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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.

ARTBA Reports: State Analysis Shows Gas Tax Supporters
 Not Hurt at Ballot Box

d9cdad69-e8aa-4830-b455-58392c53ea55Voting for a gas tax increase to fund transportation investments has not hurt Republicans or Democrats at the ballot box, a new political analysis shows. c2a12953-6ea4-4a4f-9879-ef3b7f2d1285

Ninety-five percent of all Republican state legislators who voted to increase their state gas tax to fund transportation improvements in 2013 and 2014 and ran for re-election last November won their races.  That was a one percent higher winning percentage than that racked up by all state Republican legislators who voted against a gas tax increase during the prior two years.

On the Democratic side, 88 percent of state legislators who voted in favor of a state gas tax increase and ran last year were re-elected, as were 86 percent who voted “no.”

“This analysis shows two things members of Congress need to know,” American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) President & CEO Pete Ruane says.  “First, a bipartisan majority can be found to increase transportation investment if the leadership of both parties actually lead—rather than play politics—and give their colleagues a chance to vote.   Second, if legislators are honest with their constituents and clearly explain why a gas tax increase is necessary and important and what benefits their constituents will derive from it, they have little reason to fear the ballot box over a gas tax vote.”

Seven state legislatures passed a gas tax increase or its equivalent during the last election cycle, according to the analysis by ARTBA’s Transportation Investment Advocacy Center:  Massachusetts, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, Wyoming and New Hampshire.

Three of the states passing increases had a Republican governor and GOP control of both the House and Senate—Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wyoming.  Three had Democratic governors with party control of both legislative chambers—Maryland, Massachusetts and Vermont.  New Hampshire had a Democrat as governor and a split party state legislature.

Republicans helped pass gas tax increases with 216 votes in six states, 34 percent of Republican state legislators in office at the time of the vote and 36 percent of Republican state legislators who cast a vote.  No Republican legislators supported the increases in Maryland and only one legislator supported the increase in Massachusetts.  All but eight who supported gas tax bills and ran for re-election won.

The analysis shows 384 Republicans voted against the gas tax measures in the seven states.  Of the 305 who ran for re-election, 19 lost.

Democratic state legislators cast 673 votes in favor of a gas tax increase, 82 percent of Democrats in office at the time of the vote and 87 percent of Democratic state legislators who cast a vote.  Of the 546 who ran for re-election, 68 lost.  Democrats cast 101 votes against a gas tax increase.  Of the 83 who ran for re-election, 12 lost.

A total 1,385 state legislators cast votes on gas tax measures, the analysis found.  Of those voting, 191 were registered as signing the Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) state pledge “to oppose (and vote against/veto) any efforts to increase taxes”—180 Republicans and 11 Democrats.  Thirteen percent of the signees ignored the ATR and supported increased revenue for transportation improvements, the analysis found.  Only one legislator who defied the ATR and sought re-election was not returned to office.

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ABC Reports: Nonresidential Construction Spending Inches Lower in March

CEU2“Up until six months ago, the U.S. economy was manifesting surging momentum, but the last six months have been disappointing.”—ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu

Spending 5.1Nonresidential construction spending has now declined during each of the year’s first three months, according to a May 1 report by the U.S. Census Bureau. In March, nonresidential construction spending fell 0.1 percent on a monthly basis, though the pace of spending is still 4.7 percent higher than at the same time one year ago. Spending for the month totaled $611.8 billion on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis. Spending estimates for both January and February were upwardly revised—the estimate for February construction spending rose from $611.5 billion to $612.4 billion and January’s estimate was revised from $611.9 to $613.1.

“Up until six months ago, the U.S. economy was manifesting surging momentum, but the last six months have been disappointing.” said Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “The recovery’s momentum has slowed to a crawl. Lower energy prices and their impact on investment spending, a stronger U.S. dollar, weather, and the West Coast port slowdown have all conspired to undo the economic momentum apparent during mid-year 2014. However, there is little reason for despair. Last year also got off to a hobbled start, but the economy still managed to expand 2.4 percent in 2014. This year can still be better, including for nonresidential construction.”

Seven of 16 nonresidential construction subsectors posted increases in spending in March on a monthly basis.

  • Manufacturing-related construction spending expanded 3 percent in March and is up 50.3 percent for the year.
  • Office-related construction spending expanded 2.2 percent in March and is up 19.8 percent from the same time one year ago.
  • Construction spending in the transportation category grew 1 percent on a monthly basis and has expanded 9.2 percent on an annual basis.
  • Lodging-related construction spending was up 5.2 percent on a monthly basis and 22 percent on a year-over-year basis.
  • Health care-related construction spending expanded 0.2 percent for the month, but is down 0.2 percent for the year.
  • Spending in the water supply category expanded 4 percent from February and is up 2.3 on an annual basis.
  • Communication-related construction spending expanded 12.3 percent for the month and is down 8.5 percent for the year.

Spending in nine nonresidential construction subsectors failed to rise in March.

  • Public safety-related construction spending slipped 2.8 percent on a monthly basis and is down 9.1 percent on a year-over-year basis.
  • Commercial construction spending was down 2.2 percent in March, but is up 12.8 percent on a year-over-year basis.
  • Religious spending fell 5.1 percent for the month and is down 17.6 percent from the same time last year.
  • Sewage and waste disposal-related construction spending shed 0.2 percent for the month, but has grown 19.6 percent on a 12-month basis.
  • Power-related construction spending fell 4.5 percent for the month and is 17.2 percent lower than at the same time one year ago.
  • Highway and street-related construction spending fell 2.4 percent in March and is down 5.3 percent compared to the same time last year.
  • Conservation and development-related construction spending fell 11.4 percent for the month, but is up 12.3 percent on a yearly basis.
  • Amusement and recreation-related construction spending fell 3 percent on a monthly basis, but is up 23.8 percent from the same time last year.
  • Education-related construction spending fell 1.8 percent for the month and is down 3 percent on a year-over-year basis.

To view the previous spending report, click.

TRIP Reports: Deficient, Congested Roadways Cost Missouri Drivers As Much As $1,500 Annually, A Total Of $4.5 Billion Statewide. Costs Will Rise And Transportation Woes Will Worsen Without Increased Funding

TRIPRoads and bridges that are deficient, congested or lack desirable safety features cost Missouri motorists a total of $4.5 billion statewide annually – as much as $1,500 per driver – due to higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays. Increased investment in transportation improvements at the local, state and federal levels could relieve traffic congestion, improve road and bridge conditions, boost safety, and support long-term economic growth in Missouri, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization.

The TRIP report, Missouri Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout Missouri, 22 percent of major locally and state-maintained major roads are in poor condition. Twenty-three percent of Missouri’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. The state’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, with drivers wasting significant amounts of time and fuel each year. And, more than 4,000 people were killed in crashes on the state’s roads in the last five years.

Driving on deficient roads costs Missouri driver as much as $1,500 per year in the form of extra vehicle operating costs (VOC) as a result of driving on roads in need of repair, lost time and fuel due to congestion-related delays, and the cost of traffic crashes in which roadway features likely were a contributing factor. The TRIP report calculated the cost to motorists of insufficient roads in Jefferson City, Kansas City, Springfield and St. Louis. A breakdown of the costs per motorist in each area along with a statewide total is below.

TRIP MOTwenty-two percent of Missouri’s major roads and highways have pavements in poor condition, while an additional 48 percent of the state’s major roads are rated in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 30 percent are rated in good condition.

“Missouri has the seventh largest highway system in the nation, but ranks 46th in revenue spent per mile,” said MoDOT Chief Financial Officer Roberta Broeker. “That kind of underinvestment has consequences, including an impact to safety and economic growth. While we are committed to do the best we can with limited resources, we know the condition of our system will deteriorate without additional investment.”

A total of 23 percent of Missouri’s bridges show significant deterioration or do not meet modern design standards. Thirteen percent of Missouri’s bridges are structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components. An additional 10 percent of the state’s bridges are functionally obsolete, which means they no longer meet modern design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.

Missouri’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.09 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is the same as the national average. Traffic crashes in Missouri claimed the lives of 4,068 people between 2009 and 2013. The state’s rural roads have a significantly higher rate of fatal vehicle crashes, with a traffic fatality rate of 1.96 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel, nearly triple the 0.68 fatality on all other roads in the state.

The efficiency and condition of Missouri’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Annually, $226 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Missouri and another $234 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Missouri, mostly by truck.

The Federal surface transportation program is a critical source of funding in Missouri. From 2009 to 2013, the federal government provided $1.31 for road improvements in Missouri for every dollar the state paid in federal motor fuel fees. In July 2014 Congress approved an eight-month extension of the federal surface transportation program, which will now run through May 31, 2015. The legislation also transfers nearly $11 billion into the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) to preserve existing levels of highway and public transportation investment through the end of May 2015.

“These conditions are only going to get worse if greater funding is not made available at the local, state and federal levels,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Without additional transportation funding Missouri’s transportation system will become increasingly deteriorated and congested, the state will miss out on opportunities for economic growth and quality of life will suffer.”

MISSOURI TRANSPORTATION BY THE NUMBERS:

Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility

Ten Key Transportation Numbers in Missouri

 

$4.5 billion

Driving on deficient roads costs Missouri motorists a total of $4.5 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.
$1,316

$1,327

$1,134

$1,511

 

TRIP has calculated the cost to the average motorist in Missouri’s largest urban areas in the form of additional VOC, congestion-related delays and traffic crashes. The average Jefferson City driver loses $1,316 annually, while the each Kansas City driver loses $1,327. Drivers in Springfield lose $1,134 annually, while the average St. Louis motorist loses $1,511 annually.
814

4,068

On average, 814 people were killed annually in Missouri traffic crashes from 2009 to 2013, a total of 4,068 fatalities over the five year period.
 

3X

The fatality rate on Missouri’s non-interstate rural roads is nearly triple that on all other roads in the state (1.96 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.68).
22%

32%

23%

19%

29%

Statewide, 22 percent of Missouri’s major roads are in poor condition. Thirty-two percent of Jefferson City’s major roads are in poor condition, while in Kanas City, 23 percent of major roads are in poor condition. Nineteen percent of major urban roads in Springfield are in poor condition and 29 percent of major roads in the St. Louis urban area are in poor condition.
$226 billion

$234 billion

Annually, $226 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Missouri and another $234 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Missouri, mostly by truck.
 

23 %

A total of 23 percent of Missouri bridges are in need of repair, improvement or replacement. Thirteen percent of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient and 10 percent are functionally obsolete.
18 hours

27 hours

19 hours

31 hours

 

The average driver in the Jefferson City area loses 18 hours to congestion annually, while each driver in the Kansas City urban area loses 27 hours each year. The average Springfield driver loses 19 hours annually, and each St. Louis driver loses 31 hours annually as a result of traffic congestion.
 

$1.31

 

From 2009 to 2013, the federal government provided $1.31 for road improvements in Missouri for every dollar paid in Missouri in federal motor fuel fees.
 

 

$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

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

As Missouri works to retain its businesses, maintain its level of economic competitiveness and achieve further economic growth, the state will need to maintain and modernize its roads, highways and bridges by improving the physical condition of its transportation network and enhancing the system’s ability to provide efficient and reliable mobility for motorists and businesses. Making needed improvements to Missouri’s roads, highways and bridges could also provide a significant boost to the state’s economy by creating jobs in the short term and stimulating long term economic growth as a result of enhanced mobility and access.

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

Congress will need to pass new legislation prior to the May 31 extension expiration to ensure prompt federal reimbursements to states for road, highway, bridge and transit repairs and improvements.

The level of funding and the provisions of the federal surface transportation program have a significant impact on highway and bridge conditions, roadway safety, transit service, quality of life and economic development opportunities in Missouri.

An inadequate transportation system costs Missouri residents a total of $4.5 billion every year in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.

  • TRIP estimates that Missouri roadways that lack some desirable safety features, have inadequate capacity to meet travel demands or have poor pavement conditions cost the state’s residents approximately $4.5 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear), the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to traffic congestion, and the financial cost of traffic crashes.
  • TRIP has calculated the average cost to drivers in the state’s largest urban areas as a result of driving on roads that are deteriorated, congested and lack some desirable safety features. The chart below details the costs to drivers in the Jefferson City, Kansas City, Springfield and St. Louis urban areas.

TRIP MO 1Population and economic growth in Missouri have resulted in increased demands on the state’s major roads and highways, leading to increased wear and tear on the transportation system.

  • Missouri’s population reached approximately 6.1 million residents in 2014, an 18 percent increase since 1990. Missouri had 4,280,438 licensed drivers in 2013.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Missouri increased by 37 percent from 1990 to 2013 – jumping from 50.9 billion VMT in 1990 to 69.5 billion VMT in 2013.
  • By 2030, vehicle travel in Missouri is projected to increase by another 20 percent.
  • From 1990 to 2013, Missouri’s gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 49 percent, when adjusted for inflation.

A lack of adequate state and local funding has resulted in 22 percent of major roads and highways in Missouri having pavement surfaces in poor condition, providing a rough ride and costing motorist in the form of additional vehicle operating costs.

  • Twenty-two percent of Missouri’s major roads and highways have pavements in poor condition, while an additional 48 percent of the state’s major roads are rated in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 30 percent are rated in good condition.
  • Roads rated in poor condition may show signs of deterioration, including rutting, cracks and potholes. In some cases, poor roads can be resurfaced, but often are too deteriorated and must be reconstructed.
  • Driving on rough roads costs Missouri motorists a total of $1.7 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
  • The chart below details pavement conditions in Jefferson City, Kansas City, Springfield and St. Louis:

TRIP MO 2Nearly one-quarter of locally and state-maintained bridges in Missouri show significant deterioration or do not meet current design standards often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment. This includes all bridges that are 20 feet or more in length.

  • Thirteen percent of Missouri’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.
  • Ten percent of Missouri’s bridges are functionally obsolete. Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet current highway design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.

Missouri’s rural traffic fatality rate is nearly three times higher than the fatality rate on all other roads in the state. Improving safety features on Missouri’s roads and highways would likely result in a decrease in the state’s traffic fatalities and serious crashes. It is estimated that roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of all fatal and serious traffic crashes.

  • Between 2009 and 2013 a total of 4,068 people were killed in traffic crashes in Missouri, an average of 814 fatalities per year.
  • Missouri’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.09 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2013 is the same as the national average.
  • The fatality rate on Missouri’s rural non-Interstate roads was 1.96 fatalities per 100 vehicle miles of travel in 2013, nearly triple the 0.68 fatality rate on all other roads and highways in the state.
  • Roadway features that impact safety include the number of lanes, lane widths, lighting, lane markings, rumble strips, shoulders, guard rails, other shielding devices, median barriers and intersection design. The cost of serious crashes includes lost productivity, lost earnings, medical costs and emergency services.
  • Several factors are associated with vehicle crashes that result in fatalities, including driver behavior, vehicle characteristics and roadway features. TRIP estimates that roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of fatal traffic crashes.
  • Where appropriate, highway improvements can reduce traffic fatalities and crashes while improving traffic flow to help relieve congestion. Such improvements include removing or shielding obstacles; adding or improving medians; improved lighting; adding rumble strips, wider lanes, wider and paved shoulders; upgrading roads from two lanes to four lanes; and better road markings and traffic signals.
  • Investments in rural traffic safety have been found to result in significant reductions in serious traffic crashes. A 2012 report by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) found that improvements completed recently by the Texas Department of Transportation that widened lanes, improved shoulders and made other safety improvements on 1,159 miles of rural state roadways resulted in 133 fewer fatalities on these roads in the first three years after the improvements were completed (as compared to the three years prior).   TTI estimates that the improvements on these roads are likely to save 880 lives over the next 20 years.

Increasing levels of traffic congestion cause significant delays in Missouri, 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 methodology used by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), TRIP estimates that the average Jefferson City driver loses $410 annually in the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to congestion. The average Jefferson City commuter loses 18 hours each year in traffic.
  • According to TTI, the average driver in the Kansas City urban area loses $584 each year in the cost of lost time and wasted fuel as a result of traffic congestion. The average commuter in the Kansas City urban area wastes 27 hours each year stuck in traffic.
  • Based on TTI methodology, TRIP estimates that the average Springfield driver loses $435 annually in the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to congestion. The average Springfield commuter loses 19 hours each year in traffic.
  • According to TTI, the average driver in the St. Louis urban area loses $686 each year in the cost of lost time and wasted fuel as a result of traffic congestion. The average St. Louis commuter wastes 31 hours each year stuck in traffic.
  • Increasing levels of congestion add significant costs to consumers, transportation companies, manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers and can reduce the attractiveness of a location to a company to consider expansion or even to locate a new facility. Congestion costs can also increase overall operating costs for trucking and shipping companies, leading to revenue losses, lower pay for drivers and employees, and higher consumer costs.

The efficiency of Missouri’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Businesses are increasingly reliant on an efficient and dependable transportation system to move products and services. A key component in business efficiency and success is the level and ease of access to customers, markets, materials and workers.

  • Annually, $226 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Missouri and another $234 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Missouri, mostly by truck.
  • Seventy-two percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in Missouri are carried by trucks and another 16 percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.
  • Businesses have responded to improved communications and greater competition by moving from a push-style distribution system, which relies on low-cost movement of bulk commodities and large-scale warehousing, to a pull-style distribution system, which relies on smaller, more strategic and time-sensitive movement of goods.
  • 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.
  • The Federal Highway Administration estimates that each dollar spent on road, highway and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 in the form of reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffic flow.

The federal government is a critical source of funding for Missouri’s roads, highways and bridges and provides a significant return in road and bridge funding based on the revenue generated in the state by the federal motor fuel tax.

  • From 2009 to 2013, the federal government provided $1.31 for road improvements in Missouri for every dollar the state paid in federal motor fuel fees.
  • 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 the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.
  • 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.

Sources of information for this report include the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), 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).