Tag Archive for 'Federal Highway Trust Fund'

ABC Says Construction Unemployment Rates Improve in 10 States Year-Over-Year

Construction unemployment rates were down in 10 states and unchanged in three in January on a year-over-year basis, according to analysis released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). For the nation and 37 states, rates were higher than in January 2016, ending 75 consecutive months of year-over-year declines. The national not seasonally adjusted (NSA) construction unemployment rate of 9.4 percent was up 0.9 percent from January 2016, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Since these industry-specific rates are NSA, it is most accurate to evaluate the national and state-level unemployment rates on a year-over-year basis.

“It was inevitable that the remarkable ongoing streak of year-over-year declines in the national unemployment rate would come to an end at some point,” said Bernard M. Markstein, Ph.D., president and chief economist of Markstein Advisors, who conducted the analysis for ABC. “The halt to this record may be largely due to the mounting shortage of skilled construction workers acting as a drag on the ability of the sector to grow. Despite this challenge, construction activity will continue to advance this year.”

In spite of the year-over-year rise, this was the second lowest national January NSA construction unemployment rate since January 2007 when the rate was 8.9 percent. Meanwhile, BLS data showed that the industry employed 162,000 more workers than in January 2016.

The usual pattern in the movement in the national NSA construction unemployment rate from December to January is an increase. Starting in 2000, when the BLS data for this series begins, the January rate has risen every year. This year’s 2 percent rate increase was no exception.

View states ranked by their construction unemployment rate, their year-over-year improvement in construction unemployment, their monthly improvement in construction unemployment, a regional breakdown of states’ construction unemployment rates and their January unemployment rates for all industries.

The Top Five States
The states with the lowest estimated NSA construction unemployment rates in order from lowest rate to highest were:

1. Hawaii
2. Utah and Virginia (tie)
4. South Carolina
5. Texas

Only one state, Hawaii, was also among the top five in December. Hawaii had the lowest rate among the states, with a 6 percent estimated construction unemployment rate unchanged from January 2016 and the state’s lowest January rate since the 5.1 percent rate in January 2006.

Utah and Virginia, with a 6.3 percent construction unemployment rate, tied for the second lowest rate in January. This was a big jump for Utah, which was also one of the 10 states that experienced a year-over-year drop in its rate, and marked the seventh year in a row that its January rate was down from the year before. For Virginia, the January 2017 rate was the state’s second lowest estimated January rate since the 6.2 percent rate in 2007, behind January 2016’s industry unemployment rate of 5.8 percent.

South Carolina, with the fourth construction unemployment rate lowest rate (6.4 percent), recorded its second lowest January rate, after last January’s 6.2 percent, going back to the beginning of the January estimates in 2000. Texas recorded the fifth lowest rate at 6.6 percent, despite having the seventh largest year-over-year increase in its rate among the states, up 1.5 percent.

The Bottom Five States

The states with the highest NSA construction unemployment rates in order from lowest to highest rates were:

46. Montana
47. Illinois
48. Rhode Island
49. West Virginia
50. Alaska

Four of these states—Alaska, Illinois, Montana and West Virginia—were also among the five states with the highest construction unemployment rates in December. Alaska recorded the highest estimated NSA construction unemployment rate for the fourth month in a row at 22.5 percent. This is to be expected since these are NSA construction unemployment rates; however, the state also had the largest year-over-year increase in its rate at 4.7 percent.

West Virginia had the second highest construction unemployment rate in January (16.4 percent) and its 5.5 percent increase from December was the second largest among the states behind Rhode Island’s 6.5 percent increase.

Rhode Island had the third highest estimated NSA construction unemployment rate in January (16.3 percent); however, it was among the 10 states with a drop in its year-over-year rate (down 0.3 percent) and the state’s lowest estimated January rate since the 11.3 percent rate in January 2007.

Illinois had the fourth highest rate in January, 15.8 percent after recording the third highest rate in December, and Montana had the fifth highest construction unemployment rate in January (15.3 percent), but was among the 10 states with a drop in its year-over-year rate (down 0.3 percent).

Note on Data Revision
On March 13, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its benchmark revision of state employment data covering the period from April 2015 through December 2016 (some data prior to April 2015 were also revised). The models used to estimate state construction unemployment rates were updated incorporating the new data. The revised data and the updated models resulted in some changes to the previously estimated state unemployment rates. Read more on the impact of the revisions on previous construction industry unemployment rate estimates on ABC’s website.

To better understand the basis for calculating unemployment rates and what they measure, see the article Background on State Construction Unemployment Rates.

Peeking At CONEXPO

By Greg Sitek

It’s over and now the industry has it sights on 2020 March 7-11 for the next roll of the CONEXPO-CON/AGG experience. The massive construction show will once againtake over LasVegas as it did this year.

Some 2017 CONEXPO show facts:

  • S. buyer attendance jumped over 16 percent from the 2014 show, and total buyer attendance improved by almost 8 percent.
  • Overall contractor and producer attendance grew by 10 percent.
  • Total attendance neared 128,000 for the week.
  • Almost half of all attendees serve in executive positions at their company, and more than 3-in-5 attendees serve in a decision-making role.
  • Almost 26,000 international attendees from 150 countries braved global headwinds including a strong dollar and flagging export markets and composed nearly 20 percent of overall attendance.
  • Attendees purchased a record-breaking 52,000 tickets for education sessions at the show, a 26 percent increase from the 2014 show. Total ticket sales excluding IFPE jumped by over 27 percent compared to 2014.

Without doubt this was one of the most upbeat industry shows I’ve attended. The excitement over the proposed $1 trillion infrastructure bill permeated the show. It was a treat to feel the positive attitude that greeted you every time you sat down for a press conference or entered a booth.

A forward-looking vision for construction and infrastructure took center stage at CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE 2017, from the unveiling of the world’s first 3D-printed excavator and the new Tech Experience to the largest show floor in history and a stellar education lineup featuring leading innovators.

The exhibitions held March 7-11, 2017 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, highlighted the newest product innovations and best practices for the construction and construction materials and fluid power/power transmission/motion control industries.

CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE 2017 spanned a record 2.8 million-plus net square feet of exhibits with a record 2,800-plus exhibitors from the leading U.S. and global manufacturers, from multinational giants to small firms with specialized products.

The technological changes revolutionizing construction and manufacturing were a central feature throughout the show. The first-ever Tech Experience pavilion attracted solid traffic throughout the week, as attendees flocked to see the world’s first-ever 3D-printed excavator, hear from industry innovators during a collection of “Tech Talks,” and engage with the conclusion of the Infrastructure Vision 2050 Challenge Finale, which awarded $100,000 in prize money to winners over a crowd sourced competition to develop forward-looking infrastructure solutions.

There was no shortage of new products and technologies introduced at the show. The following are less than glimpse of only a few but illustrate the kinds of information and products shown this year in Las Vegas. Watch for more. 

JCB previewed an all-new skid steer and compact track loader with a telescopic boom. The JCB Teleskid is a revolutionary new product that can reach 60% further forward than other skid steers and can dig below its chassis to an unparalleled depth of around a little more than 3 feet (one meter).

LiuGong showcased its revolutionary new product – the Vertical Lift Wheel Loader. The product was first unveiled at LiuGong’s global dealer conference in November 2016 and was shown for the first time outside of China at CONEXPO This truly is new technology. The key innovations of the product are the vertical lift loader arms on an articulating frame and the mechanical self-leveling Z-bar bucket linkage on a vertical lift loader.

Wacker Neuson is expanding its telehandler line with the addition of the TH627. The TH627 is the second model in the manufacturer’s line to offer a unique ground-engaging telehandler that is a versatile three-in-one machine concept. Designed with a hydraulic universal attachment plate (SSL), the TH627 can be used with ground-engaging attachments and work like a (1) wheel loader to dig and carry, (2) a skid steer with a compact foot print capable of using multiple attachments and (3) a telehandler with a lift height of 18-feet, 7-inches and 5,500 pounds lifting capacity.

GOMACO Remote Diagnostics (GRD) is proven in the field by GOMACO contractors. GRD is more than telematics, giving owners the visibility of how, when, and where their equipment is being used. It’s a powerful extension to GOMACO’s existing service capabilities. It allows technicians a diagnostic review of a GOMACO machine from corporate headquarters in Ida Grove, Iowa, USA, at the owner’s shop, or on the job site. GRD will transmit G+® settings, configuration and fault history for an immediate and complete diagnosis. GRD also allows software updates, fleet management, service indicators. This remote capability also allows software updates to the G+ for specific applications or unique job-site logistics, such as new radius technology, support for new sensors, new code for 3D machine guidance technology, or additional updates for new product introductions. 

Topcon Positioning Group announces the next generation of automated concrete paving — the ZPS system — with the new Z-Robot and Z-Stack sensor. Using enhanced Topcon Millimeter GPS® technology, the ZPS system is designed to bring unmatched accuracy to concrete paving with a fraction of the hardware required for traditional LPS (local positioning system).

The new Z-Robot is an advanced robotic total station with integrated Z-beam laser technology. The Z-Robot is designed to provide a hybrid function of high-precision, optically-based vertical accuracy control and the convenience of Z-beam laser positioning to maintain that accuracy across the paver. It was shown at the show on a GOMACO paver.

CASE introduced the DL450 a fully integrated compact dozer loader AKA “Project Minotaur” – a first-of-its-kind fully integrated design that matches the best operating characteristics of a compact track loader (CTL) with a crawler dozer. A launch/production date for the machine has not been confirmed, but CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2017 represents a new and advanced phase in product development with extensive voice of customer work being conducted at the show and with top contractors.Project Minotaur” brings together the footprint and performance of a compact track loader with the true power and dozing characteristics of a bulldozer; the new product is currently in “concept” phase.

Remember, this is only a glimpse of what CONEXPO-CON/AGG was…

 

 

 

TRIP Reports: Driving on deficient roads costs Colorado motorists a total of $6.8 billion annually

COLORADO TRANSPORTATION BY THE NUMBERS:

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

Ten Key Transportation Numbers in Colorado

 

$6.8 billion

Driving on deficient roads costs Colorado motorists a total of $6.8 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.
$1,954 – Co. Springs

$2,162–Denver

$1,396 –Northern Colorado

$1,264-Grand Junction

$1,553 – Pueblo

TRIP has calculated the cost to the average motorist in the state’s largest urban areas in the form of additional VOC, congestion-related delays and traffic crashes. Drivers in the state’s largest urban areas incur annual costs as a result of driving on deficient roads as follows: Colorado Springs, $1,954; Denver, $2,162; Northern Colorado, $1,396; Grand Junction, $1,264; and Pueblo, $1,553.
2,434

487

A total of 2,434 people were killed in Colorado traffic crashes from 2011 to 2015, an average of 487 fatalities annually.
 

22%

10th

20%

Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Colorado increased by 22 percent from 2000 to 2015 –from 41.8 billion VMT in 2000 to 51.1 billion VMT in 2015 – the tenth largest increase in the nation during that time. By 2030, vehicle travel in Colorado is projected to increase by another 20 percent.
2 1/2 X The fatality rate on Colorado’s rural roads is two-and-a-half times greater than the fatality rate on all other roads in the state (2.09 fatalities per 100 million VMT vs. 0.83).
 

41%

Forty-one percent of Colorado’s major urban roads are in poor condition. Forty-three percent are in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 15 percent are in good condition.
$323 Billion Annually, $323 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Colorado, mostly by truck.
 

6%

Six percent of Colorado’s bridges are structurally deficient, meaning they have significant deterioration to the major components of the bridge.
Co. Springs: 35 hrs.

Denver: 49 hrs.

Northern Colorado:

17 hrs.

Grand Junction: 11 hrs.

Pueblo: 10 hrs.

Mounting congestion robs drivers of time and fuel. Annual time wasted in congestion for drivers in the state’s largest urban areas is as follows: Colorado Springs, 35 hours; Denver, 49 hours; Northern Colorado, 17 hours; Grand Junction, 11 hours; Pueblo, 10 hours.
 

$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

Nine years after the nation suffered a significant economic downturn, Colorado’s economy continues to rebound. The rate of economic growth in Colorado, which is greatly impacted by the reliability and condition of the state’s transportation system, has a significant impact on quality of life in the Centennial 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 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, natural resource extraction and tourism, the quality of Colorado’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 Colorado as the state addresses modernizing and maintaining its system of roads, highways, bridges and transit.

COST TO COLORADO MOTORISTS OF DEFICIENT ROADS

An inadequate transportation system costs Colorado motorists a total of $6.8 billion every year in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.

  • Driving on rough roads costs Colorado motorists a total of $2.3 billion 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 costs Colorado motorists a total of $1.6 billion each year in the form of lost household and workplace productivity, insurance and other financial costs.
  • Traffic congestion costs Colorado motorists a total of $2.9 billion each year in the form of lost time and wasted fuel.
  • The chart below details the average cost per driver in the state’s largest urban areas and statewide.

POPULATION, TRAVEL AND ECONOMIC TRENDS IN COLORADO

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

  • Colorado’s population reached approximately 5.5 million residents in 2015, a 27 increase since 2000 and the sixth largest increase in the nation during that time. Colorado had approximately 4 million licensed drivers in 2015.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Colorado increased by 22 percent from 2000 to 2015 –from 41.8 billion VMT in 2000 to 51.1 billion VMT in 2015 – the tenth largest increase in the nation during that time.
  • From 2000 to 2015, Colorado’s gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 32 percent, when adjusted for inflation. U.S. GDP increased 27 percent during this time.
  • During the first nine months of 2016, VMT in Colorado was up 3.2 percent from the first nine months of 2015, ahead of the national rate of VMT growth of three percent during that time.
  • By 2030, vehicle travel in Colorado is projected to increase by another 20 percent.

COLORADO ROAD CONDITIONS

A lack of adequate state and local funding has resulted in 41 percent of major urban roads and highways in Colorado 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 Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) 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.
  • Forty-one percent of Colorado’s major locally and state-maintained urban roads and highways have pavements in poor condition, 43 percent are rated in mediocre or fair condition, and the remaining 15 percent are rated in good condition.
  • Twelve percent of Colorado’s major locally and state-maintained rural roads and highways have pavements in poor condition, 48 percent are rated in mediocre or fair condition, and the remaining 40 percent are rated in good condition.
  • The chart below details the share of pavement in poor, mediocre, fair and good condition in the state’s largest urban areas.

  • 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 Colorado motorists a total of $2.3 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

COLORADO BRIDGE CONDITIONS

Six percent of locally and state-maintained bridges in Colorado show significant deterioration. This includes all bridges that are 20 feet or more in length.

  • Six percent of Colorado’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.
  • The chart below details the share of structurally deficient bridges in Colorado Springs, Denver, Northern Colorado and statewide.

HIGHWAY SAFETY AND FATALITY RATES IN COLORADO

Improving safety features on Colorado’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 2,434 people were killed in Colorado traffic crashes from 2011 to 2015, an average of 487 fatalities per year.
  • Colorado’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.08 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2015 was lower than the national average of 1.13.
  • The fatality rate on Colorado’s non-interstate rural roads in 2015 was two-and-a-half times greater than on all other roads in the state (2.09 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.83).
  • The chart below details the average number of people killed in traffic crashes from 2013 to 2015 in the state’s largest urban areas, as well as the cost per motorist of traffic crashes.

  • Traffic crashes in Colorado imposed a total of $4.9 billion in economic costs in 2015. TRIP estimates that traffic crashes in which roadway features were likely a contributing factor imposed $1.6 billion in economic costs in 2015.
  • 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.

COLORADO TRAFFIC CONGESTION

Increasing levels of traffic congestion cause significant delays in Colorado, 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.

  • The chart below details the number of hours lost to congestion by the average driver in the state’s largest urban areas, as well as the annual cost of traffic congestion per driver in the form of lost time and wasted fuel.

  • 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 COLORADO

Investment in Colorado’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,. 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 COLORADO

The efficiency of Colorado’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, $323 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Colorado, mostly by truck.
  • Seventy-five percent of the goods shipped annually to and from sites in Colorado are carried by trucks and another 21 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).

ARTBA Comments: Trump Executive Order on Waters of the U.S. Rule Beneficial to Transportation Permitting Process

 President Trump’s Feb. 28 executive order directing the withdrawal of the controversial “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule removes an unnecessary obstacle that would have delayed transportation improvement projects, the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) says.

At issue for the transportation construction industry is how the Obama Administration’s U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) attempted to redefine what collections of water constitute the WOTUS and are therefore subject to federal authority. Before EPA issued the rule, ARTBA told the agency on multiple occasions that “roadside ditches are not, and should not be regulated as, traditional jurisdictional wetlands as they are not connected water bodies and they contribute to the public health and safety of the nation by dispersing water from roadways.”

The rule, however, did not categorically exempt roadside ditches from federal jurisdiction. Instead, the EPA, in a regulatory overreach, decided a litany of qualifications must be met before a roadside ditch can be deemed exempt from federal permitting requirements.

ARTBA explained to EPA such a piecemeal approach would add another layer of burdensome permitting requirements, create confusion and increase permitting delays for transportation projects. The WOTUS rule, the association said, would also likely be used as a litigation tool to delay projects and, in the process, make them more expensive for taxpayers.

Subsequently, ARTBA, in addition to numerous other trade associations and state governments, sought relief from the federal courts. As a result of that litigation, the WOTUS rule was stayed nationwide.

It’s unclear how the Feb. 28 executive order will impact future federal court proceedings. The association said it plans to work with EPA Administrator Pruitt to craft a new rule that strikes the proper balance between necessary regulatory protection and the nation’s infrastructure needs.

Established in 1902, ARTBA is the transportation construction industry’s “consensus voice” on environmental and regulatory matters in the Nation’s Capital.

TRIP Reports: Driving on deficient roads costs West Virginia motorists a total of $1.4 billion annually

WEST VIRGINIA TRANSPORTATION BY THE NUMBERS:  

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

Ten Key Transportation Numbers in West Virginia

 

$1.4 billion

Driving on deficient roads costs West Virginia motorists a total of $1.4 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.
 

$647

TRIP estimates that driving on rough roads costs the average West Virginia motorists an average of $647 annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
1,548

310

A total of 1,548 people were killed in West Virginia traffic crashes from 2011 to 2015, an average of 310 fatalities annually.
 

1.35

West Virginia’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.35 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2015 was significantly higher than the national average of 1.13.
3X The fatality rate on West Virginia’s rural roads is nearly three times higher than the fatality rate on all other roads in the state (2.24 fatalities per 100 million VMT vs. 0.81).
 

29%

Statewide, 29 percent of West Virginia’s major roads are in poor condition. Fifty-five percent are in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 17 percent are in good condition.
$119 Billion Annually, $119 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in West Virginia, mostly by truck.
17%

5th

A total of 17 percent of West Virginia bridges show significant deterioration and are rated as structurally deficient. West Virginia ranks 5th nationally in its share of bridges rated structurally deficient. This is up from 2015 when 15% percent were structurally deficient – the 8th highest share in the U.S. at the time.
 

16%

From 2000 to 2015, West Virginia’s gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 16 percent, when adjusted for inflation. U.S. GDP increased 27 percent during this time.
 

$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

Nine years after the nation suffered a significant economic downturn, West Virginia’s economy continues to struggle. The rate of economic growth in West Virginia, 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 Mountain 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 natural resource extraction, manufacturing, agriculture, biotechnology and tourism, the quality of West Virginia’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 West Virginia as the state addresses modernizing and maintaining 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 WEST VIRGINIA MOTORISTS OF DEFICIENT ROADS

An inadequate transportation system costs West Virginia motorists a total of $1.4 billion every year in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.

  • Driving on rough roads costs West Virginia motorists a total of $758 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 costs West Virginia motorists a total of $461 million each year in the form of lost household and workplace productivity, insurance and other financial costs.
  • Traffic congestion costs West Virginia motorists a total of $225 million each year in the form of lost time and wasted fuel.
  • The chart below details the average cost per driver in the state’s largest urban areas and statewide.

 

POPULATION AND ECONOMIC TRENDS IN WEST VIRGINIA

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

  • West Virginia’s population in 2015 was approximately 1.84 million residents.
  • West Virginia had 1.2 million licensed drivers in 2015.
  • In 2015, West Virginia’s roads carried 19.5 billion vehicle miles of travel.
  • From 2000 to 2015, West Virginia’s gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 16 percent, when adjusted for inflation. U.S. GDP increased 27 percent during this time.

WEST VIRGINIA ROAD CONDITIONS

A lack of adequate state and local funding has resulted in 29 percent of major roads and highways in West Virginia 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 West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT) 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-nine percent of West Virginia’s major locally and state-maintained roads are in poor condition, while 55 percent are in mediocre or fair condition. The remaining 17 percent are in good condition.
  • The chart below details the share of major roads in poor, mediocre, fair and good condition in West Virginia’s largest urban areas:
  • 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 West Virginia motorists a total of $758 million annually — $647 per driver — in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

WEST VIRGINIA BRIDGE CONDITIONS

Approximately one in six of locally and state-maintained bridges in West Virginia show significant deterioration. This includes all bridges that are 20 feet or more in length.

  • Seventeen percent of West Virginia’s bridges were structurally deficient in 2016, the 5th highest share nationally. This is up from 2015 when 15 percent of the state’s bridges were structurally deficient, the 8th highest share in the nation at that time. In 2014, 13 percent of the state’s bridges were structurally deficient, the 12th highest share at the time. 
  • 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.
  • The chart below details the share of bridges in the state’s largest urban areas that are structurally deficient.

 

HIGHWAY SAFETY AND FATALITY RATES IN WEST VIRGINIA

Improving safety features on West Virginia’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 1,548 people were killed in West Virginia traffic crashes from 2011 to 2015, an average of 310 fatalities per year.
  • West Virginia’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.35 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2015 was significantly higher than the national average of 1.13.
  • The fatality rate on West Virginia’s non-interstate rural roads in 2015 was nearly three times higher than on all other roads in the state (2.24 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.81).
  • The chart below details the average number of people killed in traffic fatalities in the state’s largest urban areas over the last three years.

  • Traffic crashes in West Virginia imposed a total of $1.4 billion in economic costs in 2014. TRIP estimates that traffic crashes in which roadway features were likely a contributing factor imposed $461 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.

WEST VIRGINIA TRAFFIC CONGESTION

Increasing levels of traffic congestion cause significant delays in West Virginia, 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 West Virginia is approximately $225 million per year.
  • The chart below details the annual number of hours lost to congestion and the cost of lost time and wasted fuel as a result of congestion for the average driver in each of the state’s largest urban areas.

  • 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 WEST VIRGINIA

Investment in West Virginia’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 WEST VIRGINIA

The efficiency of West Virginia’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, $119 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in West Virginia, mostly by truck.
  • Seventy-two percent of the goods shipped annually to and from sites in West Virginia are carried by trucks and another 10 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).