TRIP Reports on Hawaii’s Road Conditions

Deficient Hawaii Roads Cost Each Honolulu Driver More Than $1,500 Annually, $1.1 Billion Statewide; Boost In Transportation Funding Needed To Improve Road And Bridge Conditions, Support State’s Economy And Improve Traffic Safety

Nearly two-thirds of Hawaii’s major roads are deteriorated and almost half of the state’s bridges are in need of repair or replacement, while a majority of urban roads are congested. Traveling on roads that are deteriorated, congested or that lack some desirable safety features costs the average Honolulu driver more than $1,500 annually, a total of $1.1 billion statewide. This is according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation research organization.

According to the TRIP report, Providing Safe and Efficient Mobility in Hawaii: The Cost to Drivers of Deficient Roads, Highway Congestion and Traffic Crashes,” an increase in local, state and federal transportation funding will be required in order to make needed repairs to deteriorated roads and bridges and to alleviate congestion and enhance traffic safety. The TRIP report includes lists of the sections of roadway and bridges that are most deteriorated and in need of repair or replacement.

The TRIP report states that, according to the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT), a total of 47 percent of lane miles of Hawaii’s major roadways are rated in poor condition and an additional 14 percent are rated in mediocre condition. Seventeen percent of lane miles of major roadways are rated in fair condition and an additional 22 percent are rated in good condition. These include roads that are maintained by HDOT as well as individual counties. In Honolulu, 62 percent of major roads are in poor condition, the third highest share among cities with a population of 500,000 or more. Driving on roads in need of repair costs each Honolulu motorist an average of $701 each year in the form of accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs and increased fuel consumption and tire wear. The TRIP report includes a list of the 25 sections of roadway throughout the state that are the most deteriorated and in need of repair or replacement.

In addition to deteriorated road conditions, 13 percent of the state’s bridges were structurally deficient and an additional 32 percent were functionally obsolete in 2011. HDOT estimates that the current cost to replace or rehabilitate all structurally deficient bridges in the state totals $500 million. The TRIP report identifies the 25 structurally deficient bridges in the state that are most in need of repair or replacement.“Unless Hawaii is able to secure additional transportation dollars, many needed projects will remain stranded on the drawing board because of insufficient funding,” said Will Wilkins, executive director of TRIP. “It is critical that Hawaii adequately fund its transportation system. Funding must be robust at the state and local level and Congress must move forward on immediate reauthorization of the federal surface transportation program. Thousands of jobs and the state’s economy are riding on it.”

The TRIP report also finds that 45 percent of Hawaii’s major urban roads are congested. In Honolulu, the average rush hour trip takes approximately 18 percent longer to complete than during non- rush hour. Congestion related delays cost the average peak-hour driver in the Honolulu area $620 each year in lost time and wasted fuel.

Although the state experienced a significant drop in traffic fatalities from 2006 to 2010, a total of 628 people lost their lives on the state’s roads during that time – an average of 126 fatalities each year. Hawaii’s traffic fatality rate of 1.13 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2010 is slightly higher than the national average of 1.11. In the Honolulu area, where there were 60 traffic fatalities in 2010, traffic crashes in which roadway design may have been a contributing factor cost each driver approximately $206 each year. The cost of serious crashes includes lost productivity, lost earnings, medical costs and emergency services.

Construction officials noted that thousands more construction workers would be employed today if Congress weren’t years late in passing the highway and transit bill. “What makes these job losses even more frustrating is the fact that many of them could have been avoided,” said John Romanowski, president of the General Contractors Association of Hawaii, the statewide chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America and vice president of local asphalt firm Jas. W. Glover Ltd.

He noted that according to new data from the Associated General Contractors, the Honolulu area lost a higher percentage of construction jobs than most metro areas in the United States between January 2011 and January 2012. Specifically, the Honolulu area lost another 600 construction jobs, a 3 percent decrease, while the nation as a whole added 111,000 jobs or a 2 percent increase. “There is little doubt that far more jobs would have been created if a surface transportation bill were in place today.

Full report can be viewed at: http://www.tripnet.org/docs/HI_TRIP_Report_March_2012.pdf

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