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Highway Construction Workforce Development Looks Promising for 2017

TRIP Reports: Despite Recent Transportation Funding Increase, Michigan Road And Bridge Conditions Continue, $3.3 Billion In Needed Transportation Improvements

TRIP Reports on Michigan Roads & Bridges

Despite Recent Transportation Funding Increase, Michigan Road And Bridge Conditions Continue To Deteriorate And Traffic Fatalities And Traffic Congestion Are Increasing. A Total Of $3.3 Billion In Needed Transportation Improvement Projects Still Lack Funding

Increased transportation funding provided by Michigan’s legislature in 2015 will allow the state to move forward with numerous projects to repair and improve portions of its transportation system; however, the funding is not sufficient to prevent further deterioration of the state’s roads and bridges or to move forward with $3.3 billion in needed projects, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization.

The TRIP report, Modernizing Michigan’s Transportation System: Progress and Challenges in Providing Safe, Efficient and Well-maintained Roads, Highways and Bridges,” finds that even with the additional transportation funding- which is not guaranteed beginning in 2019 – state pavement and bridge conditions will decline. Traffic fatalities in Michigan increased significantly in the last two years and the state has experienced the eleventh highest rate of increase in vehicle miles of travel since 2013.

As a result of the funding increase passed in 2015, state funding for local roads and bridges, state roads and bridges and transit will increase from $2.2 billion in 2015 to nearly $3.4 billion in 2023. The legislation will provide a total of $4.2 billion in additional funding through 2023, of which $2.3 billion from the General Fund is not guaranteed and will be distributed at the discretion of the legislature beginning in 2019.

And, despite the recent infusion of funding, Michigan’s state-maintained roads and bridges are expected to continue to deteriorate. The condition of state-maintained roads is projected to deteriorate significantly over the next five years, with the share of lane miles in poor condition increasing from 20 percent in 2016 to 46 percent by 2020. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) estimates that, based on available funding, the number of state-maintained bridges rated in poor condition will increase by 50 percent between 2016 and 2023.

“This report stresses the critical need of the region to improve its transportation infrastructure,” said Brad Williams, vice president of government relations for the Detroit Regional Chamber. “As one of our 2017 legislative priorities, the Detroit Regional Chamber is committed to supporting the efforts by federal officials to increase investment in all forms of infrastructure.”

Vehicle travel in Michigan has increased by 10 percent between 2013 and 2016 – the 11th highest rate of travel growth among states during this period. Michigan has also experienced a significant increase in traffic fatalities over the last two years, increasing 20 percent between 2014 and 2016. In 2016 traffic fatalities surpassed 1,000 for the first time since 2007. There were 876 traffic fatalities on Michigan’s roads in 2014, 963 in 2015 and 1,047 in 2016.

“To continue our economic growth, the industries that drive Michigan need a well-maintained and dependable infrastructure network,” said Josh Lunger, director of government affairs for the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce. “This report shows the significance of the 2015 transportation funding package, and how critical it is that the Legislature make these commitments a top priority.”

The following statewide projects are either underway or will be underway or completed by 2020, partly due to increased transportation revenue in the state. The report also lists projects in Detroit, Lansing and Grand Rapids.

“This report highlights the critical need to invest more in our transportation infrastructure,” said Tim Daman, president and CEO of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce (LRCC). “Better roads save drivers money and enhance our economic competitiveness. Thriving cities have infrastructure in place to support business and economic growth. That’s why improving our transportation infrastructure is a top priority for the LRCC.”

The chart below details projects outside the state’s largest urban areas that will not move forward prior to 2020 due to a lack of transportation funding. The report also includes projects in Detroit, Lansing and Grand Rapids.

   “Michigan’s legislature took an important step in 2015 towards improving the condition of the transportation system and setting the state back on the road to economic recovery,” said Will Wilkins, executive director of TRIP. “While that was a good start, numerous needed improvements remain unfunded. Adequate investment in Michigan’s transportation system is a critical component in the state’s economic comeback.”

Executive Summary

Nine years after the nation suffered a significant economic downturn, Michigan is beginning to recover, with its population and economy starting to grow again and vehicle travel increasing in response to the growth. But, the rate of recovery could be slowed if Michigan is not able to provide a modern, well-maintained transportation system. The rate of economic growth, which will be greatly impacted by the reliability and condition of the state’s transportation system, continues to have a significant impact on quality of life in the Great Lakes State.

An efficient, safe and well-maintained transportation system provides economic and social benefits by affording individuals access to employment, housing, healthcare, education, goods and services, recreation, entertainment, family, and social activities. It also provides businesses with access to suppliers, markets and employees, all critical to a business’ level of productivity and ability to expand. Reduced accessibility and mobility – as a result of traffic congestion, a lack of adequate capacity, or deteriorated roads, highways, bridges and transit facilities – diminishes a region’s quality of life by reducing economic productivity and limiting opportunities for economic, health or social transactions and activities.

With an economy based largely on agriculture, manufacturing, technology, natural resource extraction, and tourism, the quality of Michigan’s transportation system plays a vital role in the state’s economic growth and quality of life.

In late 2015, Michigan’s governor signed into law a road funding package that relies on a combination of increased user fees, registration fees and general funds. While this increased funding will allow the state and local governments to move forward with numerous projects to repair and improve portions of the state’s transportation system, the funding is not sufficient to adequately address the significant deterioration of the system, or to allow the state to provide many of the transportation improvements that are needed to support economic growth.

Achieving the state’s goals for a modern, well-maintained and safe transportation system will require “staying the course” with Michigan’s current transportation program and doubling down on this effort by obtaining additional increases in transportation investment.

POPULATION, ECONOMIC AND TRAVEL TRENDS IN MICHIGAN

Michigan’s economy is beginning to recover following the Great Recession, with population, employment levels and vehicle travel approaching or surpassing pre-recession levels. The level of access and mobility will be a key factor in rebooting and growing the state’s struggling economy.

  • Michigan’s population is again growing and nearing pre-recession levels after beginning to fall in 2005 and dropping each year until 2011. The state’s population has increased each year from 2011 to 2016 and is currently at 9.9 million residents.
  • Michigan has approximately 7.1 million licensed drivers.
  • After falling significantly during the recession, vehicle miles of travel (VMT) have surpassed pre-recession levels and continue to increase.
  • Between 2013 and 2016, vehicle miles of travel in Michigan increased by 10 percent – the 11th highest rate of increase nationally.
  • Michigan’s unemployment rate has returned to pre-recession levels. After beginning to rise in 2005 and peaking at 14.9 percent in mid-2009, the state’s unemployment is currently 4.9 percent.

ROAD CONDITIONS IN MICHIGAN

A lack of adequate funding has left one-fifth of Michigan’s state-maintained roads and highways with pavement surfaces in poor condition. Despite recent action by Michigan lawmakers to increase transportation funding, the condition of state-maintained roads is projected to deteriorate significantly over the next five years.

  • The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) estimates that 20 percent of state-maintained roads are in poor condition in 2016.
  • Despite the increased funding made available by Michigan lawmakers, the condition of state-maintained roads is projected to deteriorate significantly over the next five years. While the additional funding has been helpful and has prevented a more precipitous decline in conditions, it is not sufficient to improve the condition of the state’s roads and highways or even maintain their current condition.
  • The number of lane miles of state-maintained roads in poor condition is projected to increase significantly in the next five years, with the share of lane miles in poor condition increasing from 20 percent in 2016 to 46 percent by 2020.

BRIDGE CONDITIONS IN MICHIGAN

Approximately one-in-nine locally and state-maintained bridges in Michigan that are 20 feet or more in length show significant deterioration and are in need of repair.  The share of state bridges that are deficient is expected to increase at current funding levels.

  • Eleven percent of Michigan’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.
  • MDOT estimates that, based on available funding, the number of state-maintained bridges rated in poor condition will increase by approximately 50 percent from 236 bridges to 354 bridges between 2016 and 2023.

HIGHWAY SAFETY AND FATALITY RATES IN MICHIGAN

Traffic fatalities in Michigan have increased significantly for the last two years, surpassing 1,000 deaths in 2016, the first time since 2007.

  • The number of traffic fatalities in Michigan increased 20 percent from 2014 to 2016. In Michigan, there were 876 traffic fatalities in 2014, 963 in 2015 and 1,047 in 2016.
  • 2016 was the first year since 2007 that traffic fatalities in Michigan exceeded 1,000.
  • The fatality rate on Michigan’s non-interstate rural roads in 2015 was more than three-and-a-half times than on all other roads in the state (2.19 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.59).
  • 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 and intersections; improved lighting; adding rumble strips, wider lanes, wider and paved shoulders; upgrading roads from two lanes to four lanes; and better road markings and traffic signals.
  • Investments in rural traffic safety have been found to result in significant reductions in serious traffic crashes. A 2012 report by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) found that improvements completed recently by the Texas Department of Transportation that widened lanes, improved shoulders and made other safety improvements on 1,159 miles of rural state roadways resulted in 133 fewer fatalities on these roads in the first three years after the improvements were completed (as compared to the three years prior).   TTI estimates that the improvements on these roads are likely to save 880 lives over 20 years.

TRANSPORTATION FUNDING AND NEEDED TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS Additional transportation funding provided by the state legislature in 2016 will allow MDOT to complete numerous needed projects throughout the state. While the additional dollars have been helpful, many needed projects still remain on the drawing board due to a lack of available funding.

  • In late 2015, Michigan’s governor signed into law a road funding package that relies on a combination of increased user fees, such as gas taxes and registration fees and allocations from the General Fund.
  • As a result of the funding increase, state funding for local roads and bridges, state roads and bridges and transit will increase from $2.2 billion in 2015 to nearly $3.4 billion in 2023. The chart below details the amount (in millions) of state funding for local roads and bridges, state roads and bridges and transit.
  • The 2015 transportation legislation will provide a total of $4.2 billion in additional funding through 2023, of which $2.3 billion from the state’s General Fund is not guaranteed and will be distributed beginning in 2019 at the discretion of the legislature.
  • Additional transportation funding provided by the 2015 legislation will allow Michigan to move forward with numerous projects that otherwise may have remained unfunded. The list below details a sampling of projects in Michigan’s major urban areas as well as throughout the state that are either underway or will be underway or completed no later than 2020, partly due to increased revenue.
  • Despite additional transportation funding provided by the 2015 legislation, numerous needed transportation projects in Michigan remain unfunded. The list below details projects in Michigan’s major urban areas as well as throughout the state that lack adequate funding to proceed prior to 2020.
  • The value of these needed transportation projects in Michigan that lack adequate funding to proceed is $3.3 billion, including $2 billion in the Detroit area, $483 million in the Lansing area and $234 million in the Grand Rapids area.

FEDERAL TRANSPORTATION FUNDING IN MICHIGAN

Investment in Michigan’s roads, highways and bridges is funded by local, state and federal governments. Signed into law in December 2015, the five-year federal surface transportation program includes modest funding increases and provides states with greater funding certainty, but falls far short of providing the level of funding needed to meet the nation’s highway and transit needs. The bill does not include a long-term and sustainable revenue source.

  • Signed into law in December 2015, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), provides modest increases in federal highway and transit spending, allows states greater long-term funding certainty and streamlines the federal project approval process. But the FAST Act does not provide adequate funding to meet the nation’s need for highway and transit improvements and does not include a long-term and sustainable funding source.
  • The five-year, $305 billion FAST Act will provide approximately a 15 percent boost in national highway funding and an 18 percent boost in national transit funding over the duration of the program, which expires in 2020.
  • In addition to federal motor fuel tax revenues, the FAST Act will also be funded by $70 billion in U.S. general funds, which will rely on offsets from several unrelated federal programs including the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the Federal Reserve and U.S. Customs.
  • According to the 2015 AASHTO Transportation Bottom Line Report, a significant boost in investment in the nation’s roads, highways, bridges and public transit systems is needed to improve their condition and to meet the nation’s transportation needs.
  • AASHTO’s report found that based on an annual one percent increase in VMT annual investment in the nation’s roads, highways and bridges needs to increase 36 percent, from $88 billion to $120 billion, to improve conditions and meet the nation’s mobility needs, based on an annual one percent rate of vehicle travel growth. Investment in the nation’s public transit system needs to increase from $17 billion to $43 billion.
  • The Bottom Line Report found that if the national rate of vehicle travel increased by 1.4 percent per year, the needed annual investment in the nation’s roads, highways and bridges would need to increase by 64 percent to $144 billion. If vehicle travel grows by 1.6 percent annually the needed annual investment in the nation’s roads, highways and bridges would need to increase by 77 percent to $156 billion.

TRANSPORTATION AND ECONOMIC GROWTH IN MICHIGAN

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

  • Annually, $860 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Michigan, mostly by truck.
  • Seventy percent of the goods shipped annually to and from sites in Michigan are carried by trucks.
  • Increasingly, companies are looking at the quality of a region’s transportation system when deciding where to re-locate or expand. Regions with congested or poorly maintained roads may see businesses relocate to areas with a smoother, more efficient and more modern transportation system.
  • Highway accessibility was ranked the number two site selection factor behind only the availability of skilled labor in a 2015 survey of corporate executives by Area Development Magazine.
  • The Federal Highway Administration estimates that each dollar spent on road, highway and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 in the form of reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffic flow.

Sources of information for this report include the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the U. S. Census Bureau, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO),the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). All data used in the report are the most recent available.

 

 

 

NAPA Reports: Survey Documents Sustainability of Asphalt Pavements

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Bottom Five States

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ARTBA Reports: Major Economic & Job Creation Boost Expected from Kansas Highway & Bridge Infrastructure Increase, New Analysis Finds

A new report finds that an annual $264 million increase in state highway and bridge infrastructure investment would support nearly $600 million in economic activity throughout all sectors of the Kansas economy. The additional demand, in turn, would also support or create 5,000 jobs—with over half being in sectors outside of the construction industry.

The analysis, conducted by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s (ARTBA) Chief Economist Dr. Alison Premo Black shows how the impacts of transportation capital investments trigger immediate economic activity, including cost savings for drivers, and new and sustained jobs, while yielding long-lived capital assets that facilitate economic activity for decades to come.

Black testified March 23 before a Kansas state legislature hearing about the report’s findings. The study was commissioned by the Kansas Contractors Association.

An annual investment level of $264 million is consistent with an increase in the state motor fuel tax of about 15 cents per gallon, which would cost the average driver about $5 to $10 a month, or less than 20 to 40 cents per day, but would help businesses increase output, grow the tax base and support jobs across all major sectors of the state economy, Black said.

The improvement in the state’s transportation network would include enhanced safety, lower operating costs, reduced congestion and an increase in both mobility and efficiency, ARTBA said.

In addition, Black’s analysis reveals that increased investment would:
Generate $594.3 million in additional economic output;
Increase gross state product (GSP) by nearly $304 million;
Grow state and local tax revenues by $29.4 million; and
Support or create an additional 5,308 jobs, with 52 percent of the employment outside of the construction industry, including an estimated 549 jobs in retail trade, 330 jobs in manufacturing and 321 jobs in health care and social assistance

Research shows that the economic return for every $1 invested in transportation infrastructure improvements can range up to $5.20. For drivers in Kansas, this could add up to as much as $1.3 billion in savings, not including the additional benefits of improving access to critical facilities like schools and hospitals or increases in business productivity, Black says.

More than 660,000 Kansas jobs in tourism, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, agriculture and forestry, mining, retailing and wholesaling alone are fully dependent on the work done by the state’s transportation construction industry. These dependent industries provide a total payroll of $25.2 billion and their employees contribute $4.6 billion annually in state and federal payroll taxes, the ARTBA report found.

The annual $264 million investment would help restore some of the recent cuts to the Kansas highway program. The Kansas state legislature will have diverted about $3.5 billion from the state Highway Fund to the General Fund and other state agencies between FY 2011 and FY 2019 for non-transportation purposes. These diversions have had a significant market impact, Black said, delaying over $600 million in road projects because of a lack of funds and resulting in the loss of 3,000 construction jobs.

If the diverted funds were instead invested in highway and bridge projects, the construction work would generate $7.8 billion in economic activity throughout all sectors of the economy and provide an additional $4 billion in state GSP, the association said.

Read the full report: www.artba.org/economics/research/.