive system of roads, highways and bridges provides the state’s residents, visitors and businesses with a high level of mobility. This transportation system forms the backbone that supports the state’s economy. Alabama’s surface transportation system enables the state’s residents and visitors to travel to work and school, visit family and friends, and frequent tourist and recreation attractions while providing its businesses with reliable access to customers, materials, suppliers and employees.

As Alabama looks to retain its businesses, maintain its level of economic competitiveness and achieve further economic growth, the state will need to maintain and modernize its roads, highways and bridges by improving the physical condition of its transportation network and enhancing the system’s ability to provide efficient and reliable mobility for motorists and businesses.  Making needed improvements to Alabama’s roads, highways and bridges could also provide a significant boost to the state’s economy by creating jobs in the short term and stimulating long term economic growth as a result of enhanced mobility and access

With a current unemployment rate of 6.8 percent and with the state’s population continuing to grow, Alabama must improve its system of roads, highways and bridges to foster economic growth and keep businesses in the state. In addition to economic growth, transportation improvements are needed to ensure safe, reliable mobility and quality of life for all Alabamans.  Meeting Alabama’s need to modernize and maintain its system of roads, highways and bridges will require a significant boost in local, state and federal funding.

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. Congress recently 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 2015.

Congress will need to pass new legislation prior to the May 31 extension expiration to ensure prompt federal reimbursements to states for road, highway, bridge and transit repairs and improvements.

The level of funding and the provisions of the federal surface transportation program have a significant impact on highway and bridge conditions, roadway safety, transit service, quality of life and economic development opportunities in Alabama.

An inadequate transportation system costs Alabama residents a total of $3.1 billion every year in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.

  • TRIP estimates that Alabama roadways that lack some desirable safety features, have inadequate capacity to meet travel demands or have poor pavement conditions cost the state’s residents approximately $3.1 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear), the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to traffic congestion, and the financial cost of traffic crashes.
  • TRIP has calculated the average cost to drivers in the state’s largest urban areas as a result of driving on roads that are deteriorated, congested and lack some desirable safety features. The chart below details the costs to drivers in the Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile and Montgomery areas.

Trip AL 2Population and economic growth in Alabama have resulted in increased demands on the state’s major roads and highways, leading to increased wear and tear on the transportation system. 

  • Alabama’s population reached approximately 4.8 million in 2012, a 19 percent increase since 1990. Alabama had 3,827,522 licensed drivers in 2012.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Alabama increased by 53 percent from 1990 to 2012 – jumping from 42.3 billion VMT in 1990 to 65 billion VMT in 2012.
  • By 2030, vehicle travel in Alabama is projected to increase by another 30 percent.
  • From 1990 to 2012, Alabama’s gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 47 percent, when adjusted for inflation.

A lack of adequate state and local funding has resulted in fifteen percent of major urban roads and highways in Alabama having pavement surfaces in poor condition, providing a rough ride and costing motorist in the form of additional vehicle operating costs. 

  • Fifteen percent of Alabama’s major urban roads and highways have pavements in poor condition, while an additional 35 percent of the state’s major urban roads are rated in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 50 percent are rated in in good condition.
  • Roads rated in poor condition may show signs of deterioration, including rutting, cracks and potholes.  In some cases, poor roads can be resurfaced, but often are too deteriorated and must be reconstructed.
  • Driving on rough roads costs all Alabama motorists a total of $855 million annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
  • The chart below details the pavement conditions on major roads in the state’s largest urban areas.

TRIP AL 3Twenty-three percent of locally and state-maintained bridges in Alabama show significant deterioration or do not meet current design standards often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment. This includes all bridges that are 20 feet or more in length. 

  • Nine percent of Alabama’s bridges are structurally deficient. A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. Structurally deficient bridges are often posted for lower weight or closed to traffic, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks and emergency services vehicles.
  • Fourteen percent of Alabama’s 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 alignment.

Alabama’s traffic fatality rate is significantly higher than the national average.  Improving safety features on Alabama’s roads and highways would likely result in a decrease in the state’s 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 2008 and 2012 a total of 4,435 people were killed in traffic crashes in Alabama, an average of 887 fatalities per year.
  • Alabama’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.33 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2012 is significantly higher than the national traffic fatality rate of 1.13.
  • The fatality rate on Alabama’s rural non-Interstate roads was 1.92 fatalities per 100 vehicle miles of travel in 2012, nearly double the 0.99 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 services.
  • 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 crashes.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Increasing levels of traffic congestion cause significant delays in Alabama, particularly in its larger urban areas, choking commuting and commerce. Traffic congestion robs commuters of time and money and imposes increased costs on businesses, shippers and manufacturers, which are often passed along to the consumer.

  • According to the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), the average driver in the Birmingham urban area loses $773 each year in the cost of lost time and wasted fuel as a result of traffic congestion. The average commuter in the Birmingham urban area wastes 35 hours each year stuck in traffic.
  • Based on TTI methodology, TRIP estimates that the average driver in the Huntsville urban area loses $594 each year in the cost of lost time and wasted fuel as a result of traffic congestion. The average Huntsville commuter wastes 28 hours each year stuck in traffic.
  • Based on TTI methodology, TRIP estimates that the average Mobile-area driver loses $601 each year in the cost of lost time and wasted fuel as a result of traffic congestion. On average, Mobile commuters waste 28 hours each year stuck in traffic.
  • Based on TTI methodology, TRIP estimates that the average driver in the Montgomery urban area loses $604 each year in the cost of lost time and wasted fuel as a result of traffic congestion. The average Montgomery commuter wastes 29 hours each year stuck in traffic.
  • Increasing levels of congestion add significant costs to consumers, transportation companies, manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers and can reduce the attractiveness of a location to a company to consider expansion or even to locate a new facility. Congestion costs can also increase overall operating costs for trucking and shipping companies, leading to revenue losses, lower pay for drivers and employees, and higher consumer costs.

The efficiency of Alabama’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy.  Businesses are increasingly reliant on an efficient and dependable transportation system to move products and services. A key component in business efficiency and success is the level and ease of access to customers, markets, materials and workers.

  • Annually, $183 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Alabama and another $189 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Alabama, mostly by truck.
  • Seventy-six percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in Alabama are carried by trucks and another ten percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.
  • Increasingly, companies are looking at the quality of a region’s transportation system when deciding where to re-locate or expand. Regions with congested or poorly maintained roads may see businesses relocate to areas with a smoother, more efficient and more modern transportation system.
  • Businesses have responded to improved communications and greater competition by moving from a push-style distribution system, which relies on low-cost movement of bulk commodities and large-scale warehousing, to a pull-style distribution system, which relies on smaller, more strategic and time-sensitive movement of goods.
  • Highway accessibility was ranked the number one site selection factor in a 2011 survey of corporate executives by Area Development Magazine.
  • A 2007 analysis by the Federal Highway Administration found that every $1 billion invested in highway construction would support approximately 27,800 jobs, including approximately 9,500 in the construction sector, approximately 4,300 jobs in industries supporting the construction sector, and approximately 14,000 other jobs induced in non-construction related sectors of the economy.
  • 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.

The federal government is a critical source of funding for Alabama’s roads, highways and bridges and provides a significant return to Alabama in road and bridge funding based on the revenue generated in the state by the federal motor fuel tax. 

  • 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.
  • Congress recently 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 2015.
  • From 2008 to 2012, the federal government provided $1.32 for road improvements in Alabama for every dollar the state paid in federal motor fuel fees.
  • Federal funding has allowed the state to complete many needed transportation projects since 2005, including widening of several portions of I-65, rehabilitation of several sections of I-59, and widening and rehabilitation of portions of I-20. A full list of projects can be found in Appendix A.
  • Numerous transportation projects throughout the state would require significant federal funding to proceed prior to 2019. These projects include the construction of several new routes in Montgomery, Birmingham, Anniston and Auburn to relieve congestion and provide for future growth, as well as widening portions of US-80 in Sumter and resurfacing a portion of I-10 in Mobile. The list of projects can be found in Appendix B.
  • The Alabama Department of Transportation relies heavily on its allocation of federal funds to keep the state’s roads open and in an acceptable state of repair.  Without the annual allocation of federal dollars, the state would lose $170 million for Interstate maintenance (about 85 miles), $80 million for bridge replacement (about 40 bridges), $260 million for the resurfacing of state routes (about 850 miles), and $150 million in capacity improvements (new roads/added lanes).

Sources of information for this report include the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT), 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) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  

For the full report click here

CDRA Announces Construction and Demolition Industry Annual Awards and Inductee to the C&D Recycling Hall of Fame

CDRAThe Construction & Demolition Recycling Association (CDRA), announced today the organization’s slate of 2014 Industry Award Honorees. CDRA is a national trade organization that promotes the safe recycling of the more than 350 million tons of recoverable construction and demolition (C&D) materials generated annually in the United States. The 2014 awards will be presented at the C&D World, the Annual Meeting of the CDRA, March 5 in Las Vegas.

The award recipients include:

CMRA Member of the Year – Gary Sondermeyer, Bayshore Recycling, Keasbey, NJ The CDRA Member of the Year is selected based on extraordinary service to the mission of the organization and the C&D Recycling industry over the previous 12-month period.

C&D Recycler of the Year – SWS/Sun Recycling, Davie, FL.

The C&D Recycler of the Year honors those Recycling Operations in the Construction and Demolition Recycling industry who have made an extraordinary contribution to the industry.

CDRA President’s Award – Armstrong World Industries, Lancaster, PA, and Southwind RAS, Bartlett, IL.

The CDRA President’s Award recognizes companies for excellence and innovation in C&D recycling.

The Second Class of the C&D Recycling Hall of Fame has been announced and the 2014 Honoree is Ted “Tadj” Ondrick, Ted Ondrick Construction Co., Chicopee, MA. This award recognizes an individual’s long-time work, innovation, and support of both the C&D Recycling industry and the CDRA.

“We are delighted to recognize all who have made a commitment to the recycling industry and their communities,” said Valerie Montecalvo, President, CDRA. “It is because of their commitment to the environment, our country is able to move to a more sustainable future.”