Tag Archive for 'Bureau of Economic Analysis'

ABC Reports: Nonresidential Fixed Investment Expands Again During Solid Third Quarter

1291931467352794367Real gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 2.9 percent on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate during the third quarter of 2016, according to an analysis of Bureau of Economic Analysis data released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). This follows a 1.4 percent increase during the second quarter and represents the tenth consecutive quarter of economic expansion.

Nonresidential fixed investment, a category closely aligned with construction and other forms of business investment, expanded at a 1.2 percent annualized rate during the third quarter after growing 1 percent during the second. Investment in structures led the way, increasing by 5.4 percent in the third quarter after falling 2.1 percent during the second. Investment in equipment fell 2.7 percent for the quarter, while investment in intellectual property products expanded 4 percent. Residential investment continued to fall, declining 6.2 percent in the third quarter after falling 7.7 percent during the second.

“Today’s GDP release will generally be viewed favorably both for the construction industry and for the larger economy,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “The acceleration in real GDP growth was driven by a combination of factors, including an upturn in exports, a smaller decrease in state and local government spending and an upturn in federal government spending. One of the biggest impacts came from greater private inventory investment, likely in response to expectations for reasonably strong consumer spending. Growth in personal consumption expenditures was responsible for almost half of third quarter GDP growth. However, this build in inventories is likely to subtract from economic growth in future quarters, though not massively.

“According to the most recent data available from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, nonresidential investment in structures has contributed little to GDP over the past five quarters,” said Basu. “While there are certain categories of nonresidential construction that have been active in terms of spending growth, including the office, lodging and commercial categories, for the most part spending growth has been lackluster.

“Third quarter growth was solid, but future quarters may not be as good,” said Basu. “The economy will have to deal with a number of headwinds going forward, including a stronger dollar, building inflationary pressures and higher interest rates. Consumer spending growth will continue to lead the recovery. While this will help support construction spending in certain categories, including distribution centers, nonresidential investment in structures is likely to expand only slowly in early 2017.”

The following highlights emerged from today’s third quarter GDP release. All growth figures are presented as seasonally adjusted annualized rates:

  • Personal consumption expenditures expanded 2.1 percent on an annualized basis during the third quarter of 2016 after growing 4.3 percent during the second quarter of 2016.
  • Spending on goods rose 2.2 percent during the third quarter after expanding by 7.1 percent during the previous quarter.
  • Real final sales of domestically produced output increased 2.3 percent in the third quarter after increasing 2.6 percent in the second.
  • Federal government spending expanded 2.5 percent in the year’s third quarter after contracting during each of the prior two quarters.
  • Nondefense government spending increased 3 percent during the quarter following an increase of 3.8 percent during the second.
  • National defense spending grew by 2.1 percent during the third quarter after registering a 3.2 percent decline in the previous quarter.
  • State and local government spending fell by 0.7 percent in the third quarter after falling 2.5 percent in the second quarter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Texas’ Most Critical Highway

Projects to Support Economic Growth and

Quality of Life

 Executive Summary

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

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

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

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

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

AUSTIN

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

DALLAS-FORT WORTH

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

HOUSTON

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

SAN ANTONIO

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

OTHER TEXAS REGIONS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

The report, Utah’s Most Critical Surface Transportation Projects to Support Economic Growth and Quality of Life,” identifies the transportation improvements most needed to support economic growth and quality of life in Utah. These improvements include projects to build, expand or modernize highways or bridges, as well as improvements and capacity expansion to the state’s rail and public transportation systems. Making these needed transportation improvements would enhance economic development opportunities throughout the state by increasing mobility and freight movement, easing congestion, improving safety, and making Utah 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 most needed transportation improvements to support economic growth in the Wasatch Front area, as identified by the TRIP report, are as follows. Additional information about each project can be found in the report.

UTAH 1The TRIP report also identifies the most needed improvements in Central Utah, the Provo/Orem/Mountainland Region, and Southern Utah. Additional information about each project can be found in the report.

UTAH 2According to the TRIP report, eight percent of Utah’s major urban roads are in poor condition, while nine percent of the state’s rural roads are in poor condition. Three percent of bridges are structurally deficient, meaning they have significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. An additional 11 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.

“Utah’s Unified Transportation Plan identifies the comprehensive investments in state and local roads, transit and bike projects needed across Utah,” said Andrew Gruber, Executive Director of the Wasatch Front Regional Council. “If funded, the $11.3 billion shortfall identified for our critical transportation projects will support our growing economy, improve our air quality and enhance our overall quality of life.”

According to Utah’s Unified Transportation Plan, the state will need a total of $70.1 billion over the next 30 years to fund needed highway and transit maintenance, operations, preservation and capacity expansions. However, during that time, only $43.4 billion will be available from current revenue sources, leaving a funding gap which includes $11.3 billion in prioritized transportation improvements that remain unfunded over the next 30 years.

Enhancing critical segments of Utah’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 the quality of life for the state’s residents and visitors by reducing travel delays and transportation costs, improving access and mobility, improving safety, and stimulating sustained job growth. Sustaining Utah’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 Utah’s transportation system and addressing these challenges by improving the condition and efficiency of the state’s roads, bridges and transit systems will be an effective step in boosting the state’s economy, enhancing quality of life and making Utah an attractive place to live, work and visit,” said Will Wilkins, executive director of TRIP.

Utah’s Most Critical Surface Transportation

Projects to Support Economic Growth and

Quality of Life

Executive Summary

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

To achieve sustainable economic growth, Utah must proceed with numerous projects to improve key roads, bridges and public transit systems. Enhancing critical segments of Utah’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 the quality of life for the state’s residents and visitors by reducing travel delays and transportation costs, improving access and mobility, improving safety, and stimulating sustained job growth.

In this report, TRIP examines recent transportation and economic trends in Utah and provides information on the transportation projects in the state that are most needed to support economic growth. Sources of data include the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), 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 Wasatch Front Regional Council, the Utah Transit Authority (UTA), the Mountainland Association of Regional Governments, the Dixie Metropolitan Planning Association, the Cache Metropolitan Planning Organization, and the U.S. Census Bureau. All data used in the report is the latest available. 

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

  • The most needed Utah transportation improvements include projects to build, expand or modernize highways or bridges, as well as improvements and capacity expansion to the state’s rail and public transportation systems. These improvements would enhance economic development opportunities throughout the state by increasing mobility and freight movement, easing congestion, and making Utah an attractive place to live, visit and do business.
  • TRIP identified and evaluated each transportation project based on a the following criteria: short-term economic benefits, including job creation; the level of improvement in the condition of the transportation facility, including safety improvements; the degree of improvement in access and mobility; and, the long-term improvement provided in regional or state economic performance and competitiveness.
  • The most needed transportation projects, as identified by TRIP, have been broken down geographically and are listed below.

WASATCH FRONT

  • Construction of the SR-85/Mountain View Corridor. This $1.3 billion project would provide six to eight lanes of new capacity over approximately 30 miles of roadway, providing for a continuous North-South freeway through the entire Salt Lake Valley and another freeway link into Utah County. The new route will help alleviate the highest volume areas of I-15, which are frequently congested and have limited options for widening.
  • Adding Two General Purpose Lanes on I-15 in Box Elder and Weber Counties. This $195 million project would add two general purpose lanes along nearly 13 miles of I-15, from the Box Elder County Line to Brigham City South Interchange, and from 2700 North to the Box Elder County Line. This portion of I-15 experiences heavy truck traffic and is the primary link between the Wasatch Front and the Northwest. Additional capacity will aid the flow of freight, goods and commuters.
  • Widening and Reconstruction of SR-201 in Salt Lake County. This $103 million project would widen and reconstruct approximately 18 miles of SR-201 from I-80 to Mountain View. SR-201 is a major freeway through the freight and warehousing district of Salt Lake City. Increasing congestion has slowed the flow of freight, goods and commuters.
  • Bus System Optimization. Significant new bus improvements are planned. Currently UTA only operates 12 all day high frequency bus corridors. Under the Bus System Optimization Project UTA would provide an expanded high frequency network, 10 additional routes with a total of 128 route miles. As part of the project enhance stops and customer waiting areas would be developed. Buses would run every 15 minutes with the same schedule as the regional rail system at a total cost of $256 million. Additionally, UTA needs a new alternative fuels bus garage, which would cost $80 million as well as 3 CNG maintenance facilities at a cost of $10 million each and to replace existing buses and expand the fleet which could total over 900 buses over 5 years. Total cost for all improvements is estimated at $366 million.
  • Widening and Reconstruction of I-15 in Davis County. This $91 million project would widen and reconstruct 11 miles of I-15 from US-89 to I-215. This portion of I-15 experiences heavy commuter traffic. Due to geographic constraints, the construction of parallel corridors is unlikely. Additional capacity will aid the flow of freight, goods and commuters.
  • Commuter Rail (FrontRunner) Community Connection Projects. With the addition of the Utah County segment ridership has increased significantly. The following projects are needed to further connect the system: Ogden Streetcar project to connect from the Ogden Intermodal Hub to Weber State University; South Davis – this Bus Rapid Transit project would connect from the Woodscross Commuter Rail Station to North Temple Commuter/Light Rail Transit station and Downtown Salt Lake City; the Salt Lake City Streetcar project, which would provide a streetcar connection between the intermodal center and downtown; the Murray Taylorsville Bus Rapid Transit route from Murray Central Station to the Main Salt Lake Community College Campus; the Sandy South Jordan Circulator Project to connect the South Jordan Commuter Rail station to TRAX Light Rail, as well as significant employment and residential areas in the two cities and the Southwest Salt Lake County project, which would extend the Redline Light Rail line to Draper Commuter Rail Station and the Blue Line in Draper. The total estimated cost for these projects is: $1.46 billion.
  • Widening and Reconstruction of Portions of State Route 108 in Weber and Davis Counties. This $122 million project would widen and reconstruct approximately six miles of State Route 108 from Midland Drive in Weber County to approximately four miles west of the Weber County/Davis County line. The widening of State Route 108, which is a major North/South roadway in the area is needed to aid the flow of freight, goods and commuters in the rapidly growing Western Davis County area.
  • New I-15 Interchanges at 1800N and Shepard Lane. These projects, totaling $109 million, would add two new interchanges to address the high traffic volumes on I-15 and provide improved access to Davis County. The new interchanges will alleviate congestion at adjacent interchanges and improve access to I-15 for Falcon Hill and other developments in the area.
  • Widening and Reconstruction of I-15 near Hill Air Force Base. These projects, totaling $91 million, would widen and reconstruct two sections of I-15: from I-84 to the Davis County Line, and from the Weber County Line to Hill Field Road. Along with servicing heavy commuter traffic, this portion of I-15 is adjacent to Hill Air Force Base, a site planned for major economic development. The additional capacity will aid the flow of freight, goods and commuters while improving access to Hill Air Force Base.
  • Electrification and Double Tracking of Commuter Rail First Phase. This $600 million project would allow for double tracking and electrification on the commuter rail line, enabling UTA to operate the commuter rail line much more reliably and provide the capability to offer more frequent service. The project will also enable UTA to move from diesel to electrical power, thereby reducing direct emissions in the urban area.

CENTRAL UTAH

  • Adding Uphill Passing Lanes to US-40. This $108 million project would add uphill passing lanes to more than 96 miles of US-40 in Duchesne, Uinath, and Wasatch Counties. US-40 is a major regional connector to the Wasatch Back and Eastern Utah and serves high percentages of recreational and freight traffic. Passing lanes will help slow-moving trucks to traverse steep grades with less interference to traffic flow.
  • Adding Uphill Passing Lanes to US-191. This $58 million project would add 38 miles of passing lanes to US-191 in Duchesne, Uinath and Dagget Counties. These portions of US-191 provide access to important energy and tourism areas in the Uinath Basin. Passing lanes will help slow-moving trucks to traverse steep grades with less interference to traffic flow.
  • Interchange Improvements and a New Interchange at Kimball Junction. This $50 million project would construct a new interchange and improve the existing interchange at Kimball Junction, which is a gateway into the major tourist destination of Park City. Severe congestion already occurs on peak ski days and there is strong employment growth in the area. Increased interchange capacity will allow for better access to Park City for tourists and commuters.
  • Adding Two General Purpose Lanes to a portion of I-80. This $161 million project would add two general purpose lanes to nearly seven miles of I-80 from milepost 99 to 106. This portion of I-80 experiences heavy truck traffic and is the primary link between the Wasatch Front and the Pacific coast. Additional capacity will aid the flow of freight, goods and commuters.
  • Adding Two General Purpose or HOV Lanes to SR-248 in Park City. This $11 million project would add two general purpose or HOV lanes to SR-248. This route is the main gateway into Park City and experiences severe congestion on peak ski days. The additional lanes will allow for better access to Park City for tourists and commuters.

PROVO/OREM/MOUNTAINLAND REGION

  • Utah County Bus Improvements. 32 miles of Bus Rapid Transit and Bus Plus improvement are needed in Utah County to improve regional transit service. The total cost of the needed improvements is estimated at $127 million.
  • Adding a new HOV interchange at I-15 and 800 S. This $93 million project would construct a new HOV interchange at I-15 and 800 S, relieving congestion and allowing for better access to Utah Valley University and the future Orem Intermodal Center.
  • Bus Rapid Transit in Provo. This $150 million project would provide new bus rapid transit service that would allow for transit connections from commuter rail to major destinations in the Provo/Orem area, including Brigham Young University.
  • SR-75 Widening and Reconstruction in Springville. This $36 million project would widen and reconstruct parts of SR 75 from I-15 to Main Street in in Springville. These routes service a major industrial area in northern Springville. The additional capacity will aid the flow of freight, goods and commuters in the area.
  • Draper to Orem Light Rail Line. This $1.5 billion project would extend the existing light rail line from Draper into Utah County.
  • Widening and Reconstruction of Portion of U.S. 89 in Utah County. This $7 million project would widen and reconstruct a 2.2 mile portion of U.S. 89 from American Fork Main Street to Lehigh Main. U.S. 89 (State Street) is one of the most congested roads in northern Utah. The widening and reconstruction of this section of U.S. 89 would improve the movement of freight, goods and commuters through this corridor.

WASHINGTON COUNTY / DIXIE METROPOLITAN PLANNING ASSOCIATION/ SOUTHERN UTAH

  • Adding New Capacity to the Western Corridor in Washington County. This $92.5 million project would add new capacity to the Western Corridor from Old Highway 91 to Snow Canyon Parkway, and from MP 2 to Old Highway 91. The Western Corridor has been planned to help meet the transportation needs of the rapidly growing St. George area. This corridor will link the Santa Clara area to I-15 and provide service to large developable areas.
  • Widening and reconstructing Segments of I-15 in Washington County. This $133 million project would widen and reconstruct four portions of I-15 in Washington County. Southern Utah is one of the fastest growing areas of the state. I-15 is the primary corridor for movement within the area and services freight flow from the Pacific coast. Additional capacity will aid the flow of freight, goods and commuters.
  • Complete the New Southern Parkway in St. This $49 million project would construct a new four-lane freeway from Warner Valley Road to Washington Dam Road. When all phases are completed, the new freeway will link St. George to Hurricane and provide service to the new airport and developable areas.
  • Adding Uphill Passing Lanes to Three Sections of I-15. These projects, totaling $72 million, would add uphill passing lanes to three sections of I-15 in Millard, Beaver and Iron Counties. The steep grades on I-15 in central Utah contribute to slower truck speeds. Passing lanes will help slow-moving trucks to traverse steep grades with less interference to traffic flow.
  • Intersection Improvements on SR-18 in Washington County. This $18.5 million project would improve key intersections on SR-18, which provides key access between St. George and rapidly growing areas of Santa Clara and Ivins. These intersection improvements will help eliminate traffic bottlenecks and improve corridor progression on SR-18.

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

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

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

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

While Utah’s diverse economy has been impacted by the recession, the state’s transportation system will need to accommodate projected future growth.

  • From 1990 to 2013, Utah’s population increased by 68 percent, from approximately 1.8 million to approximately 2.9 million. Utah’s population is expected to increase to 4.4 million by 2030.
  • From 1990 to 2013, annual vehicle-miles-of-travel (VMT) in the state increased by 84 percent, from approximately 14.6 billion VMT to 27 billion VMT. This was the second highest increase in the nation during this timeframe. Based on travel and population trends, TRIP estimates that vehicle travel in Utah will increase another 40 percent by 2030.
  • Utah has benefited from a diverse economy, which includes significant employment in the following sectors: mining, agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, information technology, finance and petroleum production.
  • Every year, approximately $107 billion in goods are shipped annually from sites in Utah and another $102 billion in goods are shipped annually to sites in Utah, mostly by truck. 
  • Sixty percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in Utah are carried by trucks and another 14 percent are carried by parcel, U.S. Postal Service or courier services, which use trucks for part of the deliveries.

Utah’s economy is served by an extensive surface transportation system that has some deficiencies that will need to be addressed in the coming years. However, over the next 30 years, the state will face a transportation funding shortfall of nearly $27 billion in funds needed for roadway and transit operations, maintenance, expansion and preservation.

  • Utah’s system of 45,124 miles of roads and 2,946 bridges, maintained by local, state and federal governments, carry 27 billion vehicle miles of travel annually.
  • Eight percent of Utah’s major urban state and locally maintained roads and highways have pavements in poor condition. Fifty-one percent of the state’s urban roads are rated as either mediocre or fair and the remaining 41 percent are rated in good condition.
  • Nine percent of Utah’s major rural state and locally maintained roads and highways have pavements in poor condition. Fifty-four percent of the state’s rural roads are rated as either mediocre or fair and the remaining 37 percent are rated in good condition.
  • As Utah’s roads and highways continue to age, they will reach a point where routine paving and maintenance will not be adequate to keep pavement surfaces in good condition and costly reconstruction of the roadway and its underlying surfaces will become necessary.
  • Investing in lower-cost, routine roadway repairs and preservation can extend the life of Utah’s roadways and prevent or postpone more costly repairs and reconstruction. It is critical that roads are fixed before they require major repairs because reconstructing roads costs approximately four times more than resurfacing them.
  • Three percent of Utah’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, 11 percent of Utah’s bridges were rated as functionally obsolete. Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet current highway design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.
  • It is estimated that UTA will spend up to $10.5 billion to operate transit service over the next 30 years.
  • UTA has identified $2.9 billion in future state of good repairs over the next 30 years. State of good repair projects include replacement of light rail and commuter rail rolling stock and track and facilities replacement and upgrades.
  • According to Utah’s Unified Transportation Plan, the state will need a total of $70.1 billion over the next 30 years to fund needed highway and transit maintenance, operations, preservation and capacity expansions. However, during that time, only $43.4 billion will be available from current revenue sources, leaving a funding gap which includes $11.3 billion in prioritized transportation improvements that remain unfunded over the next 30 years.

State and local transportation agencies are increasingly taking an approach to road, highway, transit infrastructure and bridge preservation that emphasizes enhanced maintenance techniques that keep infrastructure in good condition as long as possible, delaying the need for costly reconstruction or replacement.

  • Under pressure from fiscal constraints, aging roads, highways and bridges, and increased wear due to growing travel volume, particularly by large trucks, transportation agencies are adopting cost-effective strategies focused on maintaining roads, highways and bridges in good condition as long as possible. While this strategy requires increased initial investment, it saves money over the long run by extending the lifespan of transportation
  • UTA has developed a sophisticated assets management system to better understand maintenance needs. With a comprehensive inventory of all assets and conditions UTA can provide better maintenance to ensure the longest possible life of assets and provide the best service to customers.
  • It is critical that roads are fixed before they require major repairs because reconstructing roads costs approximately four times more than resurfacing them.
  • A 2010 Federal Highway Administration report found that an over-reliance on short-term pavement repairs will fail to provide the long-term structural integrity needed in a roadway surface to guarantee the future performance of a paved road or highway.
  • The Federal Highway Administration report also warned that transportation agencies that focus only on current pavement surface conditions will eventually face a highway network with an overwhelming backlog of pavement rehabilitation and replacement needs.
  • Preventive pavement maintenance treatments include sealing a road surface to prevent moisture from entering cracks in the pavement, applying thin pavement overlays, correcting small surface irregularities and improving surface drainage and friction.
  • A preventive maintenance approach to keeping pavements in good condition has been found to reduce overall pavement life cycle costs by approximately one-third over a 25-year period.
  • At a 2011 national bridge preservation conference called “Beyond the Short Term,” hosted by the Federal Highway Administration, the 350 attendees from transportation agencies and private firms voted that the most important lesson they had learned at the meetings was that bridges should be actively managed so that they remain in sound condition for as long as possible.
  • Improvements in bridge inspections, materials and construction techniques are allowing transportation agencies to move increasingly from a worst-first approach to bridge preservation to a more systematic, proactive strategy of preventive maintenance and preservation.
  • Road, highway and bridge preservation projects provide significant economic benefits by improving travel speeds, capacity, load-carrying abilities and safety, and reducing operating costs for people and businesses.   Road, highway and bridge repairs also extend the service life of a road, highway or bridge, which saves money by either postponing or eliminating the need for more expensive future repairs.

Sources of data include the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), the Utah Transit Authority (UTA), 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 Wasatch Front Regional Council, the Mountainland Association of Regional Governments, the Dixie Metropolitan Planning Association, the Cache Metropolitan Planning Organization, and the U.S. Census Bureau. All data used in the report is the latest available.

TRIP Reports: The Top 50 Transportation Projects to Support Economic Growth and Quality of Life in New Mexico

TRIPNew Report Identifies New Mexico’s 50 Most Needed Transportation Projects For Economic Growth; Projects Would Improve, Modernize And Expand Road And Transit Systems To Support And Grow The State’s Economy

In order to adequately support New Mexico’s existing industries and provide for additional economic growth, the state will need to make numerous improvements to its surface transportation system. This is according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation research organization.

TRIP’s report, “The Top 50 Surface Transportation Projects to Support Economic Growth and Quality of Life in New Mexico,” identifies and ranks the projects needed to provide New Mexico with a transportation system that can support the increased movement of people, goods and resources throughout the state.  The most needed surface transportation improvements in New Mexico include projects to build, expand or modernize highways or bridges, projects to improve rail or public transportation, and multi-modal projects. These improvements would enhance economic development opportunities throughout the state by increasing mobility and freight movement, easing congestion, and making New Mexico an attractive place to live, visit and do business.

According to the TRIP report, the most needed projects for the state’s economic growth are as follows

1.     US 491 expansion to four lanes from Twin Lakes to Naschitti

2.     Reconstruction of US 64 from Farmington to McGee Park.

3.     Reconstruction of I-25 Gibson, Cesar Chavez and Lead/Coal Interchanges.

4.     Adding two lanes to US 82 from Artesia to Lovington.

5.     Reconstruction of the Comanche, Montgomery, Jefferson, San Mateo and San Antonio I-25 Interchanges.

6.     Reconstruction and rehabilitation of NM 68 in Espanola.

7.     Construction of Central Corridor Bus Rapid Transit in Albuquerque.

8.     Addition of a third lane on I-25 between the Rio Bravo and Broadway Interchanges.

9.     Construction of a new four-lane roadway with bike and pedestrian amenities over the Animas River in Farmington.

10.  Construction of a new river crossing from I-25 to NM 47 in Valencia County.

A full list of needed projects, descriptions and their impact on economic development can be found in the appendix of the report. TRIP ranked each transportation project based on a rating system that considered the following: 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.

“New Mexico’s highways and bridges form a vital statewide transportation network, which is essential not only in supporting a healthy economy for our state, but also in providing safe, reliable access to homes, schools, healthcare, shopping and recreation,” said Mike Beck, executive director of the Associated Contractors of New Mexico.  “In order to protect the investment already made in our surface transportation system, we must not fall behind in our efforts to enhance and expand that system.”

Enhancing critical segments of New Mexico’s surface 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 by reducing travel delays and transportation costs, improving access and mobility, improving safety, and stimulating sustained job growth, improving the quality of life for the state’s residents and visitors.

Sustaining New Mexico’s long-term economic growth and maintaining the state’s high quality of life will require increased investment in expanding the capacity of the state’s surface transportation system, which will enhance business productivity and support short- and long-term job creation in the state.

“Increasing investment in New Mexico’s transportation network of roads, bridges and transit is vital to boosting the state’s economy and the quality of life of its residents,” said Will Wilkins, executive director of TRIP. “In the short term, transportation investment creates good jobs, but the long-term benefits of an efficient transportation system connecting New Mexico’s residents, communities and businesses can span generations. If state and federal lawmakers fail to provide adequate transportation funding, New Mexico and the nation will lose their competitive edge and the state’s transportation system will become increasingly deteriorated and gridlocked.”

Executive Summary

New Mexico’s transportation system has played a significant role in the state’s development, providing mobility and access for residents, visitors, businesses and industry.  The state’s roads, highways, rails and public transit systems remain the backbone of the Land of Enchantment’s economy.  New Mexico’s transportation system also provides for a high quality of life and makes the state a desirable place to live and visit.  The condition and quality of its transportation system will play a critical role in New Mexico’s ability to capitalize on its economic advantages and meet the demands of the 21st Century

To achieve sustainable economic growth, New Mexico must proceed with numerous projects to improve key roads, bridges, highways and transit systems.  Enhancing critical segments of New Mexico’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 the quality of life for the state’s residents and visitors by reducing travel delays and transportation costs, improving access and mobility, improving safety, and stimulating sustained job growth.

In this report, TRIP examines recent transportation and economic trends in New Mexico and provides information on the transportation projects in the state that are most needed to support economic growth.  Sources of data include the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT), 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 and the U.S. Census Bureau.  All data used in the report is the latest available.

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

  • The most needed transportation improvements in New Mexico include projects to build, expand or modernize roads, highways, bridges and public transit systems throughout the state.  These improvements would enhance economic development opportunities throughout the state by increasing mobility and freight movement, easing congestion, and making New Mexico an attractive place to live, visit and do business.
  • TRIP evaluated each transportation 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.
  • New Mexico’s 10 most needed transportation projects to support economic development in the state as determined by TRIP follow. A list of the top 50 needed projects and descriptions can be found in the appendix.
  • 11.  US 491 expansion to four lanes from Twin Lakes to Naschitti. This $89 million project would widen the remaining 26.8 miles of two-lane roadway to four- lanes. US 491 is the only feasible north-south corridor in the region that will support heavy truck traffic. Completion of this project would allow for more efficient transport of coal, oil and other goods, while enhancing safety and boosting tourism.
  • 12.  Reconstruction of US 64 from Farmington to McGee Park. This $40 million project would reconstruct a four-mile portion of US 64 to provide additional capacity and access management. This project will provide additional capacity and increased safety resulting in improved transportation and economic opportunities in the region.
  • 13.  Reconstruction of the I-25 Gibson, Cesar Chavez and Lead/Coal Interchanges. This $200 million project would eliminate the S-curve on I-25 and reconstruct the I-25 Gibson, Cesar Chavez and Lead/Coal Interchanges. Completion of this project will improve mobility in the area and enhance access to and from the area to the Interstate system.
  • 14.  Adding two lanes to US 82 from Artesia to Lovington. This $95 million project would construct two additional lanes to make a four-lane facility from Artesia to Lovington. Completion of this project will accommodate the increased traffic due to the oil and gas industry in southeastern New Mexico.
  • 15.  Reconstruction of the Comanche, Montgomery, Jefferson, San Mateo and San Antonio I-25 Interchanges. This $125 million project would reconstruct the Comanche, Montgomery, Jefferson, San Mateo and San Antonio Interchanges on I-25 to alleviate congestion and improve mobility on I-25.
  • 16.  Reconstruction and rehabilitation of NM 68 in Espanola. This $70 million project would reconstruct 35 miles of NM 68 to four lanes, with auxiliary lanes along two-lane sections. This corridor serves commuter and recreational traffic in the region. Completion of the project would address operation and safety concerns.
  • 17.  Construction of a Bus Rapid Transit system in the Central Corridor in Albuquerque. This project would construct a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system along the Central Corridor in Albuquerque, from I-40 and Tramway Boulevard to I-40 and Atrisco Vista. This would include a combination of dedicated busway and mixed flow lanes within the current right-of-way. Central Avenue is a key connector of transit destinations and serves a large part of the transit-dependent population of the city. The institution of a BRT system would create more timely and dependable transit options and would assist in redevelopment of the vacant or underused land along the Corridor.
  • 18.  Addition of a third lane on I-25 between the Rio Bravo and Broadway Interchanges. This $50 million project would add a third lane to five miles of I-25 between the Rio Bravo and Broadway Interchanges to address congestion and improve mobility on I-25.
  • 19.  Construction of a new four-lane roadway with bike and pedestrian amenities over the Animas River in Farmington. This $22 million extension of Pinon Hills Boulevard would create a new river crossing and connect the retail district along East Main St to the developing area of unincorporated San Juan County east of the river.  This connection would reduce out-of-direction travel that motorists currently experience.  This road extension would help alleviate traffic volumes on the two nearest river crossings at Browning Pkwy and CR 350.
  • 20.  Construction of a new river crossing in Los Lunas from I-25 to NM 47. This $60 million project would construct a new river crossing from I-25 to NM 47 to improve mobility in Valencia County, provide for economic development and ease congestion in the area.

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

  • Improved business competitiveness due to reduced production and distribution costs as a result of increased travel speeds and fewer mobility barriers
  • Improvements in household welfare resulting from better access to higher-paying jobs, a wider selection of competitively priced consumer goods, additional housing and healthcare options, and improved mobility for residents without access to private vehicles
  • Gains in local, regional and state economies due to improved regional economic competitiveness, which stimulates population and job growth.
  • Increased leisure/tourism and business travel resulting from the enhanced condition and reliability of a region’s transportation system.
  • A reduction in economic losses from vehicle crashes, traffic congestion and vehicle maintenance costs associated with driving on deficient roads.
  • Transportation projects that expand roadway capacity produce significant economic benefits by reducing congestion and improving access, thus speeding the flow of people and goods while reducing fuel consumption.
  • Site Selection magazine’s 2010 survey of corporate real estate executives found that transportation infrastructure was the third most important selection factor in site location decisions, behind only work force skills and state and local taxes
  • 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 9,400 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.

While New Mexico’s diverse economy has been impacted by the recession, the state’s transportation system will need to accommodate projected future growth.

  • From 1990 to 2012, New Mexico’s population increased by 38 percent, from approximately 1.5 million to approximately 2.1 million.
  • From 1990 to 2011, annual vehicle-miles-of-travel (VMT) in the state increased by 58 percent, from approximately 16.1 billion VMT to 25.5 billion VMT. Based on travel and population trends, TRIP estimates that vehicle travel in New Mexico will increase another 30 percent by 2030.
  • New Mexico’s unemployment rate nearly doubled from 3.5 percent in July 2007 to 6.9 percent in July 2013. New Mexico’s current unemployment rate is lower than the national average of 7.4 percent in July 2013.
  • New Mexico has benefited from a diverse economy, which includes significant employment in the following sectors: oil and gas production, tourism, agriculture, and film and television production.

New Mexico’s economy is served by an extensive surface transportation system that has some deficiencies and experiences severe congestion in key areas.  Roads carry the majority of freight shipped in the state.

  • New Mexico’s system of 68,384 miles of roads and 3,924 bridges, maintained by local, state and federal governments, carry 25.5 billion vehicle miles of travel annually.
  • Twenty-four percent of New Mexico’s major roads are deficient, with nine percent rated in poor condition and an additional 15 percent rated mediocre in 2011.  An additional 11 percent of the state’s major roads were rated in fair condition and 65 percent were rated in good condition.
  • Eight percent of New Mexico’s bridges were rated structurally deficient in 2012.  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.
  • Every year, approximately $31.4 billion in goods are shipped annually from sites in New Mexico and another $46.6 billion in goods are shipped annually to sites in New Mexico, mostly by truck.
  • In 2012, nine percent of New Mexico’s bridges were rated as functionally obsolete. Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet current highway design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.
  • Sixty-five percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in New Mexico are carried by trucks and another 18 percent are carried by parcel, U.S. Postal Service, courier services or by multiple modes, which use trucks for part of the deliveries.

Sources of data for this report include the , 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 and the U.S. Census Bureau.  All data used in the report is the latest available.

Founded in 1971, TRIP ® of Washington, DC, is a nonprofit organization that researches, evaluates and distributes economic and technical data on surface transportation issues.  TRIP is sponsored by insurance companies, equipment manufacturers, distributors and suppliers; businesses involved in highway and transit engineering and construction; labor unions; and organizations concerned with efficient and safe surface transportation.

New TRIP Report Identifies Minnesota’s Top Transportation Challenges And Needed Fixes, Including Deteriorated And Congested Roadways, Deficient Bridges, Needed Safety Improvements And Transit Deficiencies

TRIPDeteriorated and congested roads, deficient bridges, needed safety improvements and transit deficiencies in Minnesota are posing mounting challenges to the state’s residents, visitors and businesses in the form of lost time, increased vehicle operating costs and the financial burden of making needed transportation improvements.  This is according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation research organization.

The report, Minnesota’s Transportation Challenges and the Improvements Needed to Address Them,” identifies segments of the state’s major roads and highways that have significant levels of traffic congestion; sections of major roads or highways that have significant pavement deterioration and need to be reconstructed; needed safety improvements to segments of state roadways; major bridges in the state that have significant deficiencies and need to be rebuilt or reconstructed; and, transit routes or facilities that do not provide adequate mobility because they are overcrowded, deficient or underfunded. Details for all of the state’s transportation challenges can be found in the report’s Appendices.

The total cost of addressing the roadway challenges identified in this report is between $7.1 and $9.4 billion. Currently, no funding is available to address the roadway challenges identified in the report. An additional $171 to $181 million annually would be needed to adequately construct and operate the state’s public transit system in a way that would address Minnesota’s public transit challenges.  This funding is also not available. These costs are not meant to represent all transportation needs in Minnesota, but only those identified in the TRIP report.

“Maintaining county highways and city streets so they are safe and in good repair is important to Minnesota residents and businesses,” said Ken Brown, Olmstead County Commissioner. “Without adequate state resources, local governments have to rely more and more on property tax dollars to repair critical infrastructure. This increasing burden on our property taxes means we continue to fall further behind in maintaining our infrastructure here in Minnesota.”

According to the TRIP report, nearly a third of Minnesota’s major roads are in need of repair, with 12 percent rated in poor condition and an additional 19 percent rated mediocre in 2010. The roadway sections in need of reconstruction include principal and non-principal arterials throughout the state, as well as sections of I-94 in the Twin Cities and West Central Minnesota, I-90 in Southern Minnesota, US 61 in Red Wing, MN 43 in Winona and MN 194 in Duluth. A full list of regionally significant roads and highways that are in need of reconstruction or significant preservation can be found in Appendix A.

Minnesota also faces a significant challenge in the need to reconstruct or repair numerous major bridges in the state, including several that cross the Mississippi River. A total of 11 percent of bridges in Minnesota show significant deterioration or do not meet current design standards. Significant bridges in need of repair or replacement include the Third Avenue Bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis; the Mendota Bridge (TH 55) in Bloomington; the I-35 Bridge in Duluth; and the multi-modal bridge in St. Paul carrying Robbins Street, the University of Minnesota Transitway and a railroad.  A list of deficient bridges of regional importance that present the most significant challenges to the state can be found in Appendix B.

Commuting and commerce in Minnesota are constrained by growing traffic congestion, particularly in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.  The improvements needed to relieve congestion and enhance mobility as determined by TRIP include the following: capacity enhancements, roadway reconstruction, managed lanes and improved traffic management on multiple sections of roadway in the Twin Cities Metro Area (including sections of I-35W, I-35E, I-94, I-394, I-694, and MN 100), and enhancements that would promote economic development opportunities along crucial statewide connector routes such as US 169 in Itasca County, US 14 in Dodge and Steele Counties, and MN 371 in Crow Wing County. A list of segments of roadway that are congested, contain chokepoints that hamper commuting or commerce, or lack an adequate facility to fully support economic development opportunities can be found in Appendix C.

Enhancing critical segments of Minnesota’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 the quality of life for the state’s residents and visitors by reducing travel delays and transportation costs, improving access and mobility, improving safety, and stimulating sustained job growth.  Sustaining Minnesota’s long-term economic growth and maintaining the state’s high 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.

The roadway corridors most in need of safety improvements to reduce the occurrence of crashes and fatalities include the following: system-wide enhancements to the state’s Trunk Highway System, including the addition of rumble strips, the construction of cable median barriers, additional signage, and intersection improvements; the statewide implementation of conflict warning systems on rural intersections; and the removal of at-grade railroad crossings of major highways in Anoka, Cannon Falls, Crosby and Ramsey.A list of the state’s most significant safety challenges can be found in Appendix E.

Minnesota’s transit system is overburdened, leading to gaps in service and reliability along key transit routes. Minnesota’s current transit needs include the following: expanding bus service in the Twin Cities metropolitan area; increasing funding to build out the transitway network in the Twin Cities region as planned by the Metropolitan Council and the Counties Transit Improvement Board; the addition of Bus Rapid Transit corridors; and increased operating funds for numerous transit systems. A list of existing or lacking transit facilities, or routes that hamper commuting or commerce because they are deteriorated or crowded can be found in Appendix D.

“Investing in Minnesota’s transportation system and eliminating these challenges by improving the condition and efficiency of the state’s roads, bridges and transit systems will be an effective step in growing the state’s economy, enhancing quality of life and making Minnesota an attractive place to live, work and visit,” said Will Wilkins, executive director of TRIP.

Executive Summary

Minnesota’s extensive system of roads, highways, bridges and transit provides the state’s residents, visitors and businesses with a high level of mobility. As the backbone of the North Star State’s economy, Minnesota’s surface transportation system plays a vital role in the state’s economic well-being, and is an integral part of what makes Minnesota an attractive place to live, visit and do business.

However, increasing roadway and bridge deterioration, traffic safety concerns, inadequate transit service and growing congestion threaten to stifle economic growth and negatively impact the quality of life of the state’s 5.3 million residents.  Due to insufficient transportation funding at the federal, state and local level, Minnesota faces numerous challenges in providing a road, highway, bridge and transit network that is smooth, well-maintained, as safe as possible, and that affords a level of mobility capable of supporting the state’s economic goals.

As Minnesota looks to build and maintain a thriving and diverse economy, it will need to modernize its transportation system by improving the physical condition of its roads, highways, bridges, and transit systems 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 Minnesota’s surface transportation system would provide a significant boost to the state’s economy by stimulating short and long-term economic growth.

Numerous segments of Minnesota’s surface transportation system have significant deterioration, are congested or crowded, lack some desirable safety features, and do not have adequate capacity to provide reliable mobility, creating challenges for Minnesota’s residents, visitors, businesses and state and local governments.  This report looks at the condition and use of Minnesota’s system of roads, highways, transit and bridges and provides information on the state’s most pressing transportation challenges and the improvements needed to address these challenges.

Deficient roads, highways, bridges and transit systems and crowded or congested routes in Minnesota are posing mounting challenges to the state’s residents, visitors and businesses in the form of lost time, increased vehicle operating costs and the financial burden of making needed transportation improvements. 

  • TRIP has identified Minnesota’s top surface transportation challenges, which include the following: segments of the state’s major roads and highways that have significant levels of traffic congestion; sections of major roads or highways that have significant pavement deterioration and need to be resurfaced or reconstructed; needed safety improvements to segments of state roadways; major bridges in the state that have significant deficiencies and need to be rebuilt or reconstructed; and transit routes or facilities that do not provide adequate mobility because they are overcrowded, deficient or underfunded.
  • The report contains lists of the state’s most pressing challenges as determined by TRIP in five categories: roadway deterioration, congested routes, deficient bridges, roadway safety and transit. Lists of challenges in each category can be found in Appendices A through E.
  • The total cost of addressing the state’s top transportation challenges identified in this report is between $7.1 and $9.4 billion.  An additional $171 to $181 million annually would be needed to adequately operate public transit service needed to address Minnesota’s public transit challenges.  These costs are not meant to represent all transportation needs in Minnesota, but only those identified in the TRIP report.
  • Currently there is no funding available to address the challenges identified in this report.

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

  • Minnesota’s system of 141,482 miles of roads and 13,117 bridges carries approximately 57 billion vehicle miles of travel annually.
  • From 1990 to 2011, Minnesota’s population increased by 21 percent, from approximately 4.4 million to approximately 5.3 million. Minnesota’s population is expected to increase to 6.2 million by 2030.
  • From 1990 to 2010, annual vehicle-miles-of-travel (VMT) in the state increased by 45 percent, from approximately 39 billion VMT to 57 billion VMT.
  • Minnesota is projected to have a 2.8 percent rate of economic growth in 2013, measured in real Gross State Product (GSP), which is factored for price changes.  This rate of growth is lower than the forecast 3.0 percent increase in national real GSP in 2013.
  • Every year, $237 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Minnesota and another $199 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Minnesota, mostly by trucks.  Sixty-four percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in Minnesota are carried by trucks and another 21 percent are carried by parcel, U.S. Postal Service or courier services, which use trucks for part of their deliveries.
  • Minnesota’s population and economy will continue to grow in the future, bringing mounting challenges for the existing network of roads and bridges. The state will need to expand key roads, highways and bridges to increase mobility and ease traffic congestion, make needed road and bridge repairs, and improve roadway safety.

Minnesota faces a significant challenge in the need to rehabilitate pavements on numerous major roads and highways throughout the state.  Nearly a third of Minnesota’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition. Repairing the state’s deteriorated roadways and maintaining them in good condition will provide a smooth and efficient roadway system for the state’s residents and businesses.

  • Nearly a third of Minnesota’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition, with 12 percent rated in poor condition and an additional 19 percent rated mediocre in 2010.  An additional 18 percent of the state’s major roads were rated in fair condition and 51 percent were rated in good condition in 2010.
  • The pavement data in this report is provided by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), based on data submitted annually by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) on the condition of major state and locally maintained roads and highways in the state (roads classified as arterials by the FHWA).
  • The functional life of Minnesota’s roads is greatly affected by the state’s ability to perform timely maintenance and upgrades to ensure that structures last as long as possible.  It is critical that roads are fixed before they require major repairs because reconstructing roads costs approximately four times more than resurfacing them.
  • The roadway sections in need of reconstruction include principle and non-principle arterials throughout the state, as well as sections of I-94 in the Twin Cities and West Central Minnesota, I-90 in Southern Minnesota, US 61 in Red Wing, MN 43 in Winona and MN 194 in Duluth. A list of regionally significant roads and highways that are in need of reconstruction or significant preservation can be found in Appendix A.

Minnesota faces a significant challenge in the need to reconstruct or repair numerous major bridges in the state, including several that cross the Mississippi River.  A total of 11 percent of bridges in Minnesota show significant deterioration or do not meet current design standards. 

  • Eight percent of Minnesota’s bridges were rated structurally deficient in 2011.  A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components.  Structurally deficient bridges may be posted for lower weight or closed to traffic, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks, school buses and emergency services vehicles.
  • In 2011, three percent of Minnesota’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.
  • Bridges that are designated structurally deficient or functionally obsolete are safe for travel and are monitored and maintained on a regular basis by the agencies responsible for their upkeep.
  • Significant bridges in need of repair or replacement include the Third Avenue Bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis; the Mendota Bridge (TH 55) in Bloomington; the I-35 Bridge in Duluth; and the multi-modal bridge in St. Paul carrying Robbins Street, the University of Minnesota Transitway and a railroad.  A list of deficient bridges of regional importance that present the most significant challenges to the state can be found in Appendix B.

Commuting and commerce in Minnesota are constrained by growing traffic congestion, particularly in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.  The state faces a significant challenge in the need to relieve congestion and improve personal and commercial mobility by making numerous transportation improvements, which will increase the capacity and efficiency of its roadways and transit systems. 

  • Minnesota’s urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, hampering commuting and commerce while reducing economic opportunities and quality of life in the state. Unless Minnesota’s transportation system is improved and enhanced, congestion will worsen dramatically in the coming years.
  • The improvements needed to relieve congestion and enhance mobility as determined by TRIP include the following: capacity enhancements, roadway reconstruction, managed lanes and improved traffic management on multiple sections of roadway in the Twin Cities Metro Area (including sections of I-35W, I-35E, I-94, I-394, I-694,  and MN 100), and enhancements that would promote economic development opportunities along crucial statewide connector routes such as US 169 in Itasca County, US 14 in Dodge and Steele Counties, and MN 371 in Crow Wing County.
    • A list of segments of roadway that are congested, contain chokepoints that hamper commuting or commerce, or lack an adequate facility to fully support economic development opportunities can be found in Appendix C.

Minnesota’s transit system is overburdened, leading to gaps in service and reliability along key transit routes. An adequate transit system helps to relieve traffic congestion and plays an important role in providing mobility to those without access to a private vehicle.

  • TRIP has compiled a list of transit facilities or routes (or the lack thereof) that hamper commuting or commerce because they are deteriorated or congested.  Minnesota’s  current transit needs include the following: expansion of the Metro Mobility Americans with Disabilities Act service in the Twin Cities metro area; expanding bus service in the Twin Cities metropolitan area; increasing funding for the Hiawatha Blue Line, Green Line and Red Line to allow for connections between major employment centers in the Twin Cities; the addition of Bus Rapid Transit corridors; and increased operating funds for numerous transit systems.
  • A list of existing or lacking transit facilities, or routes that hamper commuting or commerce because they are deteriorated or crowded can be found in Appendix D.

Although Minnesota has one of the lowest traffic fatality rates in the county, it still faces a challenge in the need to improve roadway safety, particularly on its rural roads and highways, which have a significantly higher rate of fatal traffic crashes than all other roads and highways in the state.  TRIP estimates that roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of all fatal and serious traffic crashes.  

  • Traffic crashes claimed the lives of 411 people in Minnesota in 2010. Between 2006 and 2010, 2,292 people were killed in traffic crashes in Minnesota, an average of 458 fatalities per year.
  • Minnesota’s traffic fatality rate in 2010 was 0.73 per 100 million vehicle miles of travel, below the national average of 1.11, the second lowest rate nationally among states behind only Massachusetts at 0.58.
  • The traffic fatality rate in 2010 on Minnesota’ non-Interstate rural roads was 1.29 traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel, which is triple the rate of 0.43 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel on all other roads and highways in the state.
  • A disproportionate share of highway fatalities occurs on Minnesota’ rural, non-Interstate roads.  In 2010, 63 percent of traffic fatalities in Minnesota occurred on rural, non-Interstate routes, while only 36 percent of vehicle travel in the state occurred on these roads.
  • The roadway corridors most in need of safety improvements to reduce the occurrence of crashes and fatalities include the following: system-wide enhancements to the state’s Trunk Highway System, including the addition of rumble strips, the construction of cable median barriers, additional signage, and intersection improvements; the statewide implementation of conflict warning systems on rural intersections; and the removal of at-grade railroad crossings of major highways in Anoka, Cannon Falls, Crosby and Ramsey.
    • A list of the state’s most significant safety challenges can be found in Appendix E.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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.  Some benefits of transportation improvements include the following.

  • Improved business competitiveness due to reduced production and distribution costs as a result of increased travel speeds and fewer mobility barriers.
  • Improvements in household welfare resulting from better access to higher-paying jobs, a wider selection of competitively priced consumer goods, additional housing and healthcare options, and improved mobility for residents without access to private vehicles.
  • Gains in local, regional and state economies due to improved regional economic competitiveness, which stimulates population and job growth.
  • Increased leisure/tourism and business travel resulting from the enhanced condition and reliability of a region’s transportation system.
  • A reduction in economic losses from vehicle crashes, traffic congestion and vehicle maintenance costs associated with driving on deficient roads.
  • The creation of both short-term and long-term jobs.
  • Transportation projects that expand roadway or 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.
  • Site Selection magazine’s 2010 survey of corporate real estate executives found that transportation infrastructure was the third most important selection factor in site location decisions, behind only work force skills and state and local taxes.
  • 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.
  • A 2009 report prepared for the American Public Transportation Association found that every $1 billion invested in public transit highway construction would support approximately 36,000 jobs, including approximately 17,500 in jobs related to constructing transit facilities or manufacturing vehicles and in operating transit systems, approximately 4,500 jobs in industries supporting either the construction of transit facilities or the manufacturing of transit vehicles and approximately 14,000 other jobs induced in non-transit 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.

Sources of data for this report include the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), 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 Public Transit Association (APTA), the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), and the U.S. Census Bureau.  All data used in the report is the latest available.