Tag Archive for 'Federal Highway Trust Fund'

TRIP Report: The Condition and Funding Needs of New York’s Local Roads & Bridges

TRIPNew York State’s Local Roads And Bridges Have Significant Deterioration; Conditions Will Worsen Under Current Funding Levels, Which Would Need To Nearly Triple Over Next Decade To Make Needed Road And Bridge Repairs

Nearly half of New York’s locally maintained roads are in need of rehabilitation, preservation or reconstruction and almost one-third of locally maintained bridges are deficient and in need of corrective maintenance or rehabilitation. However, local governments face a significant shortfall in funding needed to maintain and repair the roads, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization.

The TRIP report, The Condition and Funding Needs of New York’s Local Roads and Bridges,” finds that a total of 47 percent of the state’s locally maintained roads are in need of rehabilitation or reconstruction. Fifteen percent of New York’s local roads are rated in poor condition. Roads rated poor are in the later years or beyond their service life, show significant signs of deterioration, and need to be replaced or reconstructed.   In some cases, poor roads can be resurfaced but often are too deteriorated and must be reconstructed. An additional thirty-two percent of New York’s locally maintained roads in need of rehabilitation or preservation to correct adverse effects of age and wear. A desirable goal for state and local organizations that are responsible for road maintenance is to keep 75 percent of major roads in good condition. Thirty-four percent of New York’s locally maintained roads are in good condition and 19 percent are in excellent condition. Roads in good condition require maintenance and minor repairs to protect pavements from avoidable deterioration, while roads in excellent condition require only drain cleaning and crack sealing.

In addition to deteriorated road conditions, a total of 31 percent of New York’s locally maintained bridges are in need of corrective maintenance or rehabilitation to restore the bridge to good condition. Seven percent of locally maintained bridges have serious deterioration that require significant repairs while an additional 24 percent of locally-maintained bridges are rated as deficient and will require corrective maintenance or rehabilitation to restore the bridge to fully functional, non-deficient condition. Of the remaining bridges, 31 percent are in good condition and 38 percent are in excellent condition. Bridges in good condition require regular maintenance and minor upgrades or repairs, while bridges rated excellent need only regular cleaning and sealing.

The TRIP report is based on surveys that were completed by local governments in New York. Forty-two of New York State’s 62 counties and 29 of its municipalities completed the TRIP local roads and bridges survey.

“Having a modern system of roads and bridges in New York State must be a priority,” said Timothy Hens, president of the New York State County Highway Superintendents Association and the Highway Superintendent of Genesee County. “The TRIP report is yet another confirmation that investment in the state’s transportation infrastructure has for years been far short of what is needed. Consequently, we continue to fall further and further behind in our efforts to maintain the system, especially our local roads and bridges. It is therefore critical that the next state Five Year Transportation Capital Plan boosts investment in our transportation infrastructure to ensure its continued safety and functionality and to secure New York’s competitiveness for economic development and job creation for all communities throughout the state.”

Agencies responsible for maintaining New York’s local transportation systems estimate a significant shortfall in needed funds to maintain and repair roads, bridges and highways. The current amount of annual spending on New York’s local roads and bridges would need to increase by 64 percent in order to keep locally maintained roads and bridges in their current condition over the next decade. In order to improve the condition of all locally maintained roads, highways and bridges to good condition or better, the current amount of annual spending over the next decade would need to nearly triple.

The efficiency of New York’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. A 2007 analysis by the Federal Highway Administration found that every $1 billion invested in highway construction would support approximately 27,800 jobs. 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.

“New York’s locally maintained roads will require significant rehabilitation and modernization in order to provide a high quality of life for the state’s residents and an attractive economic climate for businesses and industries,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “The state’s counties and municipalities must have the funding to make the maintenance, repair and upkeep of their transportation system a top priority.”

Executive Summary

New York’s extensive system of roads, highways and bridges provides the state’s residents, visitors and businesses with a high level of mobility. New York’s locally maintained roads provide for travel to work and school, visits with family and friends, and trips to tourist and recreation attractions while simultaneously providing businesses with reliable access for customers, suppliers and employees.

A variety of agencies are responsible for the maintenance and repair of New York’s system of roads and bridges. In addition to transportation assets maintained by federal or state agencies, New York’s local governments are responsible for the repair, maintenance and upkeep of nearly 9,000 bridges (more than half of the bridges in the state) and over 100,000 miles of roads (approximately six out of every seven miles of roads in the state). With already strapped budgets, counties and municipalities must allocate increasingly scarce resources to the maintenance, repair and upkeep of their transportation systems. As a result, a significant portion of New York’s locally maintained roads and bridges is in need of repair or replacement and the current amount of annual transportation funding for local roads is just one-third of what counties and municipalities estimate is needed to make needed repairs to their roads and bridges over the next decade.

New York will need to improve the physical condition of its transportation network and enhance the system’s ability to provide efficient and reliable mobility for residents, visitors and businesses. Making needed improvements to local roads, highways and bridges could provide a significant boost to the state’s economy by creating jobs and stimulating long-term economic growth as a result of enhanced mobility and access. Meeting New York’s need to modernize and maintain its system of local roads, highways and bridges will require a significant, long-term boost in transportation funding at the federal, state and local levels.

To prepare this report, TRIP compiled survey responses from town, city, municipal and county governments in New York that completed a TRIP survey on road and bridge conditions, current transportation spending and the annual funding needs of each county or municipality over the next decade. Information on the condition of roads and bridges and needed funding levels for each local government that responded to the TRIP survey can be found in the appendix of the report.

Agencies responsible for maintaining New York’s local roads and bridges estimate a significant shortfall in needed funds to maintain and repair roads, bridges and highways. At current levels of funding, the condition of locally maintained roads and bridges in New York will worsen and repair costs will escalate. Addressing road and bridge deficiencies before they further worsen will save money because it will be much more costly to make repairs if conditions worsen.

  • In order to improve the condition of all locally maintained roads, highways and bridges to good condition, the current amount of annual spending over the next decade would need to nearly triple.
  • The current amount of annual spending on New York’s local roads and bridges would need to increase by 64 percent just to keep locally maintained roads and bridges in their current condition over the next decade.
  • A 2013 study of local roads and bridges by the New York State Town Highway Superintendents Association projected that the funding needs for local roads and bridges totaled $34.8 billion through 2030.
  • Long-term repair costs increase significantly when road and bridge maintenance is deferred, as road and bridge deterioration accelerates later in the service life of a transportation facility and requires more costly repairs. A study by the Cornell Local Roads Program estimates that every $1 of deferred maintenance on roads and bridges costs an additional $4 to $5 in needed future repairs.
  • Forty-two of New York State’s 62 counties and 29 of its municipalities completed the TRIP local roads and bridges survey.

Population increases and economic growth in New York have resulted in increased demands on all of the state’s roads and bridges, leading to increased wear and tear on the transportation system.

  • New York’s population reached 19.6 million in 2012, an increase of nine percent since 1990. While the state’s overall population has increased slightly in recent years, the lagging economy has caused a decline in population upstate. Upstate New York lost young adults (those between 25 and 34 years old) at a rate of 17 percent per decade since 1990.
  • New York had 11,248,617 licensed drivers in 2012.
  • Vehicle travel in New York increased 20 percent from 1990 to 2012 – from 106.9 billion vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in 1990 to 128.2 billion VMT in 2012.
  • By 2030, vehicle travel in New York is projected to increase by another 10 percent.
  • From 1990 to 2012, New York’s gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 36 percent, when adjusted for inflation.

Nearly half – 47 percent –of New York’s locally maintained roads are in need of rehabilitation, preservation or reconstruction.

  • Fifteen percent of New York’s local roads are rated in poor condition. Roads rated poor are in the later years or beyond their service life, show significant signs of deterioration, and need to be replaced or reconstructed.
  • Thirty-two percent of New York’s locally maintained roads are in need of rehabilitation or preservation to correct the adverse effects of age and wear.
  • Although a desirable goal for state and local organizations that are responsible for road maintenance is to keep 75 percent of major roads in good condition, 34 percent of New York’s locally maintained roads are in good condition and 19 percent are in excellent condition. Roads in good condition require maintenance and minor repairs to protect pavements from avoidable deterioration, while roads in excellent condition require only drain cleaning and crack sealing.

 

Pavement Rating Percentages
Poor 15%
Correct 32%
Good 34%
Excellent 19%

Nearly a third – 31 percent — of locally maintained New York bridges are deficient and in need of corrective maintenance or rehabilitation to restore the bridge to good condition.

  • In New York State, bridge inspectors assess all of a bridge’s individual parts in order to assign a condition score. The New York State Department of Transportation condition rating scale ranges from one to seven, with seven being in new condition and a rating of five or greater considered as good condition. The NYSDOT considers any bridge rated below a five to be deficient.
Bridge Rating Percentages
Poor: <4 7%
Correct: >4 but <5 24%
Good: >5 but <6 31%
Excellent: >6 38%

 

  • Bridges rated below four have serious deterioration at a level that requires corrective maintenance or rehabilitation to restore the bridge to its fully functional, non-deficient condition. Bridges rated between four and five have deterioration that will also require corrective maintenance or rehabilitation.
  • Bridges in good condition (with a rating between five and six) require regular maintenance and minor upgrades or repairs, while bridges rated excellent (with a rating above six) need only regular cleaning and sealing.

The efficiency of New York’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, $550 billion in goods are shipped from sites in New York and another $597 billion in goods are shipped to sites in New York, mostly by truck.
  • Seventy-two percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in New York are carried by trucks and another 22 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.
  • 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.
  • Highway accessibility was ranked the number one site selection factor in a 2011 survey of corporate executives by Area Development Magazine.
  • A 2007 analysis by the Federal Highway Administration found that every $1 billion invested in highway construction would support approximately 27,800 jobs, including approximately 9,500 in the construction sector, approximately 4,300 jobs in industries supporting the construction sector, and approximately 14,000 other jobs induced in non-construction related sectors of the economy.
  • 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.

For the completer report visit: tripnet.org

Sources of information for this report include responses to a TRIP survey from individual New York municipalities and counties, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the U.S. Census, and The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). All data used in the report is the latest available

TRIP Report: America’s Rural Roads and Bridges

Trip 1 Trip 2

ARTBA Bridge Report: More than 63,000 U.S. Bridges Need Structural Repairs

ARBTA Bridge Report 1 ARBTA Bridge Report 2

TRIP: DEFICIENT ROADWAYS COST ALABAMA DRIVERS $1,562 ANNUALLY, TOTAL OF $3.1 BILLION STATEWIDE. COSTS WILL RISE AND TRANSPORTATION WOES WILL WORSEN WITHOUT SIGNIFICANT FUNDING BOOST

DEFICIENT ROADWAYS COST ALABAMA DRIVERS AS MUCH AS $1,562 ANNUALLY, A TOTAL OF $3.1 BILLION STATEWIDE. COSTS WILL RISE AND TRANSPORTATION WOES WILL WORSEN WITHOUT SIGNIFICANT FUNDING BOOST 

Roads and bridges that are deficient, congested or lack desirable safety features cost Alabama motorists a total of $3.1 billion statewide annually 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 Alabama, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization.

The TRIP report, Alabama Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout Alabama, 15 percent of major urban roads and highways are in poor condition. Nearly a quarter of Alabama’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, Alabama’s rural non-interstate traffic fatality rate is nearly double the fatality rate on all other roads in the state.

Driving on deficient roads costs state drivers as much as $1,562 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 Alabama’s largest urban areas: Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile and Montgomery. A breakdown of the costs per motorist in each area along with a statewide total is below.

TRIP AL 1Deficient-roads-cost-Alabama-4_areas“Those of us in the business community are painfully aware of the deficiencies in Alabama’s transportation infrastructure and the direct impact it has on our competitiveness,” said William J. Canary, president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama. “It is time to move together as a state to solve this problem and ensure a broad range of economic opportunities. Alabama’s future depends on it.”

A total of 23 percent of Alabama’s bridges show significant deterioration or do not meet modern design standards.  Nine percent of Alabama’s bridges are structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components. An additional 14 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.

Traffic crashes in Alabama claimed the lives of 4,435 people between 2008 and 2012. Alabama’s traffic fatality rate of 1.33 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is significantly higher than the national average of 1.13.  The traffic fatality rate on Alabama’s non-Interstate rural roads in 2012 was 1.92 traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel, nearly double the 0.99 traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel on all other roads and highways in the state.

“The importance of a long-term sustainable highway construction program is critical to the future of Alabama’s continued economic health.  The safety of the traveling public is just one part of the need for such a program,” said Billy Norrell, CEO of the Alabama Associated General Contractors.  “As our state highways and bridges continue to be strained by increased traffic and wear and tear, there is no choice but to inject additional resources into the system.  Current funding levels are restricting the department into more of a maintenance only organization, capable of less and less new capacity work.  We are confident our elected officials will make the difficult but proper choices when it comes to the future of Alabama’s infrastructure.”

The Federal surface transportation program is a critical source of funding in Alabama.  From 2008 to 2012, the federal government provided $1.32 for road improvements in Alabama for every dollar the state paid in federal motor fees. Congress recently approved an eight-month extension of the federal surface transportation program, which will now run through May 31, 2015. The recent legislation will also transfer 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. The following projects would require significant federal funding to proceed prior to 2019: the construction of several new routes in Montgomery, Birmingham, Anniston and Auburn to relieve congestion and provide for future growth, widening portions of US-80 in Sumter and resurfacing a portion of I-10 in Mobile. A full list of projects can be found in Appendix B.

“These conditions are only going to get worse if greater funding is not made available at the state and federal levels,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Congress can help by approving a long-term federal surface transportation program that provides adequate funding levels, based on a reliable funding source. If not, Alabama is going to see its future federal funding threatened, resulting in in fewer road and bridge repair projects, loss of jobs and a burden on the state’s economy.”

TRIP Report

ALABAMA TRANSPORTATION BY THE NUMBERS:

Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility

AUGUST 2014

Ten Key Transportation Numbers in Alabama

 

$3.1 Billion

Driving on deficient roads costs Alabama motorists a total of $3.1 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.

$1,562$1,226$1,195

$1,218

TRIP has calculated the cost to the average motorist in Alabama’s largest urban areas in the form of additional VOC, congestion-related delays and traffic crashes. The cost for the average driver in each urban area is: Birmingham: $1,562; Huntsville: $1,226; Mobile: $1,195; Montgomery: $1,218.

8874,435

On average, 887 people were killed annually in Alabama traffic crashes from 2008 to 2012, a total of 4,435 fatalities over the five year period.

2X

The fatality rate on Alabama’s non-interstate rural roads is nearly double that on all other roads in the state (1.92 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.99).

$183 billion$189 billion

Annually, $183 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Alabama and another $189 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Alabama, mostly by truck.

23 %

A total of 23 percent of Alabama bridges are in need of repair, improvement or replacement. Nine percent of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient and 14 percent are functionally obsolete.

35 hours28 hours28 hours

29 hours

The average driver in the Birmingham urban area loses 35 hours each year as a result of traffic congestion;  each Huntsville driver loses 28 hours each year; each Mobile driver loses 28 hours; and each Montgomery driver loses 29 hours.

$1.32 

From 2008 to 2012, the federal government provided $1.32 for road improvements in Alabama for every dollar paid in federal motor fuel fees

$1 billion=27,800 jobs An analysis by the Federal Highway Administration found that every $1 billion invested in highway construction would support approximately 27,800 jobs, including approximately 9,500 in the construction sector, approximately 4,300 jobs in industries supporting the construction sector, and approximately 14,000 other jobs induced in non-construction related sectors of the economy.
$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

Alabama’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. Alabama’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 Alabama looks 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 Alabama’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

With a current unemployment rate of 6.8 percent and with the state’s population continuing to grow, Alabama 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 Alabamans.  Meeting Alabama’s need to modernize and maintain its system of roads, highways and bridges will require a significant boost in local, state and federal funding.

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. Congress recently approved the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014, an eight-month extension of the federal surface transportation program, on which states rely for road, highway, bridge and transit funding. The program, initially set to expire on September 30, 2014, will now run through May 31, 2015. In addition to extending the current authorization of the highway and public transportation programs, the legislation will transfer 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.

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 Alabama.

An inadequate transportation system costs Alabama residents a total of $3.1 billion every year in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.

  • TRIP estimates that Alabama 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 $3.1 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 Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile and Montgomery areas.

Trip AL 2Population and economic growth in Alabama have resulted in increased demands on the state’s major roads and highways, leading to increased wear and tear on the transportation system. 

  • Alabama’s population reached approximately 4.8 million in 2012, a 19 percent increase since 1990. Alabama had 3,827,522 licensed drivers in 2012.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Alabama increased by 53 percent from 1990 to 2012 – jumping from 42.3 billion VMT in 1990 to 65 billion VMT in 2012.
  • By 2030, vehicle travel in Alabama is projected to increase by another 30 percent.
  • From 1990 to 2012, Alabama’s gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 47 percent, when adjusted for inflation.

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

  • Fifteen percent of Alabama’s major urban roads and highways have pavements in poor condition, while an additional 35 percent of the state’s major urban roads are rated in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 50 percent are rated in 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 all Alabama motorists a total of $855 million 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 the pavement conditions on major roads in the state’s largest urban areas.

TRIP AL 3Twenty-three percent of locally and state-maintained bridges in Alabama 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. 

  • Nine percent of Alabama’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.
  • Fourteen percent of Alabama’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.

Alabama’s traffic fatality rate is significantly higher than the national average.  Improving safety features on Alabama’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 2008 and 2012 a total of 4,435 people were killed in traffic crashes in Alabama, an average of 887 fatalities per year.
  • Alabama’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.33 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2012 is significantly higher than the national traffic fatality rate of 1.13.
  • The fatality rate on Alabama’s rural non-Interstate roads was 1.92 fatalities per 100 vehicle miles of travel in 2012, nearly double the 0.99 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 Alabama, 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.

  • According to the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), the average driver in the Birmingham urban area loses $773 each year in the cost of lost time and wasted fuel as a result of traffic congestion. The average commuter in the Birmingham urban area wastes 35 hours each year stuck in traffic.
  • Based on TTI methodology, TRIP estimates that the average driver in the Huntsville urban area loses $594 each year in the cost of lost time and wasted fuel as a result of traffic congestion. The average Huntsville commuter wastes 28 hours each year stuck in traffic.
  • Based on TTI methodology, TRIP estimates that the average Mobile-area driver loses $601 each year in the cost of lost time and wasted fuel as a result of traffic congestion. On average, Mobile commuters waste 28 hours each year stuck in traffic.
  • Based on TTI methodology, TRIP estimates that the average driver in the Montgomery urban area loses $604 each year in the cost of lost time and wasted fuel as a result of traffic congestion. The average Montgomery commuter wastes 29 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 Alabama’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, $183 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Alabama and another $189 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Alabama, mostly by truck.
  • Seventy-six percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in Alabama are carried by trucks and another ten 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.
  • 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.
  • Highway accessibility was ranked the number one site selection factor in a 2011 survey of corporate executives by Area Development Magazine.
  • A 2007 analysis by the Federal Highway Administration found that every $1 billion invested in highway construction would support approximately 27,800 jobs, including approximately 9,500 in the construction sector, approximately 4,300 jobs in industries supporting the construction sector, and approximately 14,000 other jobs induced in non-construction related sectors of the economy.
  • 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 Alabama’s roads, highways and bridges and provides a significant return to Alabama in road and bridge funding based on the revenue generated in the state by the federal motor fuel tax. 

  • 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.
  • Congress recently approved the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014, an eight-month extension of the federal surface transportation program, on which states rely for road, highway, bridge and transit funding. The program, initially set to expire on September 30, 2014, will now run through May 31, 2015. In addition to extending the current authorization of the highway and public transportation programs, the legislation will transfer 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.
  • From 2008 to 2012, the federal government provided $1.32 for road improvements in Alabama for every dollar the state paid in federal motor fuel fees.
  • Federal funding has allowed the state to complete many needed transportation projects since 2005, including widening of several portions of I-65, rehabilitation of several sections of I-59, and widening and rehabilitation of portions of I-20. A full list of projects can be found in Appendix A.
  • Numerous transportation projects throughout the state would require significant federal funding to proceed prior to 2019. These projects include the construction of several new routes in Montgomery, Birmingham, Anniston and Auburn to relieve congestion and provide for future growth, as well as widening portions of US-80 in Sumter and resurfacing a portion of I-10 in Mobile. The list of projects can be found in Appendix B.
  • The Alabama Department of Transportation relies heavily on its allocation of federal funds to keep the state’s roads open and in an acceptable state of repair.  Without the annual allocation of federal dollars, the state would lose $170 million for Interstate maintenance (about 85 miles), $80 million for bridge replacement (about 40 bridges), $260 million for the resurfacing of state routes (about 850 miles), and $150 million in capacity improvements (new roads/added lanes).

Sources of information for this report include the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT), the 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).  

For the full report click here

DOT Update on Status of Highway Trust Fund

Unknown

The Secretary of Transportation

Washington, DC 20590

August 5, 2014

Dear Colleague:

As you will recall, on July 1, I notified you of the precarious state of the Highway Trust Fund and the Department’s plan for managing the resources available to transit agencies through the Mass Transit Account if the shortfall continued into the fall.

As a result of the short-term fix for the Highway Trust Fund that Congress passed on July 31, I am writing to let you know that we will not need to implement these cash management procedures at this time.

While I am pleased that Congress took action to avoid the immediate insolvency of the Highway Account this summer, I am disappointed that they merely kicked the can down the road again. This is the tenth surface transportation extension-on top of eighteen short term budget measures–in the last 6 years. There is still no long-tem1 certainty. Worse still, this latest band-aid expires right as the next construction season begins, setting up another crisis next spring. So in the coming months, the Department will again be required to prepare cash management procedures in anticipation of repeating the same Highway Trust Fund insolvency crisis.

Americans deserve a multi-year transportation bill that provides the certainty that businesses and communities deserve, creates jobs, and makes necessary policy updates to lay the foundation for lasting economic growth. As the Senate demonstrated with its bipartisan vote on July 29, there is no reason Congress cannot act on a long-term solution this year. Our transportation infrastructure is too essential to suffer continued neglect, and I hope that Congress uses this opportunity productively. I urge you to stand with me in calling on Congress to commit itself to a sound, bipartisan, and long-term solution that will ensure the stability of the surface transportation system of our Nation for the next several years.

Sincerely,

Anthony R. Foxx