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TRIP Reports: Ohio Faces Deficient Roads & Bridges, High Rural Fatality Rates, Mounting Congestion And Insufficient Transportation Funds. With Spending Set To Decrease In 2016, State Faces $11.6 Billion Shortfall In Needed Funds For Transportation Improvements.

Ohio’s transportation system faces challenges in the form of deteriorated roads and bridges, high rates of rural traffic fatalities, increasingly crowded roads, and insufficient funding to proceed with projects needed to support economic development. 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 Ohio, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization.

The TRIP report, Modernizing Ohio’s Transportation System: Progress and Challenges in Providing a Safe, Efficient and Well-Maintained Transportation System,” finds that while the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) has been able to boost annual spending on highways and bridges over the last four years, funding is set to decrease significantly in 2016 and 2017 and the state faces an $11.6 billion shortfall in funding for needed road, highway and bridge improvements. According to the TRIP report, nearly one-quarter of major urban roads are in poor condition, while approximately a quarter of locally and state-maintained bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. The state’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested and the fatality rate on Ohio’s rural roads is disproportionately high.

Twenty-four percent of Ohio’s major locally and state-maintained urban roads are in poor condition, while 41 percent are in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 35 percent are in good condition. State-maintained roads are generally in better condition, with 98 percent of urban and rural state-maintained roads in acceptable condition.

Ohio’s bridges are also showing signs of their age, with approximately a quarter of locally and state-maintained bridges rated as structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Eight percent of Ohio’s locally or state-maintained bridges are structurally deficient, meaning they have significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. These bridges are often posted for lower weights or closed to traffic restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks and emergency response vehicles. An additional 16 percent of Ohio’s locally and state-maintained bridges are functionally obsolete. Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet current design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.

“TRIP’s report once again demonstrates that more must be done to secure funding for our state’s roads and bridges,” said Kimberly Schwind, senior public relations manager for AAA Ohio Auto Club.  “Our leaders in Ohio and Washington must recognize the importance of this issue before it’s too late. Central Ohioans rely on our roads and bridges every day, and putting off tough decisions will only lead to longer commutes, more potholes and unsafe roads.”

Traffic crashes in Ohio claimed the lives of 5,229 people between 2009 and 2013, an average of 1,046 fatalities each year. The state’s overall traffic fatality rate of 0.88 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is lower than the national average of 1.09. But, Ohio’s rural non-Interstate roads have significantly higher rates of fatal crashes, with a traffic fatality rate of 1.91 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel, more than three times the 0.58 fatality rate on all other roads and highways in the state.

Increasing traffic congestion is causing delays and increasing business operating costs. The efficiency and condition of Ohio’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Annually, $563 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Ohio and another $493 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Ohio, mostly by truck.

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.

In addition to state and local funding, the federal government is a critical source of funding for Ohio’s roads, highways and bridges. However, after a series of short-term extensions by Congress, the current federal transportation legislation is set to expire on July 31, 2015. Many needed projects throughout the state will require significant federal funding in order to proceed by 2020. These projects include reconstruction of portions of Interstates 70 and 71 in the Columbus area, the reconfiguration of portions of Interstate 270 in the Columbus area, the widening of a portion of Interstate 80 in the Youngstown area, the widening and reconstruction of a portion of Interstate 77 in Cuyahoga County, the reconstruction of the Main Street/Broadway Street interchange with Interstate 76 in Akron, the construction of the Opportunity Corridor highway in the Cleveland area, the reconstruction and widening of portions of Interstate 75 in the Cincinnati area and the replacement of the Brent Spence Bridge over the Ohio River in Cincinnati. A full list of projects threatened by a lack of adequate federal funding can be found in the report’s Appendix.

“Ohio’s transportation system will become increasingly deteriorated and congested 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, Ohio 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.”

MODERNIZING OHIO’S TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM:

Progress and Challenges in Providing a Safe, Efficient and Well-Maintained Transportation System
Executive Summary

            Ohio’s extensive system of roads, highways, bridges and public transit 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 and quality of life for all Ohioans.

As Ohio looks to retain its businesses, maintain its level of economic competitiveness and achieve further economic growth, the state will need to continue 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, safe and reliable mobility for motorists and businesses. Making needed improvements to Ohio’s transportation system could also provide a 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.

Located within a day’s drive of 60 percent of the population of the United States and Canada, Ohio must continue to improve its transportation system to foster economic growth and keep and attract businesses. In addition to economic growth, transportation improvements are needed to ensure safe, reliable mobility. Meeting Ohio’s need to further modernize and maintain its transportation system of roads, highways, bridges and public transit will require significant local, state and federal funding.

In the face of stagnant transportation revenue growth, Ohio has been able to increase its construction investment in the state’s roads, highways and bridges from $1.6 billion in 2011 to $2.4 billion in 2014 and 2015. This was achieved by reducing operating costs through staff attrition and streamlining, modernizing budgeting practices, allowing greater flexibility to modify projects, improving the efficiency of project design and delivery, and the 2013 approval of the use of Ohio Turnpike bonds on transportation projects.

But the recently adopted state transportation budget reduces annual state highway and bridge construction spending to $1.9 billion in 2016 (contingent on the sale of Turnpike toll-backed bonds) and to $1.7 billion in 2017.

Increases in state transportation investment have kept Ohio’s state-maintained roads, highways and bridges largely in acceptable or good condition and have allowed numerous, needed road, highway and bridge projects to proceed. Despite this, the state faces an $11.6 billion backlog in needed but unfunded road, highway and bridge improvements.

Ohio also faces the following transportation challenges: improving the condition of locally-maintained roads, highways and bridges; maintaining the condition of state-maintained roads, highways and bridges; improving roadway safety; relieving traffic congestion; and, providing additional highway access to support economic growth. The state’s ability to address these challenges could be jeopardized by uncertainty in the future levels of federal transportation funding.

Achieving Ohio’s goals for a modern, well-maintained and safe transportation system will require significant transportation investment at the local, state and federal level.

TRIP OH 1Despite the lack of recent increases in state or federal transportation revenues, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) has been able to boost annual spending on roads, highways and bridges over the last four years through operational improvements and the use of bonds backed by the Ohio Turnpike. This increased investment has allowed Ohio to keep state-maintained roads, highways and bridges largely in acceptable condition. However, it has not been adequate to close a shortfall in needed transportation improvements in the state.

  • ODOT has been able to increase its construction investment in the state’s roads, highways and bridges from $1.6 billion in 2011 to $2.4 billion in 2014 and 2015.
  • The recently adopted state transportation budget reduces state highway and bridge construction spending to $1.9 billion in 2016 (contingent on the sale of Turnpike toll-backed bonds) and to $1.7 billion in 2017.
  • ODOT has made available an additional $182.5 million annually for roadway improvements through increased staff efficiency, the adoption of zero based budgeting standards which reduced the need to carry significant cash balances, by allowing greater flexibility to modify projects, and by improving the efficiency of project design and delivery.
  • In 2013 the Ohio General Assembly approved the use of Ohio Turnpike bond proceeds with the provision that 90 percent of the revenue be used on transportation projects within 75 miles of the Turnpike.
  • ODOT has an $11.6 billion backlog in needed road, highway and bridge improvements, which are currently unfunded.
  • Ohio faces a significant challenge in improving the condition of locally-maintained roads, highways and bridges; maintaining the condition of state-maintained roads, highways and bridges; improving roadway safety, particularly on rural roads; relieving traffic congestion; and, providing additional highway access needed to support economic growth.

Population, economic and travel growth have placed increased wear and tear and traffic congestion on Ohio’s major roads and highways.

  • Ohio’s population reached approximately 11.5 million in 2013, a six percent increase since 1990, when the state’s population was approximately 10.8 million. Ohio has approximately eight million licensed drivers.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Ohio increased 30 percent from 1990 to 2013 – from 87 billion VMT in 1990 to 113 billion VMT in 2013.
  • From 1990 to 2013, Ohio’s gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 39 percent, when adjusted for inflation.

Nearly one-quarter of Ohio’s locally and state-maintained urban roads are in poor condition, while four percent of the state’s rural roads are in poor condition.

  • Twenty-four percent of Ohio’s major locally and state-maintained urban roads and highways have pavements in poor condition, while an additional 41 percent are rated in mediocre or fair condition. The remaining 35 percent are rated in good condition.
  • Four percent of Ohio’s major locally and state-maintained rural roads and highways have pavements in poor condition, while an additional 37 percent are rated in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 59 percent are rated in good condition.
  • Pavements on state-maintained roads are generally in better condition than pavements on locally maintained roads. Pavements on 98 percent of state-maintained roads and highways, including both urban and rural, are in acceptable 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 need more complex and expensive reconstruction.
  • The chart below details the percentage of major locally and state-maintained roads in poor, mediocre, fair and good condition in the state’s major urban areas:

 

TRIP OH 2Approximately a quarter of locally and state-maintained bridges in Ohio 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.

  • Eight percent of Ohio’s locally or state-maintained 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.
  • Sixteen percent of Ohio’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.
  • Bridges on state-maintained road and highways are generally in better condition than bridges on locally maintained roads and bridges. Ninety-nine percent of state-maintained bridges in Ohio are in acceptable condition. 
  • The chart below details the percentage of bridges in the state’s major urban areas rated either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete:

TRIP OH 3ODOT has committed $130 million from 2014 to 2017 for repairs to deficient bridges.

Improving safety features on the state’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, 5,229 people were killed in traffic crashes in Ohio, an average of 1,046 fatalities per year.
  • Ohio’s overall traffic fatality rate of 0.88 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2013 is lower than the national average of 1.09.
  • The traffic fatality rate on Ohio’s non-Interstate rural roads in 2013 is more than three times higher than on all other roads and highways in the state – 1.91fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel compared to 0.58.
  • Several factors are associated with vehicle crashes that result in fatalities, including driver behavior, vehicle characteristics and roadway features. It is estimated 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.
  • The chart below details the average number of traffic fatalities in each of Ohio’s largest urban areas from 2011 to 2013.

THIP OH 4Traffic congestion causes significant delays in Ohio, particularly in 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 consumers.

  • Traffic congestion adds significant costs to consumers, transportation companies, manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers and can reduce the attractiveness of a location to companies looking to expand or 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 chart below details the average annual number of hours lost to congestion by each motorist in Ohio’s largest urban areas.

TRIP OH 5The efficiency of Ohio’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the state’s economy. Businesses rely on an efficient and reliable 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, $493 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Ohio and another $563 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Ohio, mostly by truck.
  • Seventy-eight percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in Ohio are carried by trucks and another 14 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 Ohio’s roads, highways and bridges and provides a significant return to Ohio in road and bridge funding based on the revenue generated in the state by the federal motor fuel tax.

  • From 2009 to 2013, the federal government provided $1.19 for road improvements in Ohio for every dollar the state paid in federal motor fuel and other highway user fees.
  • Since 2008, the federal government has augmented Highway Trust Fund revenues with $63 billion in general fund revenues, which has resulted in states getting back an average of $1.31 for road improvements for every $1 contributed in federal motor fuel fees and other highway user fees from 2009 to 2013.
  • Many needed projects throughout the state will require significant federal funding in order to proceed by 2020. These projects include reconstruction of portions of Interstates 70 and 71 in the Columbus area, the reconfiguration of portions of Interstate 270 in the Columbus area, the widening of a portion of Interstate 80 in the Youngstown area, the widening and reconstruction of a portion of Interstate 77 in Cuyahoga County, the reconstruction of the Main Street/Broadway Street interchange with Interstate 76 in Akron, the construction of the Opportunity Corridor highway in the Cleveland area, the reconstruction and widening of portions of Interstate 75 in the Cincinnati area and the replacement of the Brent Spence Bridge over the Ohio River in Cincinnati. A full list of projects threatened by a lack of federal funding can be found in the report’s Appendix.

Sources of information for this report include the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the U. S. Census Bureau, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO),the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). All data used in the report are the most recent available.

 

ECA Taps Devine to Manage Midwest Sales

John Devine, Midwest Regional Sales Manager

John Devine, Midwest Regional Sales Manager

Equipment Corporation of America (ECA), the leading distributor of foundation construction equipment in North America, has named John Devine Midwest Regional Sales Manager. He will manage all of the firm’s product lines in Western Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota.

Devine has 25 years of construction equipment sales experience in his coverage area. His specialties include sales management, branch management, and territory and product line expansion in both distribution and manufacturing.

“We look forward to John’s contribution to ECA due to his wealth of experience in the manufacturing and distribution of construction equipment,” said Executive Vice President Ben Dutton. “His local knowledge and reputation will complement the ECA brand.”

Devine, a resident of Germantown, Wisconsin, graduated from University of Wisconsin with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. He enjoys hunting, recreational sports, and home improvement projects in his spare time.

About Equipment Corporation of America: ECA has been a leading supplier of foundation construction equipment in the Eastern United States and Eastern Canada for nearly a century. We are exclusive distributors for BAUER Drills, Klemm Anchor and Micropile Drills, RTG Piling Rigs, Pileco Diesel Pile Hammers, HPSI Vibratory Pile Hammers, Word International Drill Attachments, Dawson Construction Products, and Grizzly Side Grip Vibros. ECA offers sales, rentals, service, and parts from six facilities throughout the Eastern U.S. and Eastern Canadian Provinces.

Toro Continues to Expand Underground Dealer Network

home_logoToro Broadens Distribution in North America with Two New Dealers

The Toro Company is pleased to welcome two additional equipment dealers to their expanding distribution network. The new dealers will carry the full line of Toro underground equipment, including directional drills, compact utility loaders, trenchers, vibratory plows and stump grinders.

Eagle Power & Equipment, based in Montgomeryville, Pennsylvania is one of the new underground dealers. For over 40 years, Eagle Power & Equipment has represented major equipment manufacturers in the tri-state area and has a strong focus on reliable equipment and exceptional customer service.

Indianapolis-based Best Equipment will also carry the full line, and has been providing quality equipment solutions to contractors in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky since 1917. Also providing their customers with a high level of support, Best Equipment’s core values match up with those of The Toro Company.

“It’s been a pleasure to work with these two new organizations, and we are thrilled to welcome them to the Toro underground family,” explains Butch Greeninger, director of sales for The Toro Company. “By forming strategic partnerships with dealers whose core values align closely with our own, we can ensure that contractors are receiving the best equipment solutions available, backed by a consistent track record of exceptional service and support.”

To learn more about Eagle Power & Equipment, please visit eaglepowerandequipment.com. To learn more about Best Equipment, please visit bestequipmentco.com.

For more information on Toro’s full line of directional drills, trenchers, vibratory plows, compact utility loaders and stump grinders, visit www.toro.com/underground. To learn more about the newest underground dealers, or Toro’s distribution network, visit www.toro.com/locator.

About The Toro Company

The Toro Company (NYSE: TTC) is a leading worldwide provider of innovative solutions for the outdoor environment including turf, snow and ground engaging equipment, and irrigation and outdoor lighting solutions. With sales of $2.2 billion in fiscal 2014, Toro’s global presence extends to more than 90 countries.  Through constant innovation and caring relationships built on trust and integrity, Toro and its family of brands have built a legacy of excellence by helping customers care for golf courses, landscapes, sports fields, public green spaces, commercial and residential properties and agricultural fields. For more information, visit www.toro.com

Strata Systems, Inc. Hires Midwest Regional Sales Manager

Scott Czewski, P.E. Midwest Regional Sales Manager

Scott Czewski, P.E. Midwest Regional Sales Manager

Soil reinforcement product manufacturer and distributor, Strata Systems, Inc., has recently selected Scott Czewski, P.E. as its new Midwest Regional Sales ManagerCzewski joins Strata as part of an initiative to develop new business opportunities in the Midwest, and in Strata’s growing base reinforcement and road infrastructure business, and to manage all of Strata’s existing partners.  He’ll service all Midwestern states from Texas, north to the Canadian border and east to Indiana.

Czewski was selected due to his extensive civil engineering and sales background, which totals more than 15 years. He was previously employed at CSI Geoturf in Michigan as a project consultant where he generated engineering specifications for products, developed concepts and methodologies for cost-effective design and performed internal sales and installation training. Czewski holds a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from Michigan State University and is a licensed professional engineer.

To learn more about Strata Systems, Inc., visit www.geogrid.com.