Tag Archive for 'Federal Highway Trust Fund'

Voters Want Transportation Investment Record Number of State and Local Ballot Measures Approve

63f04383-b557-424b-936b-696d2d371c0bPreliminary November 8 election results show voters in 22 states approved ballot measures that will provide $201 billion in funding extensions and new revenue for state and local transportation projects.

According to an analysis by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s “Transportation Investment Advocacy Center™” (ARTBA-TIAC), 69 percent of the 280 transportation funding ballot measures up for vote across the nation were approved, with results still pending for seven local areas.

California will see the biggest impact. Voters in the state approved 15 of 26 transportation ballot measures worth $133 billion, including a 1 cent sales tax in Los Angeles that will provide $120 billion over 40 years for local road, bridge and transit projects. The California measures had to muster at least a two-thirds “super majority” vote to pass—10 of the measures that failed received over 50 percent of the vote, but did not reach that threshold. California voters also rejected a statewide measure that would have required any public infrastructure bond over $2 billion to go on the ballot for voter approval.

Voters in Illinois and New Jersey passed transportation tax “lockbox” measures to prohibit state lawmakers from diverting transportation user fee revenue to non-transportation uses. Maine approved a statewide transportation bond issue for $100 million and Rhode Island voters approved $70 million in bonds for port investment.

In Washington state, voters approved a 25-year, $54 billion revenue package that would support expanding Sound Transit light rail and bus routes. The package included a bond issue and adjustments in property, sales and motor vehicle taxes.

In Missouri, a statewide initiative to increase the state’s cigarette tax to raise an estimated $100 million annually for transportation investments failed. Voters in Georgia approved local sales tax increases that would raise nearly $4 billion for road and transit projects in the metropolitan Atlanta area.

Earlier this year, voters approved 76 of 81 transportation funding measures—or 93 percent—of initiatives on primary ballots.

Overall, voters approved 74 percent of transportation ballot initiatives in 2016. This is in line with the 10-year average rate of 74 percent. In the last two presidential elections, voters approved 77 percent (2012) and 76 percent (2008) of transportation funding measures.

The complete report and an interactive map showing the state-by-state results can be found at www.transportationinvestment.org.

ARTBA President & CEO Pete Ruane Statement on the Election of Donald Trump

fa4ca536-14f6-4df1-83e2-ca3527905984American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) President & CEO Pete Ruane issued the following statement about the election of Donald Trump:

Pete Ruane

Pete Ruane

“President-elect Trump will have a ‘can do’ industry as his partner in rebuilding and expanding the nation’s transportation infrastructure to make it again second to none. Give us the proper resources and the new jobs and innovative solutions will take off.

“Republicans in Congress should heed the call of their party’s leader and make urgently-needed improvements of national infrastructure networks a top priority in early 2017.

“Despite a highly partisan political environment, Republicans and Democrats have routinely worked in a bipartisan manner to support infrastructure legislation. All sides should view a long-term infrastructure package as an opportunity for the two parties to come together and make meaningful progress for the American people.”

Since 1902, ARTBA has been the “consensus voice” of the U.S. transportation design and construction industry before Congress, the White House, federal agencies, news media and the general public.

New Report Identifies U.S. Urban Areas With Roughest Roads And Highest Costs To Drivers – As Much As $1,025 Annually

Trip LogoNew Report Identifies U.S. Urban Areas With Roughest Roads And Highest Costs To Drivers – As Much As $1,025 Annually. As Travel Growth Returns To Pre-Recession Rates, Road Conditions Expected To Decline Further Without Additional Funding At Local, State & Federal Levels.

Driving on deteriorated urban roads costs motorists as much as $1,025 annually, according to a new report that evaluates pavement conditions in the nation’s large (500,000+ population) and mid-sized (200,000-500,000 population) urban areas and calculates the additional costs passed on to motorists as a result of driving on rough roads. Driving on roads in disrepair increases consumer costs by accelerating vehicle deterioration and depreciation, and increasing needed maintenance, fuel consumption and tire wear.

These findings were recently (11.5.2016) released by TRIP, a national transportation research group based in Washington, D.C. The report, Bumpy Roads Ahead: America’s Roughest Rides and Strategies to make our Roads Smoother,” examines urban pavement conditions, transportation funding, travel trends and economic development. Pavement condition and vehicle operating costs for urban areas with populations of 200,000 or greater can be found in the report and appendices. The charts below detail large and mid-sized urban areas with the highest share of pavements on major locally and state-maintained roads and highways in poor condition and the highest vehicle operating costs (VOC).

tripIn 2014 nearly one-third (32 percent) of the nation’s major urban roads– Interstates, freeways and other arterial routes – had pavements that were in substandard condition and provided an unacceptably rough ride to motorists, costing the average driver $523 annually. The nationwide annual cost of driving on deteriorated roads totals $112 billion.

“This important TRIP report highlights the need for federal leadership to address the nation’s infrastructure deficit.  With both presidential candidates highlighting the importance of rebuilding America’s infrastructure, the time is now to address this critical issue,” stated U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Director of Transportation Infrastructure Ed Mortimer.

Road conditions could get even worse in the future as the rate of vehicle travel continues to increase and local and state government find themselves unable to adequately fund road repairs.

With vehicle travel growth rates returning to pre-recession levels and large truck travel anticipated to grow significantly, mounting wear and tear on the nation’s urban roads and highways is expected to increase the cost of needed highway repairs. Vehicle travel in the U.S. increased by 15 percent from 2000 to 2015. U.S. vehicle travel during the first eight months of 2016 increased 3.1 percent from the same period in 2015. Travel by large commercial trucks in the U.S. increased by 26 percent from 2000 to 2014 and is anticipated to increase by approximately 72 percent from 2015 to 2030, putting greater stress on the nation’s roadways.

“With state and local governments struggling to fund needed road repairs and with federal surface transportation funding falling short of the amount needed to make needed improvements, road conditions are projected to get even worse,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Without adequate investment at the local, state and federal levels, our nation’s crumbling pavements will be more than just a nuisance for drivers – they’ll be a roadblock to economic growth and quality of life.”
Bumpy Roads Ahead: America’s Roughest Rides And Strategies To Make Our Roads Smoother

Executive Summary

Keeping the wheel steady on America’s roads and highways has become increasingly challenging as drivers encounter potholes and pavement deterioration. Nearly one-third of the nation’s major urban roadways – highways and major streets that are the main routes for commuters and commerce – are in poor condition. These critical links in the nation’s transportation system carry 70 percent of the approximately 3.1 trillion miles driven annually in America.

Road conditions could deteriorate even further in the future as the rate of vehicle travel continues to increase and local and state government find they are unable to adequately fund road repairs.

In this report, TRIP examines the condition of the nation’s major urban roads, including pavement condition data for America’s most populous urban areas, recent trends in travel, the latest developments in repairing roads and building them to last longer, and the funding levels needed to adequately address America’s deteriorated roadways.

For the purposes of this report, an urban area includes the major city in a region and its neighboring or surrounding suburban areas. Pavement condition data are the latest available and are derived from the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) 2014 annual survey of state transportation officials on the condition of major state and locally maintained roads and highways, based on a uniform pavement rating index. The pavement rating index measures the level of smoothness of pavement surfaces, supplying information on the ride quality provided by road and highway surfaces. The major findings of the TRIP report are:

Nearly one-third of the nation’s major urban roads are rated in substandard or poor condition, providing motorists and truckers with a rough ride and increasing the cost of operating a vehicle.

  • The pavement data in this report, which is for all urban arterial and collector roads and highways, is provided by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), based on data submitted annually by state departments of transportation on the condition of major state and locally maintained roads and highways.
  • Pavement data for Interstate highways and other principal arterials is collected for all system mileage, whereas pavement data for minor arterial and all collector roads and highways is based on sampling portions of roadways as prescribed by FHWA to insure that the data collected is adequate to provide an accurate assessment of pavement conditions on these roads and highways.
  • Nearly one-third (32 percent) of the nation’s major urban roads – Interstates, freeways and other arterial routes – have pavements that are in substandard condition and provide an unacceptably rough ride to motorists.
  • An additional 39 percent of the nation’s major urban roads and highways have pavements that are in mediocre or fair condition, and 28 percent are in good condition.
  • Including major rural roads, 20 percent of the nation’s major roads are in poor condition, 39 percent are in mediocre or fair condition, and 40 percent are in good condition.
  • The following chart shows the 25 urban regions* with a population of 500,000 or greater with the highest share of major roads and highways with pavements that are in poor condition and provide a rough ride.

 

trip2* An urban area includes the major city in a region and its neighboring or surrounding suburban areas.

  • The 25 urban regions* with a population between 200,000 and 500,000 with the greatest share of major roads and highways with pavements that are in poor condition and provide a rough ride are shown in the following chart.

trip3* An urban area includes the major city in a region and its neighboring or surrounding suburban areas.

  • A listing of road conditions for each urban area with a population of 500,000 or more can be found in Appendix A. Pavement condition data for urban areas with a population between 200,000 and 500,000 can be found in Appendix B.
  • The average motorist in the U.S. is losing $523 annually — $112 billion nationally — in additional vehicle operating costs as a result of driving on roads in need of repair. Driving on roads in disrepair increases consumer costs by accelerating vehicle deterioration and depreciation, increasing the frequency of needed maintenance and requiring additional fuel consumption.
  • The following chart shows the 25 urban regions* with at least 500,000 people where motorists pay the most annually in additional vehicle maintenance because of roads in poor, mediocre and fair condition.

trip4* An urban area includes the major city in a region and its neighboring or surrounding suburban areas.

  • The 25 urban regions* with a population between 200,000 and 500,000 where motorists pay the most annually in additional vehicle maintenance because of roads in poor, mediocre and fair condition are shown in the following chart.

trip5* An urban area includes the major city in a region and its neighboring or surrounding suburban areas.

  • A listing of additional vehicle operating costs due to driving on roads in substandard condition for urban areas with populations over 500,000 can be found in Appendix C. Additional vehicle operating costs for urban areas with a population between 200,000 and 500,000 can be found in Appendix D.

With vehicle travel growth returning to pre-recession rates and large truck travel anticipated to grow significantly, the result will be an increase in traffic and wear and tear on the nation’s urban roads and highways. The additional travel will increase the amount of road, highway and bridge investment needed to improve conditions and to meet the nation’s transportation needs.

  • Vehicle travel in the U.S. increased by 15 percent from 2000 to 2015. U.S. vehicle travel during the first eight months of 2016 increased 3.1 percent from the same period in 2015.
  • Travel by large commercial trucks in the U.S. increased by 26 percent from 2000 to 2014. Large trucks place significant stress on roads and highways.
  • The level of heavy truck travel nationally is anticipated to increase by approximately 72 percent from 2015 to 2030, putting greater stress on the nation’s roadways.
  • The 2015 AASHTO Transportation Bottom Line Report found that the U.S. currently has a $740 billion backlog in improvements needed to restore the nation’s roads, highways and bridges to the level of condition and performance needed to meet the nation’s transportation demands.
  • The 2015 AASHTO Transportation Bottom Line Report found that the nation’s road, highway and bridge backlog included $392 billion in needed road and highway repairs to return them to a state of good repair; $112 billion needed in bridge rehabilitation and $237 billion in needed highway capacity expansions to relieve traffic congestion and support economic development.

The federal government is a critical source of funding for road and highway repairs. The current five-year federal surface transportation program includes modest funding increases and provides states with greater funding certainty, but falls far short of providing the level of funding needed to meet the nation’s highway and transit needs. The bill does not include a long-term and sustainable revenue source. 

  • Signed into law in December 2015, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), provides modest increases in federal highway and transit spending, allows states greater long-term funding certainty, and streamlines the federal project approval process. But, the FAST Act does not provide adequate funding to meet the nation’s need for highway and transit improvements and does not include a long-term and sustainable funding source.
  • The five-year, $305 billion FAST Act will provide approximately a 15 percent boost in national highway funding and an 18 percent boost in national transit funding over the duration of the program, which expires in 2020.
  • In addition to federal motor fuel tax revenues, the FAST Act will also be funded by $70 billion in U.S. general funds, which will rely on offsets from several unrelated federal programs including the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the Federal Reserve and U.S. Customs.
  • According to the 2015 AASHTO Transportation Bottom Line Report, a significant boost in investment in the nation’s roads, highways, bridges and public transit systems is needed to improve their condition and to meet the nation’s transportation needs.
  • AASHTO’s report found that based on an annual one percent increase in VMT annual investment in the nation’s roads, highways and bridges needs to increase 36 percent, from $88 billion to $120 billion, to improve conditions and meet the nation’s mobility needs, based on an annual one percent rate of vehicle travel growth. Investment in the nation’s public transit system needs to increase from $17 billion to $43 billion.
  • The Bottom Line Report found that if the national rate of vehicle travel increased by 1.4 percent per year, the needed annual investment in the nation’s roads, highways and bridges would need to increase by 64 percent to $144 billion. If vehicle travel grows by 1.6 percent annually the needed annual investment in the nation’s roads, highways and bridges would need to increase by 77 percent to $156 billion.

Projects to improve the condition of the nation’s roads and bridges could boost the nation’s economic growth by providing significant short- and long-term economic benefits.

  • Highway rehabilitation and preservation projects provide significant economic benefits by improving travel speeds, capacity and safety, and by reducing operating costs for people and businesses.   Roadway repairs also extend the service life of a road, highway or bridge, which saves money by postponing the need for more expensive future repairs.
  • 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.

Transportation agencies can reduce pavement life cycle costs by using higher-quality paving materials that keep roads structurally sound and smooth for longer periods, and by employing a pavement preservation approach that optimizes the timing of repairs to pavement surfaces.

  • There are five life cycle stages of a roadway pavement: design, construction, initial deterioration, visible deterioration and pavement disintegration and failure.
  • 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 2010 Federal Highway Administration report 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.
  • A properly implemented pavement preservation 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.
  • Initial pavement preservation can only be done on road surfaces that are structurally sound. Roads that have significant deterioration must be maintained with surface repairs until sufficient funds are available to reconstruct the road, at which time a pavement preservation strategy can be adopted.
  • The use of thicker pavements and more durable designs and materials for a particular roadway are being used to increase the life span of road and highway surfaces and delay the need for significant repairs. These new pavements include high performance concrete pavements and asphalt pavements that have a perpetual pavement design.

Adequate funding allows transportation agencies to reconstruct roadways that are structurally worn out and adopt the following recommendations for ensuring a smooth ride.

  • Implement and adequately fund a pavement preservation program that performs initial maintenance on road surfaces while they are still in good condition, postponing the need for significant rehabilitation.
  • Use pavement materials and designs that will provide a longer-lasting surface when critical routes are constructed or reconstructed.
  • Resurface roads in a timely fashion using pavement materials that are designed to be the most durable, given local climate and the level and mix of traffic on the road.
  • Invest adequately to ensure that 75 percent of local road surfaces are in good condition.

All data used in the report are the latest available. Sources of information for this report include the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), the AAA, the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), the Transportation Research Board (TRB) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

 

 

TRIP Reports: California Cities Among Those With Most Deteriorated Roads In U.S., Costing Drivers As Much As $1,000 Annualy

Trip LogoCalifornia Cities Among Those With Most Deteriorated Roads In U.S., Costing Drivers As Much As $1,000 Annualy. Road Conditions Expected To Decline Further Without Additional Funding At Local, State & Federal Levels.

California is home to four of the top 25 large urban areas (500,000+ population) and seven of the top 25 mid-sized urban areas (200,000-500,000 population) with the highest share of roads in poor condition, according to a new report released today. Motorists in some California urban areas face some of the highest vehicle operating costs (VOC) in the nation near $1,000 in some cities – as a result of driving on rough roads. Driving on roads in disrepair increases consumer costs by accelerating vehicle deterioration and depreciation, and increasing needed maintenance, fuel consumption and tire wear.

These findings were released today by TRIP, a national transportation research group based in Washington, D.C. The report, Bumpy Roads Ahead: America’s Roughest Rides and Strategies to make our Roads Smoother,” examines urban pavement conditions, transportation funding, travel trends and economic development. Pavement condition and vehicle operating costs for urban areas with populations of 200,000 or greater can be found in the report and appendices. The charts below detail large and mid-sized urban areas with the highest share of pavements on major locally and state-maintained roads and highways in poor condition and the highest vehicle operating costs.

trip-br-1

TRIP Reports:Deficient, Congested Roadways Cost Average Portland Area Driver More Than $1,000 Annually, A Total Of $1 Billion Statewide

Trip LogoCosts Will Rise And Transportation Woes Will Worsen Without Increased Funding

 Roads and bridges that are deficient, congested or lack desirable safety features cost Maine motorists a total of $1 billion statewide annually – $1,035 per driver in the Portland urban area – 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, bridge and transit conditions, boost safety, and support long-term economic growth in Maine, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization.

The TRIP report, Maine Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout Maine, 26 percent of major urban locally and state-maintained roads are in poor condition. Thirty-four percent of Maine’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 700 people were killed in crashes on Maine’s roads from 2010 to 2014.

Driving on deficient roads costs each Portland area driver $1,035 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 costs of traffic crashes in which roadway features likely were a contributing factor. A breakdown of the costs per motorist in Portland and a statewide total is below.

maine-1The TRIP report finds that 56 percent of major roads in the Portland urban area are in poor or mediocre condition, costing the average motorist an additional $524 each year in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

“Maine’s transportation system is the cornerstone of the state’s economy,” said Paul Bradbury, P.E., Airport Director, Portland International Jetport.  “Every business in Maine depends on it, as do our citizens.  That’s why Question #6, the transportation bond on Maine’s statewide ballot, is so important.  It will make needed investments in our bridges and roads, as well as our airports, marine and rail facilities, and trails systems, while leveraging millions of dollars in federal funds.  This is critical for the safety of the traveling public, and for the many businesses across Maine that depend on our system to ship their products to market.”

Traffic congestion in the Portland area is worsening, causing 14 annual hours of delay for the average motorist and costing each driver $332 annually in lost time and wasted fuel.

A total of 34 percent of Maine’s bridges show significant deterioration or do not meet modern design standards. Fifteen percent of Maine’s bridges are structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components. An additional 19 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. In the Portland urban area, 11 percent of bridges are structurally deficient and 25 percent are functionally obsolete.

Traffic crashes in Maine claimed the lives of 737 people between 2010 and 2014. Maine’s overall traffic fatality rate of 0.92 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is lower than the national average of 1.08. But, the fatality rate on Maine’s rural non-Interstate roads was 1.32 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2014, nearly three and a half times higher than the 0.39 fatality rate on all other roads and highways in the state.

The efficiency and condition of Maine’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Annually, $89 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Maine, mostly by truck. Eighty percent of the goods shipped annually to and from Maine are carried by trucks and another 14 percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.

“These conditions are only going to get worse if greater funding is not made available at the state and local levels,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Without adequate investment, Maine’s transportation system will become increasingly deteriorated and congested, hampering economic growth and quality of life of the state’s residents.”

MAINE TRANSPORTATION BY THE NUMBERS:

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

Ten Key Transportation Numbers in Maine

 

$1 billion

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

$1,035 – Portland

TRIP has calculated the cost to the average motorist in the Portland urban area in the form of additional VOC, congestion-related delays and traffic crashes. Driving on deficient roads costs the average Portland driver $1,035 annually.
737

147

A total of 737 people were killed in Maine traffic crashes from 2010 to 2014, an average of 147 fatalities annually.
 

4 %

Vehicle miles of travel on Maine’s roads and highways increased by four percent from the first six months of 2016 compared to the first six months of 2015.
3.5X The fatality rate on Maine’s rural roads is nearly three and a half times higher than the fatality rate on all other roads in the state (1.32 fatalities per 100 million VMT vs. 0.39).
 

26%

Statewide, 26 percent of Maine’s major urban roads are in poor condition. Fifty-eight percent are in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 16 percent are in good condition.
$89 Billion Annually, $89 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Maine, mostly by truck.
 

34%

A total of 34 percent of Maine bridges show significant deterioration or do not meet current design standards. Fifteen percent of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient and 19 percent are functionally obsolete.
14 hours-Portland

$332-Portland

 

Congestion is robbing Maine drivers of time and money. The average driver in the Portland urban area loses 14 hours annually to congestion. Lost time and wasted fuel due to congestion costs each Portland driver $332 annually.
 

$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 Summaryme_trip_infographics_oct_2016

Eight years after the nation suffered a significant economic downturn, Maine’s economy continues to rebound. The rate of economic growth in Maine, which will be greatly impacted by the reliability and condition of the state’s transportation system, continues to have a significant impact on quality of life in the Pine Tree State.

An efficient, safe and well-maintained transportation system provides economic and social benefits by affording individuals access to employment, housing, healthcare, education, goods and services, recreation, entertainment, family, and social activities. It also provides businesses with access to suppliers, markets and employees, all critical to a business’ level of productivity and ability to expand. Reduced accessibility and mobility – as a result of traffic congestion, a lack of adequate capacity, or deteriorated roads, highways, bridges and transit facilities – diminishes a region’s quality of life by reducing economic productivity and limiting opportunities for economic, health or social transactions and activities.

With an economy based largely on manufacturing, agriculture, tourism and fishing, the quality of Maine’s transportation system plays a vital role in the state’s economic growth and quality of life.

In this report, TRIP looks at the top transportation numbers in Maine as the state addresses its need to modernize and maintain its system of roads, highways, bridges and transit.

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

COST TO MAINE MOTORISTS OF DEFICIENT ROADS

An inadequate transportation system costs Maine motorists a total of $1 billion every year in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.

  • Driving on rough roads costs Maine motorists a total of $494 million annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
  • Traffic crashes in which roadway design was likely a contributing factor cost Maine motorists a total of $382 million each year in the form of lost household and workplace productivity, insurance and other financial costs.
  • Traffic congestion costs Maine motorists a total of $135 million each year in the form of lost time and wasted fuel.
  • The chart below details the average cost per driver in the Portland urban area and statewide.

maine-2POPULATION AND ECONOMIC GROWTH IN MAINE

The rate of population and economic growth in Maine have resulted in increased demands on the state’s major roads and highways, leading to increased wear and tear on the transportation system.

  • Maine’s population reached approximately 1.3 million residents in 2015.
  • Maine had 1 million licensed drivers in 2014.
  • Vehicle miles of travel on Maine’s roads and highways increased by four percent from the first six months of 2016 compared to the first six months of 2015.

MAINE ROAD CONDITIONS

A lack of adequate state and local funding has resulted in 26 percent of major urban roads and highways in Maine having pavement surfaces in poor condition, providing a rough ride and costing motorists in the form of additional vehicle operating costs.

  • The pavement data in this report, which is for all arterial and collector roads and highways, is provided by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), based on data submitted annually by the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) on the condition of major state and locally maintained roads and highways.
  • Pavement data for Interstate highways and other principal arterials is collected for all system mileage, whereas pavement data for minor arterial and all collector roads and highways is based on sampling portions of roadways as prescribed by FHWA to insure that the data collected is adequate to provide an accurate assessment of pavement conditions on these roads and highways.
  • Twenty-six percent of Maine’s major urban locally and state-maintained roads are in poor condition, while 58 percent are in mediocre or fair condition. The remaining 16 percent are in good condition.
  • In the Portland urban area, 22 percent of major roads are in poor condition and 34 percent are in mediocre condition. Twenty percent of major roads are in fair condition and the remaining 25 percent are in good condition.
  • Roads rated in mediocre to poor condition may show signs of deterioration, including rutting, cracks and potholes. In some cases, these roads can be resurfaced, but often are too deteriorated and must be reconstructed.
  • Driving on rough roads costs Maine motorists a total of $494 million annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

MAINE BRIDGE CONDITIONS

More than one-third of locally and state-maintained bridges in Maine 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.

  • Fifteen percent of Maine’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.
  • Nineteen percent of Maine’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.
  • In the Portland urban area, 11 percent of bridges are structurally deficient and 25 percent are functionally obsolete.

HIGHWAY SAFETY AND FATALITY RATES IN MAINE

Improving safety features on Maine’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.

  • A total of 737 people were killed in Maine traffic crashes from 2010 to 2014, an average of 147 fatalities per year.
  • Maine’s overall traffic fatality rate of 0.92 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2014 was lower than the national average of 1.08.
  • The fatality rate on Maine’s non-interstate rural roads in 2014 was nearly three and a half times higher than on all other roads in the state (1.32 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.39).
  • In the Portland area, 14 people were killed on average annually in traffic crashes over the last three years.
  • Traffic crashes in Maine imposed a total of $1.1 billion in economic costs in 2014. TRIP estimates that traffic crashes in which roadway features were likely a contributing factor imposed $382 million in economic costs in 2014.
  • According to a 2015 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report, the economic costs of traffic crashes includes work and household productivity losses, property damage, medical costs, rehabilitation costs, legal and court costs, congestion costs and emergency services.
  • 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 20 years.

MAINE TRAFFIC CONGESTION

Increasing levels of traffic congestion cause significant delays in Maine, 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 Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) estimates, the value of lost time and wasted fuel in Maine is approximately $135 million per year.
  • In the Portland urban area, the average driver loses $332 annually as a result of lost time and wasted fuel due to congestion. The average Portland driver loses 14 hours annually 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 when considering expansion or where 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.

TRANSPORTATION FUNDING IN MAINE

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

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

TRANSPORTATION AND ECONOMIC GROWTH IN MAINE

The efficiency of Maine’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Businesses rely 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, $89 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Maine, mostly by truck.
  • Eighty percent of the goods shipped annually to and from sites in Maine are carried by trucks and another 14 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 2015 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.

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