Tag Archive for 'contractors'

Goodbye Snow, Hello Spring

By Greg Sitek

RMG aNo snow today or for the immediate future. That means spring has sprung and orange cones should start blooming everywhere. That means the sounds of construction equipment should be filling the air replacing the sounds of snowplows and salt spreaders – at lease in a majority of the country.

Are you ready? More importantly, are your employees and machines ready?

Spring is a good time to refresh everyone’s understanding and knowledge of safety on the jobsite, around the equipment and while operating the equipment. Most equipment manufacturers have machine-specific safety information available. This is a good time to make sure that this information is available. If not, contact your local equipment dealer or the manufacturer and get copies. Hand it out to the concerned or involved employees. Don’t depend on them picking it up on their own.

If you need generic safety materials The Association of Equipment Manufacturers has a library of safety manuals covering virtually all the equipment you use. They also have a selection of videos both of which are available in languages other than English. You can visit AEM online at: www.aem.org and click on the store button or scan: (Insert aem safety qr scan code). The equipment manufacturers who produce the equipment have developed the AEM safety material.

So much for the personnel, after you make certain that they are properly dressed and supplied with the required safety for the job. Let’s talk about the equipment.

Most equipment owners have been spending the winter months repairing, updating and getting their equipment ready for the job. Even so there is always the final check before a piece of equipment is loaded on a trailer headed for the job.

Two things come to mind that are often forgotten: the first is making certain that the operator’s manual is onboard; the second is that the ground engaging tools have been serviced and are ready for the first job.

Since I have your attention, let’s add and another item to the list… the prestart check list. You know, the walk-around inspection list.

It’s difficult to remember what every button, switch, lever, light, warning buzzer means. It’s easy to forget where something is, especially if you change machines with any regularity. Beside the operator’s manual is loaded with useful information, hints and even tips that can help you do the job better. It’s good to have it on hand for quick and easy reference JUST IN CASE.

What about the ground engaging tools? For years there has been an argument about what is the most important part of a piece of equipment – the machine itself, the engine, the electrical system, the hydraulic system, the operator’s station.

The correct answer is the “tool.” Without it the machine has nothing to do. And the tool depends on its ground-engaging component for its effectiveness whether it’s teeth, blade or piercing tool. Dull, worn teeth, blade or leading edge on a bucket hinder a machine’s ability to do its job. Dull worn ground engaging tools minimize a machine’s productivity and maximize its fuel consumption – a perfect combination for lower productivity and less profit.

Pre-start checklists are almost always provided by the machine manufacturer in the operator’s manual or service manual. Some equipment owners, based on experience, develop their own inspection routines. If you’re looking for information relative to equipment maintenance and management you should visit the Association of Equipment Management Professionals (AEMP) by visiting: www.aemp.org

In any organization or on any construction projects the two most important components are the personnel and the equipment. Take care of both…

This articled appeared as an editorial in the April 2105 issues of the 13 ACP publications.

 

ELFA Highlights 5 Factors to Consider For Small Businesses Seeking Equipment

UnknownDuring National Small Business Week, May 4–8, the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA) is reminding small businesses of five key factors to consider when acquiring equipment. Most small businesses need equipment in order to operate and grow, and each business must decide on an acquisition strategy that is right for them. A majority of businesses turn to equipment leasing and financing so they can take advantage of a range of benefits.

“Equipment leasing and financing help all types and sizes of commercial businesses to acquire the equipment they need to conduct their business operations,” said William G. Sutton, CAE, ELFA President and CEO. “For small businesses in particular, which may not have access to many funding options, equipment financing offers flexible, budget-friendly options that can help with cash flow and keep their equipment up to date.”

ELFA highlights five key benefits that make equipment finance an advantageous option for small businesses:

  1. Get 100 percent financing with no down payment – Unlike with most traditional lenders, it is possible to arrange 100 percent financing of equipment with no down payment. This is a critical benefit, since cash flow is often a concern for small and new businesses. This allows the business to hold on to cash, or working capital, and use it for other areas of the business, such as expansion, improvements, marketing or R&D.
  2. Eliminate the risk of ownership – A business just starting out can use equipment financing to help lessen the uncertainty of investing in a capital asset until it achieves a desired return, increases efficiency, saves costs or meets other business objectives.
  3. Keep up-to-date with new technology – To be on the cutting edge and be competitive, businesses often need access to new technology. Leasing, loans and other financing can enable small businesses to acquire more and better equipment than they could have without financing. In addition, businesses that use lease financing can avoid the risk of owning obsolete equipment, since many agreements allow for easy and fast equipment updates.
  4. Plan expenses for cash flow and business cycle fluctuations – Financing equipment allows for greater certainty in budgeting by setting customized rent payments to match cash flow and even seasonal cash flows.
  5. Obtain the convenience of product and service bundling – Certain financial products allow businesses to finance the entire cost of equipment, including installation, up-front maintenance, training and software charges, thereby packaging systems and ancillary products and services into a single solution. This makes the equipment acquisition easy to manage and frees up the business to focus on its core operations.

For more information about how equipment finance equips business for success, visit www.EquipmentFinanceAdvantage.org. This site includes a digital toolkit, articles, informational videos, definitions of the various types of financing, a lease vs. loan comparison and questions to ask when financing equipment.

About ELFA

The Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA) is the trade association that represents companies in the $903 billion equipment finance sector, which includes financial services companies and manufacturers engaged in financing capital goods. ELFA members are the driving force behind the growth in the commercial equipment finance market and contribute to capital formation in the U.S. and abroad. Its 580 members include independent and captive leasing and finance companies, banks, financial services corporations, broker/packagers and investment banks, as well as manufacturers and service

TRIP Reports: Deficient, Congested Roadways Cost Missouri Drivers As Much As $1,500 Annually, A Total Of $4.5 Billion Statewide. Costs Will Rise And Transportation Woes Will Worsen Without Increased Funding

TRIPRoads and bridges that are deficient, congested or lack desirable safety features cost Missouri motorists a total of $4.5 billion statewide annually – as much as $1,500 per driver – due to higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays. Increased investment in transportation improvements at the local, state and federal levels could relieve traffic congestion, improve road and bridge conditions, boost safety, and support long-term economic growth in Missouri, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization.

The TRIP report, Missouri Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout Missouri, 22 percent of major locally and state-maintained major roads are in poor condition. Twenty-three percent of Missouri’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. The state’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, with drivers wasting significant amounts of time and fuel each year. And, more than 4,000 people were killed in crashes on the state’s roads in the last five years.

Driving on deficient roads costs Missouri driver as much as $1,500 per year in the form of extra vehicle operating costs (VOC) as a result of driving on roads in need of repair, lost time and fuel due to congestion-related delays, and the cost of traffic crashes in which roadway features likely were a contributing factor. The TRIP report calculated the cost to motorists of insufficient roads in Jefferson City, Kansas City, Springfield and St. Louis. A breakdown of the costs per motorist in each area along with a statewide total is below.

TRIP MOTwenty-two percent of Missouri’s major roads and highways have pavements in poor condition, while an additional 48 percent of the state’s major roads are rated in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 30 percent are rated in good condition.

“Missouri has the seventh largest highway system in the nation, but ranks 46th in revenue spent per mile,” said MoDOT Chief Financial Officer Roberta Broeker. “That kind of underinvestment has consequences, including an impact to safety and economic growth. While we are committed to do the best we can with limited resources, we know the condition of our system will deteriorate without additional investment.”

A total of 23 percent of Missouri’s bridges show significant deterioration or do not meet modern design standards. Thirteen percent of Missouri’s bridges are structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components. An additional 10 percent of the state’s bridges are functionally obsolete, which means they no longer meet modern design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.

Missouri’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.09 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is the same as the national average. Traffic crashes in Missouri claimed the lives of 4,068 people between 2009 and 2013. The state’s rural roads have a significantly higher rate of fatal vehicle crashes, with a traffic fatality rate of 1.96 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel, nearly triple the 0.68 fatality on all other roads in the state.

The efficiency and condition of Missouri’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Annually, $226 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Missouri and another $234 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Missouri, mostly by truck.

The Federal surface transportation program is a critical source of funding in Missouri. From 2009 to 2013, the federal government provided $1.31 for road improvements in Missouri for every dollar the state paid in federal motor fuel fees. In July 2014 Congress approved an eight-month extension of the federal surface transportation program, which will now run through May 31, 2015. The legislation also transfers nearly $11 billion into the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) to preserve existing levels of highway and public transportation investment through the end of May 2015.

“These conditions are only going to get worse if greater funding is not made available at the local, state and federal levels,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Without additional transportation funding Missouri’s transportation system will become increasingly deteriorated and congested, the state will miss out on opportunities for economic growth and quality of life will suffer.”

MISSOURI TRANSPORTATION BY THE NUMBERS:

Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility

Ten Key Transportation Numbers in Missouri

 

$4.5 billion

Driving on deficient roads costs Missouri motorists a total of $4.5 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.
$1,316

$1,327

$1,134

$1,511

 

TRIP has calculated the cost to the average motorist in Missouri’s largest urban areas in the form of additional VOC, congestion-related delays and traffic crashes. The average Jefferson City driver loses $1,316 annually, while the each Kansas City driver loses $1,327. Drivers in Springfield lose $1,134 annually, while the average St. Louis motorist loses $1,511 annually.
814

4,068

On average, 814 people were killed annually in Missouri traffic crashes from 2009 to 2013, a total of 4,068 fatalities over the five year period.
 

3X

The fatality rate on Missouri’s non-interstate rural roads is nearly triple that on all other roads in the state (1.96 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.68).
22%

32%

23%

19%

29%

Statewide, 22 percent of Missouri’s major roads are in poor condition. Thirty-two percent of Jefferson City’s major roads are in poor condition, while in Kanas City, 23 percent of major roads are in poor condition. Nineteen percent of major urban roads in Springfield are in poor condition and 29 percent of major roads in the St. Louis urban area are in poor condition.
$226 billion

$234 billion

Annually, $226 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Missouri and another $234 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Missouri, mostly by truck.
 

23 %

A total of 23 percent of Missouri bridges are in need of repair, improvement or replacement. Thirteen percent of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient and 10 percent are functionally obsolete.
18 hours

27 hours

19 hours

31 hours

 

The average driver in the Jefferson City area loses 18 hours to congestion annually, while each driver in the Kansas City urban area loses 27 hours each year. The average Springfield driver loses 19 hours annually, and each St. Louis driver loses 31 hours annually as a result of traffic congestion.
 

$1.31

 

From 2009 to 2013, the federal government provided $1.31 for road improvements in Missouri for every dollar paid in Missouri in federal motor fuel fees.
 

 

$1.00 = $5.20

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

 

Executive Summary

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

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

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

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

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

An inadequate transportation system costs Missouri residents a total of $4.5 billion every year in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.

  • TRIP estimates that Missouri roadways that lack some desirable safety features, have inadequate capacity to meet travel demands or have poor pavement conditions cost the state’s residents approximately $4.5 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear), the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to traffic congestion, and the financial cost of traffic crashes.
  • TRIP has calculated the average cost to drivers in the state’s largest urban areas as a result of driving on roads that are deteriorated, congested and lack some desirable safety features. The chart below details the costs to drivers in the Jefferson City, Kansas City, Springfield and St. Louis urban areas.

TRIP MO 1Population and economic growth in Missouri have resulted in increased demands on the state’s major roads and highways, leading to increased wear and tear on the transportation system.

  • Missouri’s population reached approximately 6.1 million residents in 2014, an 18 percent increase since 1990. Missouri had 4,280,438 licensed drivers in 2013.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Missouri increased by 37 percent from 1990 to 2013 – jumping from 50.9 billion VMT in 1990 to 69.5 billion VMT in 2013.
  • By 2030, vehicle travel in Missouri is projected to increase by another 20 percent.
  • From 1990 to 2013, Missouri’s gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 49 percent, when adjusted for inflation.

A lack of adequate state and local funding has resulted in 22 percent of major roads and highways in Missouri having pavement surfaces in poor condition, providing a rough ride and costing motorist in the form of additional vehicle operating costs.

  • Twenty-two percent of Missouri’s major roads and highways have pavements in poor condition, while an additional 48 percent of the state’s major roads are rated in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 30 percent are rated in good condition.
  • Roads rated in poor condition may show signs of deterioration, including rutting, cracks and potholes. In some cases, poor roads can be resurfaced, but often are too deteriorated and must be reconstructed.
  • Driving on rough roads costs Missouri motorists a total of $1.7 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
  • The chart below details pavement conditions in Jefferson City, Kansas City, Springfield and St. Louis:

TRIP MO 2Nearly one-quarter of locally and state-maintained bridges in Missouri show significant deterioration or do not meet current design standards often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment. This includes all bridges that are 20 feet or more in length.

  • Thirteen percent of Missouri’s bridges are structurally deficient. A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. Structurally deficient bridges are often posted for lower weight or closed to traffic, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks and emergency services vehicles.
  • Ten percent of Missouri’s bridges are functionally obsolete. Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet current highway design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.

Missouri’s rural traffic fatality rate is nearly three times higher than the fatality rate on all other roads in the state. Improving safety features on Missouri’s roads and highways would likely result in a decrease in the state’s traffic fatalities and serious crashes. It is estimated that roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of all fatal and serious traffic crashes.

  • Between 2009 and 2013 a total of 4,068 people were killed in traffic crashes in Missouri, an average of 814 fatalities per year.
  • Missouri’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.09 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2013 is the same as the national average.
  • The fatality rate on Missouri’s rural non-Interstate roads was 1.96 fatalities per 100 vehicle miles of travel in 2013, nearly triple the 0.68 fatality rate on all other roads and highways in the state.
  • Roadway features that impact safety include the number of lanes, lane widths, lighting, lane markings, rumble strips, shoulders, guard rails, other shielding devices, median barriers and intersection design. The cost of serious crashes includes lost productivity, lost earnings, medical costs and emergency services.
  • Several factors are associated with vehicle crashes that result in fatalities, including driver behavior, vehicle characteristics and roadway features. TRIP estimates that roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of fatal traffic crashes.
  • Where appropriate, highway improvements can reduce traffic fatalities and crashes while improving traffic flow to help relieve congestion. Such improvements include removing or shielding obstacles; adding or improving medians; improved lighting; adding rumble strips, wider lanes, wider and paved shoulders; upgrading roads from two lanes to four lanes; and better road markings and traffic signals.
  • Investments in rural traffic safety have been found to result in significant reductions in serious traffic crashes. A 2012 report by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) found that improvements completed recently by the Texas Department of Transportation that widened lanes, improved shoulders and made other safety improvements on 1,159 miles of rural state roadways resulted in 133 fewer fatalities on these roads in the first three years after the improvements were completed (as compared to the three years prior).   TTI estimates that the improvements on these roads are likely to save 880 lives over the next 20 years.

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

  • Based on methodology used by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), TRIP estimates that the average Jefferson City driver loses $410 annually in the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to congestion. The average Jefferson City commuter loses 18 hours each year in traffic.
  • According to TTI, the average driver in the Kansas City urban area loses $584 each year in the cost of lost time and wasted fuel as a result of traffic congestion. The average commuter in the Kansas City urban area wastes 27 hours each year stuck in traffic.
  • Based on TTI methodology, TRIP estimates that the average Springfield driver loses $435 annually in the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to congestion. The average Springfield commuter loses 19 hours each year in traffic.
  • According to TTI, the average driver in the St. Louis urban area loses $686 each year in the cost of lost time and wasted fuel as a result of traffic congestion. The average St. Louis commuter wastes 31 hours each year stuck in traffic.
  • Increasing levels of congestion add significant costs to consumers, transportation companies, manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers and can reduce the attractiveness of a location to a company to consider expansion or even to locate a new facility. Congestion costs can also increase overall operating costs for trucking and shipping companies, leading to revenue losses, lower pay for drivers and employees, and higher consumer costs.

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

  • Annually, $226 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Missouri and another $234 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Missouri, mostly by truck.
  • Seventy-two percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in Missouri are carried by trucks and another 16 percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.
  • Businesses have responded to improved communications and greater competition by moving from a push-style distribution system, which relies on low-cost movement of bulk commodities and large-scale warehousing, to a pull-style distribution system, which relies on smaller, more strategic and time-sensitive movement of goods.
  • Increasingly, companies are looking at the quality of a region’s transportation system when deciding where to re-locate or expand. Regions with congested or poorly maintained roads may see businesses relocate to areas with a smoother, more efficient and more modern transportation system.
  • Highway accessibility was ranked the number two site selection factor behind only the availability of skilled labor in a 2013 survey of corporate executives by Area Development Magazine.
  • The Federal Highway Administration estimates that each dollar spent on road, highway and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 in the form of reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffic flow.

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

  • From 2009 to 2013, the federal government provided $1.31 for road improvements in Missouri for every dollar the state paid in federal motor fuel fees.
  • A significant boost in investment on the nation’s roads, highways, bridges and public transit systems is needed to improve their condition and to meet the nation’s transportation needs, concluded a new report from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.
  • The 2015 AASHTO Transportation Bottom Line Report found that annual investment in the nation’s roads, highways and bridges needs to increase from $88 billion to $120 billion and from $17 billion to $43 billion in the nation’s public transit systems, to improve conditions and meet the nation’s mobility needs.

Sources of information for this report include the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the U.S. Census Bureau, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

ECA Strengthens New England Presence

Equipment Corporation of America (ECA), a leading distributor of foundation construction equipment, acquired the assets and merged with sister company New England Construction Products, LLC (NECP) on March 1, 2015. The company, located in Taunton, Mass., will continue serving Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Maine, and Rhode Island as ECA Boston.

ECA is retaining the core team from NECP. David Sciortino will continue his service as vice president and Boston branch manager. Anthony Sciortino will assume the position of sales engineer, and Bob Martinelli will remain service manager.

“We have been serving the New England region since 1997 through our partnership with NECP, but this move allows us to give the team that was in place the tools to expand their both the level of service and the availability of equipment and parts inventory,” said Executive Vice President Ben Dutton. “This is an important territory and we want to make sure construction firms in New England have access to the full ECA experience as it relates to their foundation construction equipment needs.”

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

TRIP Report: Washington’s Transportation Challenges Include Deteriorated Roads And Bridges, Increasingly Congested And Crowded Highways & Transit, Needed Safety Improvements, And A Lack Of Funding For Numerous Needed Projects, Which Could Stifle Economic Development

TRIPWashington’s transportation system faces mounting challenges in the form of deteriorated roads and bridges, increasingly congested and crowded highways and transit systems, a need for additional roadway safety improvements, and a lack of funding to proceed with numerous needed transportation improvements, threatening the state’s quality of life and economic vitality. Increased investment in transportation improvements at the local, state and federal levels could improve road and bridge conditions, boost safety, increase roadway efficiency and support long-term economic growth in Washington, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization.

According to the TRIP report, Washington’s Top Transportation Challenges: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility and Economic Vitality,” approximately one-third of the state’s locally and state-maintained urban pavements and more than one-fifth of major locally and state-maintained rural pavements are in poor condition. Over the next decade, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) faces a $1.8 billion backlog in funds needed for pavement preservation. Because of the lack of funding, the share of state-maintained roads in need of resurfacing or reconstruction is projected to quadruple by 2025. Driving on rough roads costs Washington motorists a total of $2.9 billion each year in the form of extra vehicle operating costs – $551 annually per driver. These costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

Washington’s bridges are also increasingly deteriorated. Five percent of Washington’s locally and state-maintained bridges are structurally deficient, meaning they have significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. These bridges are often posted for lower weights or closed to traffic restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks and emergency response vehicles. An additional 21 percent of Washington’s locally and state-maintained bridges are functionally obsolete. Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet current design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment. According to WSDOT, 110 state-maintained bridges that are currently rated in poor condition are expected to remain in poor condition through 2020, due to a lack of funding. WSDOT also projects that 41 state-maintained bridges currently rated in fair or good condition, are expected to deteriorate to poor condition by 2020 due to a lack of funding.

The list below details state-maintained bridges in the Puget Sound area that are currently structurally deficient. A list of structurally deficient bridges throughout Washington can be found in Appendix A of the report.

WA 1Congestion on the state’s roadways and ridership on the transit network are increasing, particularly in the Puget Sound area, where nearly 98 percent of delay hours occur. Congestion-related delays cost Washington’s drivers and businesses $858 million annually. The TRIP report identifies the 15 most congested commuting routes in the state, which include the following.

WA 2“The new TRIP data underscores what we already knew. Washington’s transportation system is fragile and deteriorating. It is past time for state lawmakers to take action on a bipartisan transportation investment package that will take better care of existing roads and bridges and improve key economic corridors,” said Steve Mullin, president of the Washington Roundtable.

Without a significant boost in transportation funding at the local, state and federal level, the condition and efficiency of Washington’s surface transportation system will decline. Many needed transportation improvements may not be completed without additional funds. The TRIP report identifies the following needed transportation projects throughout the state that are unable to move forward without additional funding.

WA 3“Poor roads and bridges are wasting time and strangling our economy.  We need a transportation package that enhances mobility and safety and improves critical corridors like Highways 167 and 509 and many others across the state,” said Tom Pierson, president and CEO of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce.

Traffic crashes in Washington claimed the lives of 2,280 people between 2009 and 2013, an average of 456 fatalities each year. The state’s overall traffic fatality rate of 0.76 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is lower than the national average of 1.09. Washington’s rural non-Interstate roads have significantly higher rates of fatal crashes, with a traffic fatality rate of 1.76 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel, nearly three-and-a-half times the 0.52 fatality rate on all other roads and highways in the state.

The efficiency and condition of Washington’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy.  In 2012, $181 billion in goods was shipped from sites in Washington to sites outside the state, $169 billion worth of goods was shipped into the state and $253 billion of freight was shipped within the state, mostly by truck. Fifty-eight percent of the goods shipped annually in Washington are carried by trucks and another 20 percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.    “Our state is growing – people want to live, work and make this a better place – but the state transportation system is holding them back. Washington needs to invest in more efficient road and bridge networks, provide transit options and improve mobility and safety,” said Maud Daudon, president and CEO of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

“The condition and efficiency of Washington’s transportation system will worsen dramatically in the coming years if greater funding is not made available at the local, state and federal levels,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Without an efficient, well-maintained transportation system, Washington could miss out on opportunities for economic growth and residents could face a reduced quality of life.”

WASHINGTON’S TOP TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGES:

Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Efficient Mobility and Economic Vitality

 Executive Summary

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

However, the state faces numerous challenges in providing a transportation system that is safe, well-maintained, efficient and adequately funded. As Washington works to retain its quality of life, maintain its level of economic competitiveness and achieve further economic growth, the state will need to preserve, maintain and modernize its roads, highways, bridges, transit, bike and pedestrian facilities by improving the physical condition of its transportation network and enhancing the system’s ability to provide efficient and reliable mobility for its residents, visitors and businesses. Making needed improvements to Washington’s transportation network could also provide a significant boost to the state’s economy by creating jobs in the short term and stimulating long term economic growth as a result of enhanced mobility and access.

Washington must maintain and improve its transportation system to foster economic growth and to support businesses in the state. In addition to economic growth, transportation improvements are needed to ensure safe, reliable mobility and a high quality of life for all residents. Meeting Washington’s need to modernize and maintain its system of roads, highways, bridges and transit will require significant local, state and federal funding.

TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGE: Deteriorated Pavement Conditions

Approximately one third of Washington’s locally and state-maintained urban pavements and more than one-fifth of locally and state-maintained rural pavements are in poor condition. Pavement conditions are projected to deteriorate further in the future, as the state anticipates a $1.8 billion backlog over the next 10 years in funds needed for pavement preservation. Deteriorated pavement conditions provide a rough ride and cost motorists in the form of additional vehicle operating costs.

  • Thirty-four percent of Washington’s major urban locally and state-maintained roads are in poor condition, while an additional 42 percent of the state’s major urban roads are in mediocre or fair condition. The remaining 24 percent are in good condition.
  • Twenty-two percent of the state’s major rural locally and state-maintained roads are in poor condition. An additional 52 percent of rural roads are in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 26 percent are in good condition.
  • Over the next decade, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) estimates a need of $2.8 billion for pavement preservation. However, only $1 billion will be available, leaving a backlog of $1.8 billion over the next decade.
  • According to WSDOT, 10 percent of state-maintained roads are currently in need of resurfacing or reconstruction. Because of a lack of funding, that number is anticipated to more than quadruple by 2025, to 41 percent of state-maintained roads in need of resurfacing or reconstruction, if available state pavement preservation funding is evenly distributed by lane miles and vehicle miles traveled.
  • Driving on rough roads costs Washington motorists a total of $2.9 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs (VOC) –$551 annually per driver. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGE: Share of Deficient Bridges to Increase

Approximately one-quarter of locally and state-maintained bridges (20 feet or longer) in Washington show significant deterioration or do not meet current design standards often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.

  • Five percent of Washington’s locally and state-maintained bridges are structurally deficient. A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. Structurally deficient bridges are often posted for lower weight or closed to traffic, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks and emergency services vehicles.
  • Twenty-one percent of Washington’s locally and state-maintained bridges are functionally obsolete. Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet current highway design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.
  • According to WSDOT, 110 state-maintained bridges that are currently rated in poor condition are expected to remain in poor condition through 2020, due to a lack of funding. WSDOT also projects that 41 state-maintained bridges currently rated in fair or good condition, are expected to deteriorate to poor condition by 2020 due to a lack of funding.
  • The overall number or state-maintained bridges rated poor in Washington is expected to increase from 137 currently to 176 in 2020, according to WSDOT.
  • The list below details state-maintained bridges in the Puget Sound and Spokane areas that are currently rated in poor condition. A full list of state-maintained bridges rated in poor condition throughout Washington can be found in Appendix A.

WA 4

  • By 2020, WSDOT reports that 41 state-maintained bridges, which are currently in fair or good condition, will deteriorate to poor condition, based on current funding. The list below details state-maintained bridges in the Puget Sound area that currently are in good or fair condition, but are projected to decline to poor condition in 2020 due to a lack of sufficient funding. A list of all 41 state-maintained bridges throughout Washington that are currently in good or fair condition but are projected to decline to poor condition by 2020 can be found in Appendix B.

WA 5TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGE: Increasingly Congested Roadways Increasing levels of traffic congestion cause significant delays in Washington, particularly in the state’s larger urban areas, choking commuting and commerce. Traffic congestion robs commuters of time and money and imposes increased costs on businesses, shippers and manufacturers, which are often passed along to the consumer.

  • Congestion on the state’s roadways and ridership on the state’s public transit systems is increasing, particularly in the Puget Sound area, where nearly 98 percent of delay hours occur.
  • Congestion-related delays on state highways cost drivers and businesses $858 million in 2013, approximately $125 per Washingtonian.
  • Several major commuting corridors in the Puget Sound area have experienced significant increases in delay hours between 2011 and 2013, including I-5, I-90, SR 167 and I-405.

WA 6

  • The chart below details TRIP’s analysis and ranking of the 15 most congested commuting routes in the state, based on WSDOT’s 2014 Corridor Capacity Report. This analysis includes a morning trip during peak hours originating from the initial location and a reverse trip in the evening on the same route. It is weighted to include average time for trips on Single Occupancy Vehicle (SOV) lanes, High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) and High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes and is ranked by the level of delay on each route, as measured by the additional time it takes to complete the trip during peak hours. The optimum trip time listed below indicates the length of the commute in minutes when all vehicles are traveling at the most efficient speed to maximize vehicle throughput. The Travel Time Index (TTI) for the route indicates the amount of extra time required to make each trip, with a baseline score of “1” meaning traffic is moving at optimum speeds to maximize throughput. A TTI score of 1.79 indicates that the average trip time is 79 percent greater than if traffic was moving at an optimum speed.

WA 7

  • The number of transit trips in the state has increased steadily since 2009. The chart below details the five busiest transit routes in the state (including bus or rail service), as measured by the share of seats that are occupied during peak travel periods.

WA 8TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGE: Needed Safety Improvements

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

  • Between 2009 and 2013 a total of 2,280 people were killed in traffic crashes in Washington, an average of 456 fatalities per year.
  • Washington’s overall traffic fatality rate of 0.76 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2013 is lower than the national traffic fatality rate of 1.09.
  • The fatality rate on Washington’s rural non-Interstate roads was 1.76 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2013, nearly three and a half times higher than the 0.52 fatality rate on all other roads and highways in the state.
  • Roadway features that impact safety include the number of lanes, lane widths, lighting and adaptive lighting systems, lane markings, rumble strips, shoulders, guard rails, break away and other protective devices, median barriers, roundabouts, and other intersection designs. The cost of serious crashes includes lost productivity, lost earnings, medical costs, lawsuits, insurance cost and emergency services.
  • Several factors are associated with vehicle crashes that result in fatalities, including human factors, driver behavior, vehicle characteristics and roadway features. TRIP estimates that roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of fatal traffic crashes.
  • Where appropriate, highway improvements can reduce traffic fatalities, serious injuries and crash occurrence while improving traffic flow to help relieve congestion. Such improvements include removing, relocating or shielding obstacles; adding or improving medians; improved and adaptive lighting systems; variable speed limits and dynamic warning devices; adding rumble strips, wider lanes, wider and paved shoulders; upgrading roads from two lanes to four lanes; better road markings, roundabout and traffic signals; and facilities that provide for the integration of the various transportation modes.

TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGE: State’s Economic Growth Threatened by Deteriorated Roads, Lack of Adequate Highways

The efficiency of Washington’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Increased deterioration of Washington’s roads and bridges and the lack of needed transportation improvements to serve economic development threaten the state’s economic vitality. New research from Oregon indicates that the cost of making needed road, highway, and bridge improvements is far less than the potential loss in state economic activity caused by a lack of adequate road, highway and bridge preservation.

  • Washington’s key economic sectors — manufacturing, tourism, agriculture, and technology — are highly reliant on an efficient and well-maintained transportation system.
  • Washington’s population reached approximately 7.1 million in 2013, a 45 percent increase since 1990. Washington had 5,301,630 licensed drivers in 2013.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Washington increased by 28 percent from 1990 to 2013 – from 44.7 billion VMT in 1990 to 57.2 billion VMT in 2013.
  • From 1990 to 2013, Washington’s gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 98 percent, when adjusted for inflation, above the national average of 65 percent.
  • In 2012, $181 billion in goods was shipped from sites in Washington to sites outside the state, $169 billion worth of goods was shipped into the state and $253 billion of freight was shipped within the state, mostly by truck. Fifty-eight percent of the goods shipped annually in Washington are carried by trucks and another 20 percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.
  • Increasingly, companies are looking at the quality of a region’s transportation system when deciding where to re-locate or expand. Regions with congested or poorly maintained roads may see businesses relocate to areas with a smoother, more efficient and more modern transportation system.
  • Highway accessibility was ranked the number two site selection factor behind only the availability of skilled labor in a 2013 survey of corporate executives by Area Development Magazine.
  • A 2014 report by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) concluded that allowing its state’s major roads, highways and bridges to deteriorate would result in significant reduction in job growth and reduced state gross domestic product (GDP) as a result of reduced economic efficiency.
  • The report found that allowing roads and bridges to deteriorate reduces business productivity by increasing vehicle operating costs as a result of driving on rough roads, reducing travel speeds and increasing travel times because of route detours necessitated by weight-restricted bridges.
  • As road and bridge conditions deteriorate, transportation agencies are likely to shift resources from preservation projects, which extend the service life of roads and bridges, to more reactive maintenance projects, which results in higher lifecycle costs, the report found. Transportation agencies are also likely to respond to increased road and bridge deterioration by shifting funds from modernization projects, which relieve congestion and increase business productivity, to maintenance projects.
  • The ODOT report estimated that the road, highway and bridge deterioration anticipated over the next 20 years will result in Oregon creating 100,000 fewer jobs and generating $9.4 billion less in state GDP.
  • Oregon could avoid losing 100,000 jobs and $9.4 billion in GDP through 2035 by spending an additional $810 million more on road, highway and bridge repairs – nearly a 12-to-1 return on investment, according to the ODOT report.

TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGE: Inadequate Transportation Funding

Without a significant boost in transportation funding at the local, state and federal level, the condition and efficiency of Washington’s surface transportation system will decline. Many needed transportation improvements may not be completed without additional funds. A recent national report found that improved access as a result of capacity expansions provides numerous regional economic benefits.

  • Numerous needed transportation projects, listed below by geographic area, are unable to move forward due to inadequate transportation funding at the local, state and federal levels. The list of projects is based on WSDOT’s list of priority projects that are currently unfunded.

SEATTLE:

SR 520 Corridor Improvements: This $1.4-1.57 billion project would complete corridor improvements between I-5 and the West High Rise to address the congestion and safety needs of the corridor.

Widening I-405 from Renton to Lynnwood: This $1.1-1.3 billion project would continue the widening of the I-405 corridor between Renton and Bellevue, including the implementation of Express Toll Lanes and rebuilding interchanges. This project would also build the first segment of the I-405/SR 167 Interchange by constructing a direct connector on northbound and southbound lanes between SR 167 HOT and I-405 express toll lanes. This project would complete a 40 mile corridor-wide express toll facility.

Mobility Improvements on I-5 from Tacoma to Everett: This $500 million – $1 billion project includes construction of an additional northbound I-5 lane past Seneca Street, integration of traffic management & modal systems, part-time transit bus shoulder lanes and other similar treatments throughout the corridor. Long range improvements could include new express toll lanes to improve HOV lane performance, lower-cost extensions of HOV or express toll lanes between Tacoma and Lakewood, an always-southbound lane in the I-5 reversible roadway, and the full range of operational, demand management, freight and transit enhancements needed to gain full utilization of the existing roadway.

SR 520 Bellevue-Redmond Corridor Improvements: This $350-460 million project would construct improvements at the 148th Avenue NE Interchange and reconstruct the 124th Avenue NE Interchange to a full diamond interchange, reducing congestion and improving access to Bellevue and Redmond off the SR 520 corridor.

I-90 Seattle to Issaquah Congestion Relief: This $193-250 project would implement tolling on the I-90 floating bridge, convert the HOV lane to an Express Toll Lane east of I-405, and restripe the roadway to allow for EB and WB shoulder use during peak periods between Eastgate and West Lake Sammamish Parkway and Sunset Way.

SR 522 Widening from Kenmore to Monroe: This $170-225 million project would complete the widening of SR 522 between Woodinville and Monroe by adding a lane in each direction between Paradise Lake Road and the Snohomish River. It would also construct a new interchange at Paradise Lake Rd.

TACOMA/PIERCE COUNTY:

I-5 JBLM Corridor Congestion Mitigation: This corridor experiences delays and heavy congestion during peak hours. This $250-450 million project would increase capacity on I-5 in the Joint Base Lewis-McChord corridor by adding one lane in each direction between Thorne Lane Interchange and the Steilacoom-DuPont Interchange, replacing the Thorne Lane, Berkeley Street and Steilacoom-DuPont Interchanges. The project also includes construction of the Gravelly Lake Drive to Thorne Connector to improve local access, along with bicycle and pedestrian facilities.

Construct New SR 167 Freeway: The existing SR 167 route is insufficient to carry existing levels of traffic, leading to unreliable travel times in the Pierce County area and limiting freight movement from the Port to the Green River Valley. This $790-955 million project would construct a new alignment between SR 509 in Tacoma and SR 512 in Puyallup, including a new interchange at I-5, two lanes in each direction between I-5 and Valley Avenue, and one lane in each direction between Valley Avenue and SR 512.

Construction of new SR 509 Freeway: This $758-960 million project would connect SR 509 south from SeaTac to I-5; including one lane in each direction between S 188th and S 24th/28th Avenue, two lanes in each direction between S24th/28th Avenue and I-5, interchanges at S 188th and S 24th, and improvements on I-5 in the vicinity of SR 516 to accommodate the SR 509 with connections to I-5 and local routes. These improvements would allow for improved freight movement south from SeaTac while providing an additional north-south corridor to alleviate heavy demands on I-5.

SPOKANE:

US 395 North Spokane Corridor Completion: This $750-980 project would complete the US 395 North corridor from Francis Avenue to I-90. It would also complete the connection with I-90 to further alleviate congestion in the area.

SR 902/Geiger Boulevard Improvements: This $18-23 million project would construct roundabouts at ramp terminals and the SR 902/Geiger Boulevard intersection to improve traffic flow on the interchange. It would also modernize all ramps and widen the existing bridge over I-90 from two to four lanes.

TRI-CITIES:

I-82 West Richland/Red Mountain Interchange Improvements: This $3-4 million project would construct a roundabout at the SR 224/SR 225 and I-82 ramp terminals.

VANCOUVER:

I 5 Mill Plain Boulevard Interchange: This $80-104 million project provides interchange upgrades for vehicle and truck freight access through this heavily urban area.

SR 14 Vancouver Corridor Expansion: This $60-79 million project would construct auxiliary lanes between I-205 and 164th Avenue, including improvements at the I-205NB/SR 14 Interchange. It would also construct the West Camas Slough Bridge. These improvements would make this congested route operate more efficiently.

STATEWIDE:

I-90 Snoqualmie Pass Widening and Reconstruction: This $130-170 million project would widen an additional two-mile section of the roadway, including reconstruction of the Stampede Pass and Cabin Creek Interchanges to eliminate the existing low clearance. This major freight and recreational corridor experiences frequent congestion during peak travel times and the existing concrete is in need of replacement.

US 2 Safety Enhancements: This $15-20 million project provides safety enhancements on US 2 between Snohomish and Skykomish.

I-5 and 179th Street Interchange Reconstruction: This $60-79 million project reconstructs the existing interchange and adjacent roadways to allow for improved movements between I-5 and 179th Street in Vancouver.

I-5 Slater Road Interchange in Ferndale: This $10-13 million project would improve this congested interchange, which is being strained by heavy commercial development nearby.

  • 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.
  • Signed into law in July 2012, MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act), has improved several procedures that in the past had delayed projects, MAP-21 does not address long-term funding challenges facing the federal surface transportation program.
  • A significant boost in investment on the nation’s roads, highways, bridges and public transit systems is needed to improve their condition and to meet the nation’s transportation needs, concluded a new report from AASHTO. The 2015 AASHTO Transportation Bottom Line Report found that annual investment in the nation’s roads, highways and bridges needs to increase from $88 billion to $120 billion and from $17 billion to $43 billion in the nation’s public transit systems, to improve conditions and meet the nation’s mobility needs.
  • A recent national report found that 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 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.

Sources of information for this report include the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the U.S. Census Bureau, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). All data used in the report is the latest available