Tag Archive for 'Highway Bill'

ASCE Takes Report Card Grades and Solutions to Lieutenant Governors

How bad is our infrastructure? Probably worse than you ever imagined. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has prepared an Infrastructure Report Card that details the problems the country faces with updating, restoring, improving and making our infrastructure safe with a state-by-state overview. (See link below) The association has been doing an infrastructure report card for some time and has provided the country with a realistic and serious look at the things we all take for granted,  our roads and bridges topping the list. Take the time to review the condition of your state’s infrastructure so that you can support efforts made to improve it.
ASCE participated last week in the National Lt. Governors Association annual State-Federal Relations meeting in Washington, DC. The seconds-in-command of the states and territories gathered in Washington D.C. March 15, 2017, to work on schools, roads, and more. Casey Dinges was on the agenda to talk to the Lt. Governors about the solutions offered in the 2017 Infrastructure Report Card. The meeting also focused on ideas on how to streamline state regulations, preserve international markets for agriculture, and assist veterans with health issues.

2017 Infrastructure Report Card

NAPA Reports: Survey Documents Sustainability of Asphalt Pavements

Nationwide, More Than 77.2 Million Tons of Recycled Materials Used in Asphalt Pavements; One-Third of Asphalt Pavements Produced as Warm Mix

The latest survey of asphalt pavement mix producers documents the industry’s continued success in improving the sustainability of America’s roads through the incorporation of recycled materials and the use of energy-saving warm-mix asphalt technologies.

According to the latest survey of asphalt mix producers conducted by the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), more than 77.2 million tons of recycled materials — primarily asphalt pavement material reclaimed from old roads and parking lots and recycled asphalt roofing shingles — was used in new asphalt pavement mixtures during the 2015 construction season. In addition, nearly a third (32.8 percent) of all asphalt pavement mixture was produced that year at reduced temperatures using warm-mix asphalt technologies.

The survey has gathered annual data from asphalt pavement mix producers and state asphalt pavement associations since 2009. Over that time, it has documented growth in the use of both warm-mix technologies and recycled materials in pavement mixtures. For the 2015 construction season, the survey was extensively revised to collect additional information about how reclaimed asphalt pavement and shingles are used nationwide.

“Asphalt pavements are already recycled at a greater rate than any other material,” stated Dan Gallagher, 2017 NAPA Chairman and Vice President of Gallagher Asphalt Corp. of Thornton, Illinois, “but we are not content with that. We continue to seek out and put to use practices and technologies that deliver high-performing roads, both in terms of drivability and sustainability.”

The survey found that more than 74 million tons of reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) and 1.9 million tons of reclaimed asphalt shingles (RAS) were used in new asphalt pavement mixes in the United States during 2015. An additional 7 million tons of RAP were used as aggregate, cold mix, and other road-building activities. The survey also found that at year-end 2015 about 85 million tons of RAP was stockpiled for future use across the country.
Reclaiming and reusing the asphalt cement and aggregate in RAP and RAS saved about $2.6 billion in 2015 compared to the use of virgin asphalt binder and aggregates. This helps keep asphalt pavement mixture costs competitive and allows road owners to achieve more roadway maintenance and construction activities with limited budgets.

Producers were also asked about ground tire rubber, steel and blast furnace slags, and other waste materials repurposed into pavements. Although national estimates of their usage were not calculated, respondents reported using more than 1.1 million tons of these materials in 2015 in the production of about 8 million tons of asphalt pavement mixes.

In addition to increased use of recycled materials, asphalt mix producers continue to increase the use of energy-saving warm-mix asphalt technologies. In 2015, 119.8 million tons of warm-mix asphalt was produced — nearly one-third of total asphalt pavement mix production. This is a 5 percent increase from 2014 and a greater than 614 percent increase in the use of warm mix since 2009, the first year the survey was conducted.

Warm-mix asphalt is produced with a range of technologies that reduce the production and placement temperature of asphalt pavement mixtures. A variety of environmental, worker safety, and construction benefits have been realized through the adoption of warm-mix asphalt. In 2009, FHWA selected warm-mix asphalt as one of the first technologies targeted for deployment through its Every Day Counts initiative.

“The use of warm-mix asphalt technologies is becoming commonplace. In 14 states, more than half of all asphalt pavement mixtures were produced as warm-mix asphalt, and in four of them, more than 75 percent was produced as warm mix,” stated NAPA President Mike Acott. “This said, there is room to increase its use, and we expect road owners to continue to embrace these technologies for their construction and performance benefits, as well as the energy savings they bring.”

The survey was conducted in 2016. Results from 214 companies with 1,119 plants in 48 states and Puerto Rico, along with data from state asphalt pavement associations for 33 states, were used to compile the report. A copy of the full survey report, including a state-by-state breakdown of data, is available at www.asphaltpavement.org/recycling.

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About the National Asphalt Pavement Association
The National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) is the only trade association that exclusively represents the interests of the asphalt producer/contractor on the national level with Congress, government agencies, and other national trade and business organizations. NAPA supports an active research program designed to improve the quality of asphalt pavements and paving techniques used in the construction of roads, streets, highways, parking lots, airports, and environmental and recreational facilities. The association provides technical, educational, and marketing materials and information to its members; supplies product information to users and specifiers of paving materials; and conducts training courses. The association, which counts more than 1,100 companies as members, was founded in 1955.

ABC Says, Trump’s Executive Action Will Spur Job Growth

 Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Vice President of Regulatory, Labor and State Affairs Ben Brubeck today released the following statement in response to President Trump’s executive order on regulatory reform.

“Associated Builders and Contractors looks forward to working with the Trump administration to fix our broken regulatory system–an administration that values input from the job creators impacted by the unintended consequences of over-regulation. ABC understands the value of a transparent and effective regulatory system, unfortunately, for far too long our economy has been hampered by unnecessarily cumbersome and costly regulations often driven by a political agenda and not backed by sound evidence.

“By taking action to provide needed relief from the costly and onerous regulations created by the Obama administration, President Trump’s executive actions will free up job creators to invest more time and money in their businesses, which will help create jobs and grow the economy. Increased economic growth often translates directly to increased construction activity and more well-paying construction jobs in communities across the country.”
Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is a national construction industry trade association established in 1950 that represents nearly 21,000 members. Founded on the merit shop philosophy, ABC and its 70 chapters help members develop people, win work and deliver that work safely, ethically and profitably for the betterment of the communities in which ABC and its members work. Visit us at abc.org.

TRIP Reports: Driving on Kentucky’s Roads Costs Kentucky Motorists a Total of $4 Billion Annually…

KENTUCKY TRANSPORTATION BY THE NUMBERS:

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

Ten Key Transportation Numbers in Kentucky

 

$4 billion

Driving on roads that are in poor or mediocre condition, congested or lack adequate safety features costs Kentucky motorists a total of $4 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.
 

$805 – Bowling Green

$1,285 – Lexington

$1,899 – Louisville

$1,694 – N. Kentucky

$1,065- Owensboro

TRIP has calculated the cost to the average motorist in Kentucky’s largest urban areas in the form of additional VOC, congestion-related delays and traffic crashes. Driving on roads that are in poor or mediocre condition, congested or lack adequate safety features costs the average Bowling Green driver $805 annually: $1,285 in the Lexington area; $1,899 in the Louisville area; $1,694 in the Northern Kentucky area and $1,065 in the Owensboro area.
3,538

708

A total of 3,538 people were killed in Kentucky traffic crashes from 2011 to 2015, an average of 708 fatalities annually. After decreasing steadily from 2010 to 2013, the number of fatalities rose each year from 2013 to 2015.
 

1.56

4th

Kentucky’s roads and highways have a fatality rate of 1.56 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel, the fourth highest in the U.S. and significantly higher than the national average of 1.13.
7 % – Bowling Green

23 % – Lexington

48 % – Louisville

45 % – N. Kentucky

32 % – Owensboro

Seven percent of major state and locally maintained roads and highways in the Bowling Green urban area have pavements in poor or mediocre condition and 23, 48, 45 and 32 percent, respectively in the Lexington, Louisville, Northern Kentucky and Owensboro urban areas.
16% Statewide, 16 percent of Kentucky’s major urban roads are in poor condition.
$502 Billion Annually, $502 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Kentucky, mostly by truck.
 

1/12

Approximately one-in-twelve (8 percent) of Kentucky’s locally or state-maintained bridges are rated structurally deficient because they have significant deterioration.
14 hours-Bowling Green

27 hours-Lexington

43 hours-Louisville

41 hours-N. Kentucky

13 hours – Owensboro

Congestion is robbing Kentucky drivers of time and money. The average driver in Bowling Green loses 14 hours annually to congestion, while drivers in Lexington lose 27 hours each year. Louisville drivers spend an average of 43 hours each year stuck in traffic, while Northern Kentucky drivers lose 41 hours annually. Owensboro drivers lose an average of 13 hours 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 and reduced emissions.

Executive Summary

Nine years after the nation suffered a significant economic downturn, Kentucky’s economy continues to rebound. The rate of economic growth in Kentucky, 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 Bluegrass 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 agriculture, manufacturing, tourism and natural resource extraction, the quality of Kentucky’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 Kentucky 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 OF KENTUCKY ROADS THAT ARE DETERIORATED, CONGESTED AND LACK SOME SAFETY FEATURES

Driving on Kentucky’s transportation system costs motorists a total of $4 billion every year in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.

  • Driving on rough roads costs Kentucky motorists a total of $1 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
  • Based on a national estimate that roadway design is likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of serious and fatal traffic crashes, TRIP estimates that the economic costs of serious and fatal traffic crashes in Kentucky in which roadway design was likely a contributing factor is $1.4 billion each year in the form of lost household and workplace productivity, insurance and other financial costs.
  • Traffic congestion costs Kentucky residents a total of $1.6 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 as well as statewide.

POPULATION AND ECONOMIC GROWTH IN KENTUCKY

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

  • Kentucky’s population reached approximately 4.4 million residents in 2015, a nine percent increase since 2000.
  • Kentucky had 3 million licensed drivers in 2015.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Kentucky increased from 46.8 billion VMT in 2000 to 48.3 billion VMT in 2015.

KENTUCKY ROAD CONDITIONS

A lack of adequate state and local funding has resulted in 16 percent of major state and locally maintained urban roads and highways in Kentucky 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 Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) 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.
  • Sixteen percent of Kentucky’s major urban locally and state-maintained roads are in poor condition, while 44 percent are in mediocre or fair condition. The remaining 40 percent are in good condition.
  • The chart below details the share of major roads 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 Kentucky motorists a total of $1 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

KENTUCKY BRIDGE CONDITIONS

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

  • Eight percent of Kentucky’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 indicates the share of bridges which are structurally deficient statewide and in Kentucky’s largest urban areas.

HIGHWAY SAFETY AND FATALITY RATES IN KENTUCKY

The traffic fatality rate on Kentucky’s roads is the fourth highest in the nation. Improving safety features on Kentucky’s roads and highways would likely result in a decrease in the state’s traffic fatalities and serious crashes. Nationally, 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 3,538 people were killed in Kentucky traffic crashes from 2011 to 2015, an average of 708 fatalities per year. After decreasing steadily from 2010 to 2013, the number of fatalities rose each year from 2013 to 2015.
  • Kentucky’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.56 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2015 was the fourth highest in the U.S. and significantly higher than the national average of 1.13.
  • In the Bowling Green urban area, an average of 16 people were killed in traffic crashes over the last three years, while an average of 58 people were killed in traffic crashes in the Lexington urban area during that time. An average of 84 people were killed in crashes in the Louisville area over the last three years, while in Northern Kentucky, there was an average of 27 annual traffic fatalities over the last three years, while an average of 14 people were killed in traffic crashes in the Owensboro urban area during that time.
  • Traffic crashes in Kentucky imposed a total of $4.2 billion in economic costs in 2014. Based on a national estimate that roadway design is likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of serious and fatal traffic crashes, TRIP estimates that the economic costs of serious and fatal traffic crashes in Kentucky in which roadway design was likely a contributing factor is $1.4 billion each year in the form of lost household and workplace productivity, insurance and other financial costs.
  • 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.

KENTUCKY TRAFFIC CONGESTION

Increasing levels of traffic congestion cause significant delays in Kentucky, 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 what congestion costs the average driver in the state’s largest urban areas in the form of lost time and wasted fuel and the number of hours lost annually to congestion.

 

  • 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 KENTUCKY

Investment in Kentucky’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.

  • The ability of state and local governments to make needed improvements to Kentucky’s transportation system to improve conditions, enhance economic development opportunities and to improve safety is constrained by the level of available federal, state and local transportation funding.
  • 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 KENTUCKY

The efficiency of Kentucky’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, $502 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Kentucky, mostly by truck.
  • Seventy-six percent of the goods shipped annually to and from sites in Kentucky are carried by trucks and another 13 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).

 

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).