Tag Archive for 'Highway Bill'

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ARTBA-Supported Ad Campaigns Launched on Multiple Fronts to Push Highway Trust Fund Fix

d9cdad69-e8aa-4830-b455-58392c53ea55Ads Coincide with House & Senate Tax Committee
Hearings this Week on Long-Term Transportation Funding

The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) and its industry allies are launching advertising campaigns on multiple mediums this week to draw congressional attention to the urgent need to find a permanent solution for the federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF).

ARTBA is running a 60-second television ad touting its “Getting Beyond Gridlock” (GBG) proposal.  GBG marries a 15 cents-per-gallon increase in the federal gas and diesel motor fuels tax with an offsetting federal tax rebate for middle and lower income Americans for six years, if necessary. The plan would fund a six-year, $401 billion, highway and public transit capital investment program and provide sustainable, user-based funds to support it for at least the next 10 years.  The TV spot will air multiple times June 16-18 on Fox and CNN inside Washington, D.C.  Watch the ad.

The association has also deployed companion digital ads that direct congressional staff to the GBG website for additional information about how their states would benefit from the program’s implementation.

The HTF is the source, on average, of more than 50 percent of highway and bridge capital investments made annually by state governments.  The latest funding authorization for the highway and public transit program expires July 31.  The House Ways & Means and Senate Finance Committees are holding hearings this week to explore long-term funding options to improve the trust fund’s fiscal health.

ARTBA said it has also produced a new print ad that will run this week in Capitol Hill publications.  “There is one sure way to sustainably end the Highway Trust Fund’s chronic cash flow problem… and not just for five or six years.  Increase the federal motor fuels excise rate by 15-cents per gallon and index it to inflation,” the ad reads.  “The government’s energy experts see pretty stable short term motor fuel consumption ahead.  Adjusting the gas and diesel excise rate now will result in a highly predictable and reliable revenue stream for Highway Trust Fund investments for years to come,” the ad concludes.

To compliment these efforts, the ARTBA co-chaired Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) and the American Public Transportation Association are partnering on a 60-second television ad this week highlighting President Ronald Reagan’s 1982 gas tax increase proposal to support highway and public transit improvements.  It will air June 16-18 on CNN and Fox News inside Washington, D.C.  The TCC is also running a companion June 16-18 during morning and afternoon drive time on Washington’s top rated, news talk station, WTOP.

ARTBA Statement from Capitol Hill News Event on Federal Transportation Funding

d9cdad69-e8aa-4830-b455-58392c53ea55The following is the statement delivered today by American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer Bill Toohey at a Capitol Hill news conference with senators to discuss highway and transit funding

“It’s a truism that has been said many times before: we do not have a Republican road network. We do not have a Democratic road network. We have an American road network… an American bridge network… and an American transit network.

“And if one thing has been learned over the past decade, it’s that neither political party has had the will to enact a long-term funding solution when they had the numbers and opportunity to do it. It is going to take bipartisan cooperation… a bipartisan solution… and bipartisan political risk to get the job done.

“And by long-term solution, we do not mean a four- to six-year patch. That will just leave us facing another $16 billion a year-plus funding cliff at the end of the next authorization. We want a sustainable funding solution to put this critical national program back on solid footing for the next decade.

“While some are worried about the political consequences of voting for a real trust fund fix, the rest of America is worried about commute times growing… bridges being closed… shipping costs increasing… and jobs being lost.

“It’s time for both parties to work together for America to put this behind us.”

Partners of Necessity: Public-Private Partnerships in the Post-Recession World

Partners of Necessity

TRIP Report: America’s Rural Roads & Bridges Have Significant Deficiencies & High Fatality Rates; Repairs & Modernization Needed To Improve Conditions, Boost Safety & Support Economic Growth

America’s rural transportation system is in need of repairs and modernization to support economic growth in the nation’s Heartland, which is a critical source of energy, food and fiber and home to an aging and increasingly diverse population that is heavily reliant on the quality of its transportation system. A new report released today by TRIP evaluates the safety and condition of the nation’s rural roads and bridges and finds that the nation’s rural transportation system is in need of improvements to address deficient roads and bridges, high crash rates, and inadequate connectivity and capacity. TRIP is a national non-profit transportation research group based in Washington, D.C. The chart below shows the states with the highest rate of rural pavements in poor condition, states with the highest share of structurally deficient rural bridges and those with the highest fatality rates on rural roads.

TRIP Rural 1America’s rural roads and bridges have significant deficiencies. In 2013, 15 percent of the nation’s major rural roads were rated in poor condition and another 39 percent were rated in mediocre or fair condition. In 2014, 11 percent of the nation’s rural bridges were rated as structurally deficient and 10 percent were functionally obsolete.

The federal surface transportation program is a critical source of funding for rural roads. However, the current federal surface transportation program is set to expire on May 31, 2015.

“The 61 million people who live in America’s rural heartland deserve a transportation system that is safe, efficient and reliable,” said Kathleen Bower, AAA vice president of public affairs. “It is up to Congress to pass a fully funded, long-term bill to improve our nation’s rural roads before the Highway Trust Fund runs out of money this summer.”

In addition to deteriorated roads and bridges, the TRIP report finds that traffic crashes and fatalities on rural roads are disproportionately high, occurring at a rate nearly three times higher than all other roads. In 2013, non-Interstate rural roads had a traffic fatality rate of 2.20 deaths for every 100 million vehicle miles of travel, compared to a fatality rate on all other roads of 0.75 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles of travel. Rural traffic fatality rates remain high, despite a substantial decrease in the number of overall fatalities.

“America’s rural transportation network plays a key role in the success and quality of life for U.S. farmers and ranchers,” said Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. “But deteriorated and deficient rural roads and bridges are hindering our nation’s agricultural goods from reaching markets at home and abroad and slowing the pace of economic growth in rural America. Securing the appropriate resources at the local, state and federal levels will allow for the improvements needed to provide a rural transportation system that will keep goods moving, improve quality of life and quicken the pace of economic growth.”

The quality of life in America’s small communities and rural areas and the health of the nation’s rural economy is highly reliant on the quality of the nation’s rural transportation system, particularly its roads, highways and bridges. America’s rural transportation system provides the first and last link in the supply chain from farm to market while supporting the tourism industry and enabling the growing production of energy, food and fiber. Rural Americans are more reliant on the quality of their transportation system than their urban counterparts.

TRIP Rural Roads-Final“America’s rural transportation system enables the farm to market supply chain, supports our tourism and energy industries, and allows for the production of the goods and services that are vital to our nation’s economic health and growth,” said Janet Kavinoky, executive director of Transportation and Infrastructure at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “But years of inadequate transportation funding have left a deficient rural transportation network that does not meet present-day demands. Improving the transportation system will create jobs today and leave a lasting asset for future generations.”

The TRIP report finds that the U.S. needs to adopt transportation policies that will improve rural transportation connectivity, safety and conditions to provide the nation’s small communities and rural areas with safe and efficient access to support quality of life and enhance economic productivity. To accomplish this, the report recommends modernizing and extending key routes to accommodate personal and commercial travel, implementing needed roadway safety improvements, improving public transit access to rural areas, and adequately funding the preservation and maintenance of rural transportation assets.

“The safety and quality of life in America’s small communities and rural areas and the health of the nation’s economy ride on our rural transportation system. The nation’s rural roads provide crucial links from farm to market, move manufactured and energy products, and provide access to countless tourism, social and recreational destinations,” said Will Wilkins, executive director of TRIP.  “But, with long-term federal transportation legislation stuck in political gridlock in Washington, economic growth in America’s rural communities could be threatened.  Funding the modernization of our rural transportation system will create jobs and help ensure long-term economic development and quality of life in rural America.”

Rural Connections:

Challenges and Opportunities in America’s Heartland

Executive Summary

America’s rural heartland plays a vital role as home to a significant share of the nation’s population, many of its natural resources, and popular tourist destinations. It is also the primary source of the energy, food and fiber that supports America’s economy and way of life. The strength of the nation’s rural economy is heavily reliant on the quality of the transportation system, particularly the roads and highways that link rural America with the rest of the U.S. and to markets in other countries. The economy of rural America rides on the quality and connectivity of the rural transportation system, which supports quality of life for the approximately 61 million Americans living in rural areas.

Good transportation is essential to rural areas to provide access to jobs, to facilitate the movement of goods and people, to access opportunities for health care and educational skills, and to provide links to other social services. Transportation supports businesses and is a critical factor in a company’s decision to locate new business operations. For communities that rely on tourism and natural amenities to help support their economy, transportation is the key link between visitors and destinations.

Roads, highways, rails and bridges in the nation’s heartland face a number of significant challenges: they lack adequate capacity, they fail to provide needed levels of connectivity to many communities, and they are not adequate to accommodate growing freight travel in many corridors. Rural roads and bridges have significant deficiencies, they lack many desirable safety features, and they experience fatal traffic crashes at a rate far higher than all other roads and highways. This report looks at the condition, use and safety of the nation’s rural transportation system, particularly its roads, highways and bridges, and identifies needed improvements.

Rural areas in this report are based on the U.S. Census Bureau definition, which defines rural areas as regions outside of urban areas with a population of 2,500 or more. Road, bridge and safety data in this report is based on the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) definition, which allows states to either use the U.S. Census Bureau definition to identify rural routes or to define rural areas as regions outside of urban areas with a population of 5,000 or more.

The following are the key findings of the report.

An aging and increasingly diverse rural America plays a vital role as home to a significant share of the nation’s population, natural resources and tourist destinations. It is also the primary source of the energy, food and fiber that drive the U.S. economy. Rural Americans are more reliant on the quality of their transportation system than their urban counterparts.

  • While there are many ways to define rural, the U.S. Census Bureau defines rural areas as regions outside of urban areas with a population of 2,500 or more.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau definition, 19 percent of the nation’s residents live in rural areas – approximately 61 million of the nation’s 314 million people in 2014.
  • America’s rural population increased gradually each year from 1976 to 2010, rising between 0.1 and 1.5 percent each year. From 2010 to 2014, the nation’s rural population declined slightly as rural areas continued to be impacted by the Great Recession.
  • While overall rural populations declined slightly between 2010 and 2014, population did increase in some rural areas from 2010 to 2014. This population increase occurred primarily in rural counties that have been impacted by the ongoing energy boom, particularly in the Northern Great Plains as well as portions of Arkansas, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Texas.
  • Many of the transportation challenges facing rural America are similar to those in urbanized areas. However, rural residents tend to be more heavily reliant on their limited transportation network – primarily rural roads and highways- than their counterparts in more urban areas. Residents of rural areas often must travel longer distances to access education, employment, retail locations, social opportunities and health services.
  • The rural U.S. population is aging more rapidly than the nation as a whole. The share of older adults in rural areas is disproportionate, with 17.2 percent of those living in rural areas over age 65, while 12.8 percent of residents in urban areas and 13 percent of the nation’s total population are over 65.
  • Rural areas are growing increasingly more diverse. Although racial and ethnic minorities make up only 21 percent of the rural population, minorities accounted for nearly 83 percent of rural population growth between 2000 and 2010.
  • The movement of retiring baby boomers to rural America is likely to continue in the future as aging Americans seek out communities that offer affordable housing, small-town quality of life and desirable natural amenities, while often located within a short drive of larger metropolitan areas.
  • Eighty-six percent of trips taken by Americans to visit rural areas are for leisure purposes.
  • Popular tourism activities in rural America include hiking, golfing, biking, hunting, fishing and water sports. Rural areas are also home to beaches, national and state parks, wineries, orchards and other national amenities.
  • The amount of rural tourism in a region is tied partly to the level of highway access.

The quality of life in America’s small communities and rural areas and the health of the nation’s rural economy is highly reliant on the quality of the nation’s transportation system, particularly its roads, highways and bridges. America’s rural transportation system provides the first and last link in the supply chain from farm to market while supporting the tourism industry and enabling the production of energy, food and fiber.

  • Freight mobility and efficiency is fundamental to rural economic vitality and prosperity. Economic growth and stability in rural areas is heavily reliant on the ability to move raw materials into, or the value-added products out of, these areas.
  • The annual value of agricultural production in the U.S. increased by 33 percent from $297 billion in 2007 to $395 billion in 2012.
  • While farming accounts for just six percent of all jobs in rural America, for every person employed in farming there are seven more jobs in agribusiness, including wholesale and retail trade, processing, marketing, production, and distribution.
  • Despite pockets of rapid economic growth, many rural areas have experienced a slower recovery from the Great Recession. Rural employment remains three percent below its 2007 peak, while urban employment now exceeds pre-recession levels.
  • A United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) report found that “an effective transportation system supports rural economies, reducing the prices farmers pay for inputs such as seeds and fertilizers, raising the value of their crops and greatly increasing market access.”
  • Trucks provide the majority of transportation for agricultural products, accounting for 46 percent of total ton miles of travel compared to 36 percent by rail and 12 percent by barge.
  • Trucks account for the vast majority of transportation for perishable agricultural items, carrying 91 percent of ton miles of all fruit, vegetables, livestock, meat, poultry and dairy products in the U.S.
  • The Council of State Governments recently found that “rural highways provide many benefits to the nation’s transportation system, including serving as a bridge to other states, supporting the agriculture and energy industries, connecting economically challenged citizens in remote locations to employers, enabling the movement of people and freight and providing access to America’s tourist attractions.”
  • The rapid expansion of the energy extraction industry, particularly in the Great Plains states, has consumed rail capacity that had previously been used to move agricultural goods. As a result, the agricultural goods that had been shipped by rail are now being moved via alternate transportation means, placing additional stress on the rural highway system and increasing costs to farmers and consumers.
  • Transportation is becoming an even more critical segment of the food distribution network. While food demand is concentrated mostly in urban areas, food distribution is the most dispersed segment of the economy.
  • A highly competitive and efficient transportation system can lead to lower food costs for U.S. consumers and higher market prices for producers due to lower shipping costs, smaller margins and more competitive export prices.
  • A report by the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council recommends that governments improve the quality of their transportation systems serving the movement of goods from rural to urban regions as a strategy to lower food costs and increase economic prosperity.
  • A report on agricultural transportation by the USDA found it likely that market changes and shifts in consumer preferences would further increase the reliance on trucking to move U.S. agricultural products.

The condition and quality of the nation’s highway system plays a critical role in providing access to America’s many tourist destinations, particularly its scenic parks and recreational areas, which are mostly located in rural areas.

  • In 2013, travel and tourism related spending in the U.S. in 2013 totaled $1.5 trillion and 8.1 million Americans were employed in tourism-related jobs.
  • America’s national parks, which are largely located in rural areas, received 274 million visitors in 2013, many in personal vehicles.

Travel loads on America’s rural roads are increasing dramatically due to the booming energy extraction sector. This has been driven by increases in domestic oil and gas extraction, largely as a result of advancements in hydraulic fracturing (fracking), which has greatly increased the accessibility of shale oil and gas deposits, as well as the increased production of renewable energy such as wind and solar.

  •  Rapid growth in energy extraction has led to significant population and job growth in select rural areas, particularly in areas that were previously sparsely populated. Between 2001 and 2011, oil and gas extraction was a substantial contributor to 444 rural counties. In 114 of these rural counties, oil and gas extraction at least doubled from 2001 to 2011.
  • Ethanol production in the U.S. increased from 1.7 billion gallons in 2000 to 13.3 billion gallons in 2012. Federal mandates require that production of renewable fuels, including biofuels and cellulosic fuels, reach 36 billion gallons per year by 2022.
  • The U.S. production of liquid fuels, including crude oil and natural gas, has increased 34 percent from 2000 to 2014, increasing liquid fuel’s share of overall U.S. energy production, from 47 to 54 percent between 2000 and 2014 (includes coal and nuclear).
  • The U.S. production of renewable energy, including wind and solar, has increased 48 percent from 2000 to 2014, increasing renewable energy’s share of overall U.S. energy production from 8.3 to 10.6 percent from 2000 to 2014 (includes coal and nuclear).
  • The development of significant new oil and gas fields in numerous areas, particularly in the North Central Plains, and increased agricultural production, are placing significantly increased traffic loads by large trucks on non-Interstate rural roads, which often have not been constructed to carry such high load volumes.
  • The average travel per-lane mile by large trucks on major, non-Interstate arterial rural roads in the U.S. increased by 13 percent from 2000 to 2013.

Rural Transportation Challenge: Connectivity

The potential for additional economic growth in many rural areas is being impeded by the failure to significantly modernize the nation’s rural transportation system and provide for adequate connectivity. This lack of connectivity is preventing economic growth and reducing quality of life for rural residents.

  • Sixty-six cities of 50,000 or more in the U.S. do not have direct access to the Interstate Highway System. A list of the 66 cities can be found in Appendix A.
  • Rural transportation accessibility and connectivity is critical to transportation-dependent business sectors including the growing energy production sector, advanced manufacturing and tourism. Many jobs located in urban areas also depend on economic inputs from rural communities.
  • Since the routes for the Interstate Highway System were designated in 1956, the nation’s population has nearly doubled from – 165 million to 318 million.
  • The abandonment of more than 100,000 miles of rail lines in recent decades, mostly in rural areas, has reduced access in many rural communities and increased reliance on trucking for freight movement.
  • Only 60 percent of rural counties nationwide have public transportation available and 28 percent of those have very limited service.
  • Residents of rural areas often must travel longer distances to access education, employment, retail locations, social opportunities, and health services. Rural residents also assume additional risks as a result of living in areas that may be farther from police, fire or emergency medical services.

Rural Transportation Challenge: Safety

Traffic fatalities on the nation’s rural roads occur at a rate nearly three times higher than all other roads. A disproportionate share of fatalities take place on rural roads compared to the amount of traffic they carry.

  • Rural roads have a traffic fatality rate that is nearly three times higher than all other roads. In 2013, non-Interstate rural roads had a traffic fatality rate of 2.20 deaths for every 100 million vehicle miles of travel, compared to a fatality rate on all other roads of 0.75 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles of travel.
  • Crashes on the nation’s rural, non-Interstate routes resulted in 15,601 fatalities in 2013, accounting for nearly half – 48 percent – of the nation’s 32,719 traffic deaths in 2013.
  • Rural, non-Interstate routes accounted for 24 percent of all vehicle miles of travel in the U.S. in 2013.
  • While overall fatality rates have decreased in recent years, the fatality rate on rural, non-Interstate roads has declined at a slower rate. From 2005 to 2013, the fatality rate on rural, non-Interstate routes declined by 16 percent, from 2.61 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2005 to 2.20 in 2013. The fatality rate on all other roads decreased 29 percent from 2005 to 2013, from 1.05 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel to 0.75.
  • After years of steadily decreasing, the rate of fatalities and the number of fatalities on rural non-Interstate roads increased in 2012 before dropping slightly in 2013. The rate of traffic fatalities on the nation’s rural non-Interstate roads decreased from 2.61 traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2005 to 2.14 in 2011 before increasing to 2.21 in 2012 and 2.20 in 2013. Similarly the number of traffic fatalities on the nation’s rural non-Interstate roads decreased from 20,333 in 2005 to 15,668 in 2011 before increasing to 16,161 in 2012 and dropping to 15,601 in 2013.
  • The chart below details the twenty states that led the nation in the number of rural non-Interstate traffic deaths in 2013. Data for all states is available in Appendix B.

TRIP 2The chart below details the twenty states with the highest rate of rural non-Interstate traffic fatalities per 100 million miles of travel and the fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles of travel on all other roads in the state in 2013. Data for all states is available in Appendix C.

 

TRIP 3The higher traffic fatality rate found on rural, non-Interstate routes is a result of multiple factors, including the following: a lack of desirable roadway safety features, longer emergency vehicle response times and the higher speeds traveled on rural roads compared to urban roads.

  • Rural roads are more likely than urban roads to have roadway features that reduce safety, including narrow lanes, limited shoulders, sharp curves, exposed hazards, pavement drop-offs, steep slopes and limited clear zones along roadsides.
  • Because many rural routes have been constructed over a period of years, they often have inconsistent design features for such things as lane widths, curves, shoulders and clearance zones along roadsides.
  • Rural roads are more likely than urban roads to be two-lane routes. Eighty-six percent of the nation’s urban non-freeway arterial roads have two-lanes, compared to 56 percent of rural non-freeway arterial routes having two-lanes.
  • Rural roads are more likely than urban roads to have narrow lanes. A desirable lane width for collector and arterial roadways is at least 11 feet.       However, 23 percent of rural collector and arterial roads have lane widths of 10 feet or less, compared to 18 percent of urban collector and arterial roads with lane widths of 10 feet or less.
  • Most head-on crashes on rural, non-Interstate roads are likely caused by a motorist making an unintentional maneuver as a result of driver fatigue, being distracted or driving too fast in a curve.
  • While driver behavior is a significant factor in traffic crash rates, both safety belt usage and impaired driving rates are similar in their involvement rate as a factor in urban and rural traffic crashes. 

Numerous roadway safety improvements can be made to reduce serious crashes and traffic fatalities. These improvements are designed largely to keep vehicles from leaving the correct lane and to reduce the consequences of a vehicle leaving the roadway.

  • The type of safety design improvements that are appropriate for a section of rural road will depend partly on the amount of funding available and the nature of the safety problem on that section of road.
  • Low-cost safety improvements include installing rumble strips along the centerline and sides of roads, improving signage and pavement/lane markings including higher levels of retroreflectivity, installing lighting, removing or shielding roadside obstacles, using chevrons and post-mounted delineators to indicate roadway alignment along curves, adding skid resistant surfaces at curves and upgrading or adding guardrails.
  • Moderate-cost improvements include adding turn lanes at intersections, resurfacing pavements and adding median barriers.
  • Moderate to high-cost improvements include improving roadway alignment, reducing the angle of curves, widening lanes, adding or paving shoulders, adding intermittent passing lanes or adding a third or fourth lane.
  • Systemic installation of cost effective safety solutions and devices in rural areas helps to improve safety not just by targeting individual safety problem points on a road, but also making entire segments safer by improving those roadway segments that exhibit the characteristics that typically result in fatal or serious-injury crashes. 

Rural Transportation Challenge: Deficient Conditions

The nation’s rural roads, highways and bridges have significant deficiencies. Fifteen percent of the nation’s rural roads have pavements in poor condition, and more than one-fifth of the nation’s rural bridges need rehabilitation, repair or replacement.

  • In 2013, 15 percent of the nation’s major rural roads (arterials and collectors) were rated in poor condition and another 39 percent were rated in mediocre or fair condition.
  • The chart below shows the twenty states with the greatest percentage of major rural roads in poor condition in 2013. Rural pavement conditions for all states can be found in Appendix D.

TRIP 4

  • In 2014, 11 percent of the nation’s rural bridges were rated as 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, school buses and emergency services vehicles.
  • In 2014, 10 percent of the nation’s rural bridges were rated as functionally obsolete. Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet current highway design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.
  • The chart below shows the twenty states with the highest share of rural bridges rated structurally deficient in 2014. Rural bridge conditions for all states can be found in Appendix E.

TRIP 5

Transportation Opportunities in Rural America

America must adopt transportation policies that improve rural transportation connectivity, safety and conditions to provide the nation’s small communities and rural areas with a level of safe and efficient access that will support quality of life and enhance economic productivity. The following recommendations by TRIP for an improved rural transportation system are also based partially on findings and recommendations made by AASHTO, the National Highway Cooperative Research Program (NCHRP), the Council of State Governments (CSG) and the Ports-to-Plains Alliance.

Improve access and connectivity in America’s small communities and rural areas 

  • Widen and extend key highway routes, including Interstates, to increase connectivity to smaller and emerging communities to facilitate access to jobs, education and healthcare, while improving access for agriculture, energy, manufacturing, forestry, tourism and other critical segments of the rural economy.
  • The NCHRP report found that the construction of an additional 30,000 lane miles of limited access highways, largely along existing corridors, is needed to address the nation’s need for increased rural connectivity.
  • Modernize major two-lane roads and highways so they can accommodate increased personal and commercial travel.
  • Improve public transit service in rural America to provide improved mobility for people without access to private vehicles.

Improve rural traffic safety

  • Adequately fund needed rural roadway safety improvements and provide enhanced enforcement, education and improved emergency response to reduce the rate of rural traffic fatalities.
  • Implement cost-effective roadway safety improvements, including rumble strips, shoulder improvements, lane widening, curve reductions, skid resistant surfaces at curves, passing lanes, intersection improvements and improved signage, pavement markings and lighting, guardrails and barriers, and improved shielding of obstacles.

Improve the condition of rural roads, highways and bridges

  • Adequately fund local and state transportation programs to insure sufficient preservation of rural roads, highways and bridges to maintain transportation service and accommodate large truck travel, which is needed to support the rural economy.

The federal government is a critical source of funding for rural roads, highways and bridges. However, current federal transportation funding will expire on May 31, 2015. 

  • If Congress decides to provide additional revenues into the federal Highway Trust Fund in tandem with authorizing a new federal surface transportation program, a number of technically feasible revenue options have been identified by AASHTO.
  • A significant boost in investment on the nation’s roads, highways, bridges and public transit systems is needed to improve their condition and to meet the nation’s transportation needs, concluded a new report from AASHTO.
  • The 2015 AASHTO Transportation Bottom Line Report found that annual investment in the nation’s roads, highways and bridges needs to increase from $88 billion to $120 billion and from $17 billion to $43 billion in the nation’s public transit systems, to improve conditions and meet the nation’s mobility needs.

All data used in this report is the most current available. Sources of information for this report include: The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP), the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials(AASHTO), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Council of State Governments (CSG) and the U.S. Census Bureau.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WASHINGTON’S TOP TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGES:

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

 Executive Summary

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

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

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

TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGE: Deteriorated Pavement Conditions

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

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

TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGE: Share of Deficient Bridges to Increase

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

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

WA 4

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

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

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

WA 6

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

WA 7

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

WA 8TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGE: Needed Safety Improvements

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

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

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

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

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

TRANSPORTATION CHALLENGE: Inadequate Transportation Funding

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

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

SEATTLE:

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

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

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

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

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

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

TACOMA/PIERCE COUNTY:

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

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

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

SPOKANE:

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

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

TRI-CITIES:

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

VANCOUVER:

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

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

STATEWIDE:

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

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

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

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

  • The Federal Highway Administration estimates that each dollar spent on road, highway and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 in the form of reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffic flow.
  • Signed into law in July 2012, MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act), has improved several procedures that in the past had delayed projects, MAP-21 does not address long-term funding challenges facing the federal surface transportation program.
  • A significant boost in investment on the nation’s roads, highways, bridges and public transit systems is needed to improve their condition and to meet the nation’s transportation needs, concluded a new report from AASHTO. The 2015 AASHTO Transportation Bottom Line Report found that annual investment in the nation’s roads, highways and bridges needs to increase from $88 billion to $120 billion and from $17 billion to $43 billion in the nation’s public transit systems, to improve conditions and meet the nation’s mobility needs.
  • A recent national report found that improved access as a result of capacity expansions provides numerous regional economic benefits. Those benefits include higher employment rates, higher land value, additional tax revenue, increased intensity of economic activity and additional construction as a result of the intensified use.
  • The projects analyzed in the report were completed no later than 2005 and included a wide variety of urban and rural projects, including the expansion or addition of major highways, beltways, connectors, bypasses, bridges, interchanges, industrial access roads, intermodal freight terminals and intermodal passenger terminals.
  • The expanded capacity provided by the projects resulted in improved access, which resulted in reduced travel-related costs, faster and more reliable travel, greater travel speeds, improved reliability and increased travel volume.
  • The report found that improved transportation access benefits a region by: enhancing the desirability of an area for living, working or recreating, thus increasing its land value; increasing building construction in a region due to increased desirability for homes and businesses; increasing employment as a result of increased private and commercial land use; and increasing tax revenue as a result of increased property taxes, increased employment and increased consumption, which increases sales tax collection.
  • The report found that benefits of a transportation capacity expansion unfolded over several years and that the extent of the benefits were impacted by other factors including: the presence of complimentary infrastructure such as water, sewer and telecommunications; local land use policy; the local economic and business climate; and whether the expanded capacity was integrated with other public investment and development efforts.
  • For every $1 million spent on urban highway or intermodal expansion, the report estimated that an average of 7.2 local, long-term jobs were created at nearby locations as a result of improved access. An additional 4.4 jobs were created outside the local area, including businesses that supplied local businesses or otherwise benefited from the increased regional economic activity.
  • For every $1 million spent on rural highway or intermodal expansion, the report estimated that an average of 2.9 local, long-term jobs were created at nearby locations as a result of improved access. An additional 1.6 jobs were created outside the local area, including businesses that supplied local businesses or otherwise benefited from the increased regional economic activity.
  • The report found that highway and intermodal capacity projects in urban areas created a greater number of long-term jobs than in rural areas, largely due to the more robust economic environment and greater density in urban communities.

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