Tag Archive for 'infrastructure'

U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx Announces 72 TIGER 2014 Recipients
Demand Demonstrates Need for Greater Transportation Investment through GROW AMERICA Act

header-DOT_700x90[1]U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced that the Department of Transportation would provide $600 million for 72 transportation projects in 46 states and the District of Columbia from its TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) 2014 program.

The Department received 797 eligible applications from 49 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, an increase from the 585 applications received in 2013.  Overall, applicants requested 15 times the $600 million available for the program, or $9 billion for needed transportation projects.

“As uncertainty about the future of long-term federal funding continues, this round of TIGER will be a shot in the arm for these innovative, job-creating and quality of life-enhancing projects,” said Secretary Foxx.  “We’re building bridges from Maine to Mississippi.  We’re creating ladders of opportunity for the middle-class and those seeking to enter the middle-class by investing in transit, road and rail projects from Los Angeles to Detroit to New York City, increasing access to jobs and quality of life.  For every project we select, however, we must turn dozens more away – projects that could be getting done if Congress passed the GROW AMERICA Act, which would double the funding available for TIGER and growing the number of projects we could support.”

Projects funded through this round of TIGER support several key transportation goals: 

Improving Access to Jobs and Creating New “Ladders of Opportunity:  Americans are increasingly challenged by longer travel times, which take away from time on the job and at home.  For those looking for work, unpredictable travel times can make finding work and keeping a job even harder.  This round of TIGER invests in projects designed to cut down on travel times, increase predictability and, in some cases, attract new middle-class jobs into communities.  Examples include:

  • A $24.9 million investment in the construction of a 7.6 mile bus rapid transit line in Richmond will connect transit-dependent residents to jobs and retail centers as well as spur mixed use and transit-oriented development in a city with the highest poverty rate in Virginia.
  • A $15 million TIGER grant will develop a new bus rapid transit spine for Omaha, Neb., dramatically reducing travel time to major employment hubs in the city.  Roughly 16 percent of the households within a quarter of a mile of the proposed bus-rapid transit route do not currently have access to a vehicle.
  • A $20 million TIGER grant will pay for the modernization of Boston’s Ruggles Station, which will include the construction of a new 797-foot long, 12-foot wide high-level passenger platform between the Ruggles Station headhouse and Northeastern University’s Columbus Avenue parking garage.
  • A $10.8 million investment in the Wando Welch Terminal Rehabilitation project in South Carolina will help make structural repairs, strengthen the berth, and make related paving and safety improvements. The TIGER funding will also be used for the installation of jacket repairs for damaged piles.

Reversing neglect by repairing U.S. infrastructure, enhancing quality of life and commerce:

  • The New Route 47 Missouri River Bridge Project will replace the decaying, 78 year-old Route 47 Deck and Warren Truss Bridge over the Missouri River in Washington, MO. A $10 million TIGER grant will be put to use to ensure this vital community and economic link continues to serve not only the people of Franklin and Warren Counties but the region as a whole.  With the bridge nearing the end of its useful life, its age and condition create an on-going need for maintenance, resulting in substantial expense to taxpayers and inconvenience to the public. The project includes doubling the travel way from 22 feet to 44 feet, removing the overhead truss, widening the shoulders and adding separated bicycle and pedestrian facilities.
  • The Three County Roadway Improvements Program will move forward thanks to a $17.9 million TIGER grant that will help Claiborne County, Mississippi improve motor vehicle transportation reliability and safety in an economically-disadvantaged rural region by creating a fully-connected and safe county transportation system that allows direct movement of citizens and goods from rural areas to local economic points of interest.

Supporting Game-Changing Local Initiatives: The $25 million TIGER grant for the Vision Zero project will bolster New York City’s multi-agency plan to reduce traffic-related deaths and injuries by redesigning intersections near schools, creating safer pedestrian access to transit and fill a major gap in the city’s protected bicycle lane network that will connect lower-income communities to industrial zones.

Helping communities plan for the future:  An example of a project that is utilizing innovative methodologies to plan for the future is the Land Use Connections for Sustainable Schools project in North Texas that will create a program and implementation plan for a regional working group to promote multimodal transportation options to schools, advance long-term planning for school siting, improve transportation safety near schools and encourage coordination between local governments, independent school districts, and transit agencies within the 12-county area for resource efficiency and sustainability.

The GROW AMERICA Act would authorize $5 billion over four years for much-needed additional TIGER funding to help meet the overwhelming demand for significant infrastructure investments around the country and provide the certainty that states and local governments need to properly plan for investment.  The $302 billion, four year transportation reauthorization proposal would provide increased and stable funding for the nation’s highways, bridges, transit, and rail systems without contributing to the deficit.  The GROW AMERICA Act also includes several critical program reforms to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of federal highway, rail, and transit programs.

Since 2009, the TIGER program has provided nearly $4.1 billion to 342 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico – including 117 projects to support rural and tribal communities. Demand for the program has been overwhelming, and during the previous five rounds, the Department of Transportation received more than 6,000 applications requesting more than $124 billion for transportation projects across the country.  Congress provided the most recent funding as part of the bipartisan Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014, signed by President Obama on January 17, 2014.

Click here for additional information on individual TIGER grants.

Click here for additional information on the GROW AMERICA Act.

ARTBA Says New Federal Banking Rules Will Exacerbate Problems Caused by Highway Trust Fund Uncertainty

image003The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) says new federal banking rules announced August 3 “will further impede state transportation planning and investments across the nation.”

Rules just approved  by the U.S. Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation will preclude banks from using municipal bonds to comply with new liquidity standards.

“This decision will increase the financing cost of infrastructure projects for state and local governments by imposing a constraint on the market for municipal bonds,” ARTBA President & CEO Pete Ruane says.  “That could also adversely impact development of public-private partnerships for transportation projects.”

In a letter to the Congressional leadership, Ruane urged they use the new banking rules “as another motivator to do what the vast majority of your colleagues have acknowledged needs to be done—develop a long-term, sustainable revenue solution to permanently stabilize the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) and support future state investments in transportation improvements.”

Ruane noted the temporary revenue patch for HTF-funded programs approved by Congress in July means the fund now faces another revenue shortfall “at the beginning of the 2015 construction season.”

Action on a long-term HTF revenue solution, Ruane wrote, “does not need to wait until May 2015.”

 

 

TRIP: DEFICIENT ROADWAYS COST ALABAMA DRIVERS $1,562 ANNUALLY, TOTAL OF $3.1 BILLION STATEWIDE. COSTS WILL RISE AND TRANSPORTATION WOES WILL WORSEN WITHOUT SIGNIFICANT FUNDING BOOST

DEFICIENT ROADWAYS COST ALABAMA DRIVERS AS MUCH AS $1,562 ANNUALLY, A TOTAL OF $3.1 BILLION STATEWIDE. COSTS WILL RISE AND TRANSPORTATION WOES WILL WORSEN WITHOUT SIGNIFICANT FUNDING BOOST 

Roads and bridges that are deficient, congested or lack desirable safety features cost Alabama motorists a total of $3.1 billion statewide annually 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 Alabama, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization.

The TRIP report, Alabama Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout Alabama, 15 percent of major urban roads and highways are in poor condition. Nearly a quarter of Alabama’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, Alabama’s rural non-interstate traffic fatality rate is nearly double the fatality rate on all other roads in the state.

Driving on deficient roads costs state drivers as much as $1,562 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 Alabama’s largest urban areas: Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile and Montgomery. A breakdown of the costs per motorist in each area along with a statewide total is below.

TRIP AL 1Deficient-roads-cost-Alabama-4_areas“Those of us in the business community are painfully aware of the deficiencies in Alabama’s transportation infrastructure and the direct impact it has on our competitiveness,” said William J. Canary, president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama. “It is time to move together as a state to solve this problem and ensure a broad range of economic opportunities. Alabama’s future depends on it.”

A total of 23 percent of Alabama’s bridges show significant deterioration or do not meet modern design standards.  Nine percent of Alabama’s bridges are structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components. An additional 14 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.

Traffic crashes in Alabama claimed the lives of 4,435 people between 2008 and 2012. Alabama’s traffic fatality rate of 1.33 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is significantly higher than the national average of 1.13.  The traffic fatality rate on Alabama’s non-Interstate rural roads in 2012 was 1.92 traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel, nearly double the 0.99 traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel on all other roads and highways in the state.

“The importance of a long-term sustainable highway construction program is critical to the future of Alabama’s continued economic health.  The safety of the traveling public is just one part of the need for such a program,” said Billy Norrell, CEO of the Alabama Associated General Contractors.  “As our state highways and bridges continue to be strained by increased traffic and wear and tear, there is no choice but to inject additional resources into the system.  Current funding levels are restricting the department into more of a maintenance only organization, capable of less and less new capacity work.  We are confident our elected officials will make the difficult but proper choices when it comes to the future of Alabama’s infrastructure.”

The Federal surface transportation program is a critical source of funding in Alabama.  From 2008 to 2012, the federal government provided $1.32 for road improvements in Alabama for every dollar the state paid in federal motor fees. Congress recently approved an eight-month extension of the federal surface transportation program, which will now run through May 31, 2015. The recent legislation will also transfer 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. The following projects would require significant federal funding to proceed prior to 2019: the construction of several new routes in Montgomery, Birmingham, Anniston and Auburn to relieve congestion and provide for future growth, widening portions of US-80 in Sumter and resurfacing a portion of I-10 in Mobile. A full list of projects can be found in Appendix B.

“These conditions are only going to get worse if greater funding is not made available at the state and federal levels,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Congress can help by approving a long-term federal surface transportation program that provides adequate funding levels, based on a reliable funding source. If not, Alabama is going to see its future federal funding threatened, resulting in in fewer road and bridge repair projects, loss of jobs and a burden on the state’s economy.”

TRIP Report

ALABAMA TRANSPORTATION BY THE NUMBERS:

Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility

AUGUST 2014

Ten Key Transportation Numbers in Alabama

 

$3.1 Billion

Driving on deficient roads costs Alabama motorists a total of $3.1 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.

$1,562$1,226$1,195

$1,218

TRIP has calculated the cost to the average motorist in Alabama’s largest urban areas in the form of additional VOC, congestion-related delays and traffic crashes. The cost for the average driver in each urban area is: Birmingham: $1,562; Huntsville: $1,226; Mobile: $1,195; Montgomery: $1,218.

8874,435

On average, 887 people were killed annually in Alabama traffic crashes from 2008 to 2012, a total of 4,435 fatalities over the five year period.

2X

The fatality rate on Alabama’s non-interstate rural roads is nearly double that on all other roads in the state (1.92 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.99).

$183 billion$189 billion

Annually, $183 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Alabama and another $189 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Alabama, mostly by truck.

23 %

A total of 23 percent of Alabama bridges are in need of repair, improvement or replacement. Nine percent of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient and 14 percent are functionally obsolete.

35 hours28 hours28 hours

29 hours

The average driver in the Birmingham urban area loses 35 hours each year as a result of traffic congestion;  each Huntsville driver loses 28 hours each year; each Mobile driver loses 28 hours; and each Montgomery driver loses 29 hours.

$1.32 

From 2008 to 2012, the federal government provided $1.32 for road improvements in Alabama for every dollar paid in federal motor fuel fees

$1 billion=27,800 jobs An analysis by the Federal Highway Administration found that every $1 billion invested in highway construction would support approximately 27,800 jobs, including approximately 9,500 in the construction sector, approximately 4,300 jobs in industries supporting the construction sector, and approximately 14,000 other jobs induced in non-construction related sectors of the economy.
$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

Alabama’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. Alabama’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 Alabama looks 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 Alabama’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

With a current unemployment rate of 6.8 percent and with the state’s population continuing to grow, Alabama 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 Alabamans.  Meeting Alabama’s need to modernize and maintain its system of roads, highways and bridges will require a significant boost in local, state and federal funding.

Signed into law in July 2012, MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act), has improved several procedures that in the past had delayed projects, MAP-21 does not address long-term funding challenges facing the federal surface transportation program. Congress recently approved the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014, an eight-month extension of the federal surface transportation program, on which states rely for road, highway, bridge and transit funding. The program, initially set to expire on September 30, 2014, will now run through May 31, 2015. In addition to extending the current authorization of the highway and public transportation programs, the legislation will transfer 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.

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 Alabama.

An inadequate transportation system costs Alabama residents a total of $3.1 billion every year in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.

  • TRIP estimates that Alabama 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 $3.1 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 Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile and Montgomery areas.

Trip AL 2Population and economic growth in Alabama have resulted in increased demands on the state’s major roads and highways, leading to increased wear and tear on the transportation system. 

  • Alabama’s population reached approximately 4.8 million in 2012, a 19 percent increase since 1990. Alabama had 3,827,522 licensed drivers in 2012.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Alabama increased by 53 percent from 1990 to 2012 – jumping from 42.3 billion VMT in 1990 to 65 billion VMT in 2012.
  • By 2030, vehicle travel in Alabama is projected to increase by another 30 percent.
  • From 1990 to 2012, Alabama’s gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 47 percent, when adjusted for inflation.

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

  • Fifteen percent of Alabama’s major urban roads and highways have pavements in poor condition, while an additional 35 percent of the state’s major urban roads are rated in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 50 percent are rated in 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 all Alabama motorists a total of $855 million 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 the pavement conditions on major roads in the state’s largest urban areas.

TRIP AL 3Twenty-three percent of locally and state-maintained bridges in Alabama 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. 

  • Nine percent of Alabama’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.
  • Fourteen percent of Alabama’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.

Alabama’s traffic fatality rate is significantly higher than the national average.  Improving safety features on Alabama’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 2008 and 2012 a total of 4,435 people were killed in traffic crashes in Alabama, an average of 887 fatalities per year.
  • Alabama’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.33 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2012 is significantly higher than the national traffic fatality rate of 1.13.
  • The fatality rate on Alabama’s rural non-Interstate roads was 1.92 fatalities per 100 vehicle miles of travel in 2012, nearly double the 0.99 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 Alabama, 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.

  • According to the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), the average driver in the Birmingham urban area loses $773 each year in the cost of lost time and wasted fuel as a result of traffic congestion. The average commuter in the Birmingham urban area wastes 35 hours each year stuck in traffic.
  • Based on TTI methodology, TRIP estimates that the average driver in the Huntsville urban area loses $594 each year in the cost of lost time and wasted fuel as a result of traffic congestion. The average Huntsville commuter wastes 28 hours each year stuck in traffic.
  • Based on TTI methodology, TRIP estimates that the average Mobile-area driver loses $601 each year in the cost of lost time and wasted fuel as a result of traffic congestion. On average, Mobile commuters waste 28 hours each year stuck in traffic.
  • Based on TTI methodology, TRIP estimates that the average driver in the Montgomery urban area loses $604 each year in the cost of lost time and wasted fuel as a result of traffic congestion. The average Montgomery commuter wastes 29 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 Alabama’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, $183 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Alabama and another $189 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Alabama, mostly by truck.
  • Seventy-six percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in Alabama are carried by trucks and another ten percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.
  • Increasingly, companies are looking at the quality of a region’s transportation system when deciding where to re-locate or expand. Regions with congested or poorly maintained roads may see businesses relocate to areas with a smoother, more efficient and more modern transportation system.
  • 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.
  • Highway accessibility was ranked the number one site selection factor in a 2011 survey of corporate executives by Area Development Magazine.
  • A 2007 analysis by the Federal Highway Administration found that every $1 billion invested in highway construction would support approximately 27,800 jobs, including approximately 9,500 in the construction sector, approximately 4,300 jobs in industries supporting the construction sector, and approximately 14,000 other jobs induced in non-construction related sectors of the economy.
  • 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 Alabama’s roads, highways and bridges and provides a significant return to Alabama in road and bridge funding based on the revenue generated in the state by the federal motor fuel tax. 

  • Signed into law in July 2012, MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act), has improved several procedures that in the past had delayed projects, MAP-21 does not address long-term funding challenges facing the federal surface transportation program.
  • Congress recently approved the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014, an eight-month extension of the federal surface transportation program, on which states rely for road, highway, bridge and transit funding. The program, initially set to expire on September 30, 2014, will now run through May 31, 2015. In addition to extending the current authorization of the highway and public transportation programs, the legislation will transfer 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.
  • From 2008 to 2012, the federal government provided $1.32 for road improvements in Alabama for every dollar the state paid in federal motor fuel fees.
  • Federal funding has allowed the state to complete many needed transportation projects since 2005, including widening of several portions of I-65, rehabilitation of several sections of I-59, and widening and rehabilitation of portions of I-20. A full list of projects can be found in Appendix A.
  • Numerous transportation projects throughout the state would require significant federal funding to proceed prior to 2019. These projects include the construction of several new routes in Montgomery, Birmingham, Anniston and Auburn to relieve congestion and provide for future growth, as well as widening portions of US-80 in Sumter and resurfacing a portion of I-10 in Mobile. The list of projects can be found in Appendix B.
  • The Alabama Department of Transportation relies heavily on its allocation of federal funds to keep the state’s roads open and in an acceptable state of repair.  Without the annual allocation of federal dollars, the state would lose $170 million for Interstate maintenance (about 85 miles), $80 million for bridge replacement (about 40 bridges), $260 million for the resurfacing of state routes (about 850 miles), and $150 million in capacity improvements (new roads/added lanes).

Sources of information for this report include the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT), the 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).  

For the full report click here

ARTBA’s Highly-Rated Project Delivery Academy Set for Oct 15-17 in the Nation’s Capital

image007The increased use of alternative project delivery methods such as Design-Build (DB) and Construction Manager-General Contractor (CMGC) by transportation agencies present new opportunities and challenges for transportation design and construction industry executives.  The American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s (ARTBA) Foundation has a professional development program, taught by a nationally-recognized engineer, to help ensure industry professionals have a comprehensive understanding of both delivery methods.

The Project Delivery Academy (PDA), built around the highly successful adult learning model of instruction by industry experts and supported by peer-to-peer knowledge sharing, is scheduled for October 15-17 at ARTBA’s headquarters building in the Nation’s Capital.  It is designed for project managers, procurement personnel and contractors.

The PDA will be led by Dr. Douglas Gransberg, an Iowa State University professor with more than 35 years of experience.  He is a designated design-build professional and owner of a construction management/project delivery consulting firm.  He helped write the book on alternative project delivery methods, co-authored the “AASHTO Guide for Design-Build (DB) Contracting,” and the “AASHTO Guidelines for Construction Manager General Contractor Project Delivery.”

Dr. Gransberg’s instruction will cover four core areas:

·         Procurement models/contract structure;

·         Project pricing provision models;

·         Developing responsive submittals to requests for qualifications (RFQ) and/or requests for proposals (RFP); and

·         Post-award contract administration.

Registration is $1,999 for ARTBA members.  More than 20 Professional Development Hours are available.  Contact ARTBA’s Kashae Williams for more information at kwilliams@artba.org or 202.289.4434.

The ARTBA-TDF is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt entity to promote research, education and public awareness.  It supports an array of initiatives, including educational scholarships, awards, roadway work zone safety and training programs and special economic reports.

TEXAS TRANSPORTATION BY THE NUMBERS: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility

TRIPExecutive Summary

Texas’ 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. Texas’ 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 Texas looks 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 Texas’ 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.

With a current unemployment rate of 5.1 percent and with the state’s population continuing to grow, Texas 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 Texans.  Meeting Texas’ need to modernize and maintain its system of roads, highways and bridges will require a significant boost in local, state and federal funding.

Signed into law in July 2012, MAP-21(Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act), has improved several procedures that in the past had delayed projects, MAP-21 does not address long-term funding challenges facing the federal surface transportation program.

The impact of inadequate federal surface transportation revenues could be felt as early as August, when the balance in the Highway Account of the federal Highway Trust Fund is expected to drop below $1 billion, which will trigger delays in the federal reimbursement to states for road, highway and bridge projects.  States are expected to respond to this delay in federal reimbursement for road, highway and bridge repairs and improvements by delaying or postponing numerous projects.

As a further result, nationwide federal funding for highways will be cut by almost 100 percent from the current investment level for the fiscal year starting on October 1, 2014 (FY 2015) unless Congress provides additional transportation revenues.  This is due to a cash shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund as projected by the Congressional Budget Office.

Deficient_roads_cost-segment-Final-02-DFWThe 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 Texas.

 

  • TRIP estimates that Texas 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 $25.1 billion annually in the form of additional VOC (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 Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Houston and San Antonio areas.

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

  • Texas’ population reached approximately 26.1 million in 2012, a 53 percent increase since 1990. Texas had 15,252,192 licensed drivers in 2012.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Texas increased by 47 percent from 1990 to 2012 – jumping from 162.2 billion VMT in 1990 to 237.8 billion VMT in 2012.
  • By 2030, vehicle travel in Texas is projected to increase by another 25 percent.
  • From 1990 to 2012, Texas’ gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 107 percent, when adjusted for inflation.

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

  • Sixteen percent of Texas’ major urban roads and highways have pavements in poor condition.  An additional 51 percent of the state’s major urban roads are rated in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 33 percent are rated in 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 all Texas motorists a total of $5.7 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 the pavement conditions on major roads in the state’s largest urban areas.

Deficient_roads_cost-segments-Final-01-AustinNineteen percent of locally and state-maintained bridges in Texas 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. 

  • Two percent of Texas’ 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.
  • Seventeen percent of Texas’ 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.

Texas’ traffic fatality rate is significantly higher than the national average.  Improving safety features on Texas’ 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 16,041 people were killed in traffic crashes in Texas, an average of 3,208 fatalities per year.
  • Texas’ overall traffic fatality rate of 1.41 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2013 is significantly higher than the national traffic fatality rate of 1.11.
  • The fatality rate on Texas’ rural non-Interstate roads was 2.63 fatalities per 100 vehicle miles of travel in 2013, more than two-and-a-half times greater than the 0.99 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 Texas, 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.

  • 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 chart below details the annual number of hours wasted in traffic by the average driver in each urban area, as well as the annual congestion cost to the average motorist in the form of lost time and wasted fuel:

Deficient_roads_cost-segments-Final-03-HoustonThe efficiency of Texas’ 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, $1.167 trillion in goods are shipped from sites in Texas and another $1.246 trillion in goods are shipped to sites in Texas, mostly by truck.
  • Fifty-nine percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in Texas are carried by trucks and another nine percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.
  • Increasingly, companies are looking at the quality of a region’s transportation system when deciding where to re-locate or expand. Regions with congested or poorly maintained roads may see businesses relocate to areas with a smoother, more efficient and more modern transportation system.
  • 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.
  • Highway accessibility was ranked the number one site selection factor in a 2011 survey of corporate executives by Area Development Magazine.
  • A 2007 analysis by the Federal Highway Administration found that every $1 billion invested in highway construction would support approximately 27,800 jobs, including approximately 9,500 in the construction sector, approximately 4,300 jobs in industries supporting the construction sector, and approximately 14,000 other jobs induced in non-construction related sectors of the economy.
  • 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 Texas’ roads, highways and bridges and provides a significant return to Texas in road and bridge funding based on the revenue Deficient_roads_cost-segments-Final-04-SanAntoniogenerated in the state by the federal motor fuel tax. 

  • MAP-21(Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act), approved by Congress in July 2012, increased funding flexibility for states and streamlined project approval processes to improve the efficiency of state and local transportation agencies in providing needed transportation improvements in the state.
  • MAP-21, which expires on September 30, 2014, does not provide sufficient long-term revenues to support the current level of federal surface transportation investment.
  • The impact of inadequate federal surface transportation revenues could be felt as early as this summer, when federal funding for road, highway and bridge projects is likely to be delayed because the balance in the Highway Account of the federal Highway Trust Fund is expected to drop below $1 billion. This delay and uncertainty in funding will likely result in the postponement of numerous projects.
  • Nationwide federal funding for highways is expected to be cut by almost 100 percent from the current investment level for the fiscal year starting October 1, 2014 (FY 2015) unless Congress provides additional transportation revenues.  This is due to a cash shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund as projected by the Congressional Budget Office.
  • If the funding shortfalls into the federal Highway Trust Fund are addressed solely by cutting spending it is estimated that federal funding for highway and transit improvements in Texas will be cut by $3.4 billion for the federal fiscal year starting October 1, 2014, unless Congress provides additional transportation revenues.
  • From 2008 to 2012, the federal government provided $1.13 for road improvements in Texas for every dollar the state paid in federal motor fuel fees.

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