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TRIP Reports: Deficient Roadways Cost Each New Jersey Driver Nearly $2,000 Annually, A Total Of $11.8 Billion Statewide. Costs Will Rise And Transportation Woes Will Worsen Without Significant Funding Boost

TRIPRoads and bridges that are deficient, congested or lack desirable safety features cost New Jersey motorists a total of $11.8 billion statewide annually – nearly $2,000 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 New Jersey, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization.

The TRIP report, New Jersey Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout New Jersey, more than one-third of major roads and highways are in poor condition. And more than one-third of New Jersey’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 New Jersey’s rural roads have a fatality rate that is more than two-and-a-half times higher than on all other roads.

Driving on deficient roads costs each New Jersey driver $1,951 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. A breakdown of the costs per motorist along with a statewide total is below.

NJ Table

The TRIP report finds that a total of 35 percent of major roads in New Jersey are in poor condition, while an additional 41 percent are in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 24 percent are in good condition. Driving on deteriorated roads costs the average New Jersey motorist an additional $605 each year in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

 

A total of 36 percent of New Jersey’s bridges show significant deterioration or do not meet modern design standards. Ten percent of New Jersey’s bridges are structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components. An additional 26 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 congestion in the state is worsening, costing each driver $861 annually in lost time and wasted fuel. 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.

Traffic crashes in New Jersey claimed the lives of 2,945 people between 2008 and 2012.New Jersey’s overall traffic fatality rate of 0.79 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is lower than the national average of 1.13. However, the state’s rural roads have a traffic fatality rate of 1.94 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel – more than two and a half times higher than the fatality rate of 0.74 on all other roads in the state.

“The TRIP report highlights the importance of adequately funding our transportation system in order to reduce the financial burden on motorists, while ensuring that New Jersey businesses have an efficient, reliable system to move people, goods and services,” said Philip Beachem, president of the New Jersey Alliance for Action, a non-partisan, non-profit infrastructure advocacy group.

The efficiency and condition of New Jersey’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Annually, $423 billion in goods are shipped from sites in New Jersey and another $350 billion in goods are shipped to sites in New Jersey, mostly by truck.

New Jersey’s efforts to improve its transportation system will be hindered by the state’s need to spend approximately $1.2 billion in 2014 paying off outstanding debt. Over the next decade, a total of approximately $13 billion will be spent on debt service.

The Federal surface transportation program is a critical source of funding in New Jersey. From 2008 to 2012, the federal government provided $1.20 for road improvements in New Jersey 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 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.

“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. “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, New Jersey is going to see its future federal funding threatened, resulting in fewer road and bridge repair projects, loss of jobs, and a burden on the state’s economy.”

NEW JERSEY TRANSPORTATION BY THE NUMBERS:

Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility

JANUARY 2015

Ten Key Transportation Numbers in New Jersey

$11.8 Billion$1,951 Driving on deficient roads costs New Jersey motorists a total of $11.8 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes. The average New Jersey driver loses $1,951 annually as a result of driving on deficient roads.
5892,945 On average, 589 people were killed annually in New Jersey traffic crashes from 2008 to 2012, a total of 2,945 fatalities over the five year period.
2.5X The fatality rate on New Jersey’s non-interstate rural roads is more than two and a half times that on all other roads in the state (1.94 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.74).
35 % Thirty-five percent of New Jersey’s major roads are in poor condition providing motorists with a rough ride.
05/31/2015 MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act), the current federal surface transportation program, which is a critical source of funding for the state’s roads, highways, bridges and public transit systems, expires on May 31, 2015.
36 % A total of one-third of New Jersey bridges are in need of repair, improvement or replacement. Ten percent of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient and 26 percent are functionally obsolete.
$423 billion72 %17 % Annually, $423 billion in goods are shipped from sites in New Jersey. Seventy-two percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in New Jersey are carried by trucks and another 17 percent are carried by multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.
$1.20 From 2008 to 2012, the federal government provided $1.20 for road improvements in New Jersey for every dollar paid in federal motor fuel fees.
$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.
$1.2 billion$13 billion New Jersey’s efforts to improve its transportation system will be hindered by the state’s need to spend approximately $1.2 billion in 2014 paying off outstanding debt. Over the next decade, a total of approximately $13 billion will be spent on debt service.

Executive Summary

New Jersey’s extensive system of roads, highways, bridges and public transit systems 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. New Jersey’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 New Jersey 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 New Jersey’s roads, highways, bridges and public transit systems 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 the state’s population and economy continuing to grow, New Jersey 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 residents. Meeting New Jersey’s need to modernize and maintain its system of roads, highways and bridges will require significant 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 New Jersey.

An inadequate transportation system costs New Jersey residents a total of $11.8 billion every year in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes. The average New Jersey motorist loses $1,951 annually as a result of driving on deficient roads.

  • Driving on rough roads costs all New Jersey motorists a total of $3.7 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
  • Traffic crashes in which roadway design was a contributing factor cost New Jersey residents a total of $2.9 billion each year in the form of lost household and workplace productivity, insurance costs and other financial costs.
  • Traffic congestion costs New Jersey residents a total of $5.2 billion each year in the form of lost time and wasted fuel.

NJ Table

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

  • New Jersey’s population reached approximately 8.9 million in 2012, a 15 percent increase since 1990. New Jersey had 6,039,623 licensed drivers in 2012.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in New Jersey increased by 26 percent from 1990 to 2012 – jumping from 59 billion VMT in 1990 to 74.2 billion VMT in 2012.
  • By 2030, vehicle travel in New Jersey is projected to increase by another 15 percent.
  • From 1990 to 2012, New Jersey’s gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 35 percent, when adjusted for inflation.

A lack of adequate state and local funding has resulted in 35 percent of major roads and highways in New Jersey having pavement surfaces in poor condition, providing a rough ride and costing motorist in the form of additional vehicle operating costs.

  • Thirty-five percent of New Jersey’s major roads and highways have pavements in poor condition, while an additional 41 percent of the state’s major roads are rated in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 24 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 New Jersey motorists a total of $3.7 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

More than one-third of locally and state-maintained bridges in New Jersey 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.

  • Ten percent of New Jersey’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.
  • Twenty-six percent of New Jersey’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.

The traffic fatality rate on New Jersey’s rural roads is more than two and a half times higher than that on all other roads in the state. Improving safety features on New Jersey’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 2,945 people were killed in traffic crashes in New Jersey, an average of 589 fatalities per year.
  • New Jersey’s overall traffic fatality rate of 0.79 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2012 is lower than the national traffic fatality rate of 1.13.
  • The fatality rate on New Jersey’s rural non-Interstate roads was 1.94 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2012, more than two and a half times the 0.74 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.
  • Traffic crashes in which roadway features were a contributing factor cost New Jersey residents a total of $9 billion each year in the form of lost household and workplace productivity, insurance costs and other financial costs.
  • 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 New Jersey, 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.

  • TRIP estimates that the average New Jersey motorist loses $861each year in the form of lost time and wasted fuel as a result of traffic congestion. 
  • New Jersey is the second most densely populated state in the nation, leading to increasing congestion on the transportation system.
  • 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 New Jersey’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, $423 billion in goods are shipped from sites in New Jersey and another $350 billion in goods are shipped to sites in New Jersey, mostly by truck.
  • Seventy-two percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in New Jersey are carried by trucks and another 17 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 one site selection factor in a 2011 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 New Jersey’s roads, highways and bridges and provides a significant return to New Jersey in road and bridge funding based on the revenue generated in the state by the federal motor fuel tax. New Jersey’s efforts to improve its transportation system will be hindered by the state’s need to pay off outstanding debt.

  • 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.
  • From 2008 to 2012, the federal government provided $1.20 for road improvements in New Jersey for every dollar the state paid in federal motor fuel fees.
  • New Jersey’s efforts to improve its transportation system will be hindered by the state’s need to spend approximately $1.2 billion annually in paying off outstanding debt. Over the next decade, a total of approximately $13 billion will be spent on debt service.

Sources of information for this report include the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), 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 ) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

TRIP Report Identifies Montana’s Top 20 Transportation Challenges And Needed Fixes, Including Deteriorated Roads And Bridges, Congested Roadways And Needed Safety Improvements

TRIPDeficient roads, highways and bridges, and crowded or congested routes are posing mounting challenges to Montana residents, visitors and businesses. A new report released today by TRIP identifies the state’s top 20 transportation challenges, including road and bridge deterioration, inadequate capacity and needed safety improvements.

According to the report, Montana’s Top 20 Transportation Challenges and the Improvements Needed to Address them,” the improvements needed to address these transportation challenges will cost approximately $7.4 billion. However, at this time, funding is only available for $1.2 billion in needed improvements on these corridors, leaving a backlog of nearly $6.2 billion in needed improvements and upgrades.

The following, ranked in order, are Montana’s top transportation challenges. Further details about each challenge can be found in the TRIP report and appendix.

MT 1

“The Montana Chamber knows how important a good infrastructure system is to a strong economy and long-term prosperity,” said Webb Brown, president and CEO of the Montana Chamber of Commerce.  “To have that good system, we must have stable, dependable funding to ensure it.”

According to the TRIP report, in 2012, 29 percent of Montana’s major state and locally maintained urban roads were in poor condition, 37 percent were in mediocre or fair condition, and 33 percent were in good condition. Six percent of Montana’s state and locally maintained rural roads were rated in poor condition in 2012, while 35 percent were rated in mediocre or fair condition and 59 percent were rated in good condition.

“With Montana’s public infrastructure so vital to our health, safety, quality of life, and economic vitality, it is critical that all residents be informed regarding its current conditions so appropriate stewardship can be administered,” said Bill Wiegand, president of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) – Montana Section. The TRIP report echoes the findings of a report released by ASCE in 2014 examining the condition of Montana’s infrastructure.

Seven percent of Montana’s bridges were rated structurally deficient in 2013. A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. An additional 10 percent of Montana’s bridges were rated as functionally obsolete. Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet current highway design standards or are inadequate to accommodate current traffic levels, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.

“The trucking industry needs reliable infrastructure for the safe and efficient transportation of goods produces in Montana,” said Barry “Spook” Stang, executive director of the Motor Carriers of Montana.

The state’s traffic fatality rate is among the highest in the nation, and Montana’s rural roads have a particularly high fatality rate. Montana’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.72 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2012 is significantly higher than the national average of 1.13 and the third highest in the nation. Reducing this fatality rate was identified as the eighth most critical transportation challenge in the state. The fatality rate on Montana’s rural non-Interstate roads was 2.4 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2012, more than two and a half times the 0.95 fatality rate on all other roads and highways in the state.

Enhancing critical segments of Montana’s transportation system will boost the state’s economy in the short-term by creating jobs in construction and related fields. In the long term these improvements will enhance economic competitiveness and improve quality of life for the state’s residents and visitors by reducing travel delays and transportation costs, improving access and mobility, improving safety, and stimulating sustained job growth. Sustaining Montana’s long-term economic growth and maintaining the state’s high quality of life will require increased investment in expanding the capacity of the state’s transportation system, which will enhance business productivity and support short- and long-term job creation in the state.

“Investing in Montana’s transportation system and addressing these challenges by improving the condition and efficiency of the state’s roads, highways and bridges will be an effective step in boosting the state’s economy, enhancing quality of life and making Montana an attractive place to live, work and visit,” said Will Wilkins, executive director of TRIP.

Montana’s Top 20 Transportation Challenges and

Improvements Needed to Address Them

Executive Summary

            Montana’s extensive system of roads, highways and bridges provides the state’s residents, visitors and businesses with a high level of mobility. As the backbone of the Treasure State’s economy, Montana’s surface transportation system plays a vital role in the state’s economic well-being, and is an integral part of what makes Montana an attractive place to live, work and do business.

However, roadway and bridge deterioration, traffic safety concerns, and a lack of adequate capacity on some corridors to support economic development opportunities threaten to stifle economic growth and negatively impact the quality of life of the state’s residents. Due to insufficient transportation funding at the federal, state and local level, Montana faces numerous challenges in providing a road, highway and bridge network that is smooth, well-maintained, as safe as possible, and that affords a level of mobility capable of supporting the state’s economic goals.

Many segments of Montana’s transportation system have significant deterioration, lack some desirable safety features, and do not have adequate capacity to provide reliable mobility needed to support economic development particularly on routes that support the state’s growing energy extraction industry, creating challenges for Montana’s residents, visitors, businesses and state and local governments. This report looks at the condition and use of Montana’s system of roads, highways and bridges and provides information on the state’s top 20 transportation challenges and the improvements needed to address these challenges.

The transportation challenges outlined in this report represent approximately $7.4 billion in needed improvements. However, at this time, only $1.2 billion in funding for improvements for these corridors is available, leaving a backlog of nearly $6.2 billion in needed improvements and upgrades.

As Montana works to build and support a thriving and diverse economy, it will need to modernize its transportation system by improving the physical condition of its roads, highways and bridges, and enhancing the system’s ability to provide efficient, safe and reliable mobility to the state’s residents, visitors and businesses. Making needed improvements to Montana’s roads, highways and bridges would provide a significant boost to the state’s economy by stimulating short and long-term economic growth.

Montana faces significant challenges on many of the state’s most critical transportation routes, including the need to add capacity to support economic development, to improve roadway safety and to address pavement and bridge deterioration.

  • This report identifies the top 20 transportation challenges in the state, including critical sections of the state’s transportation system that have significant pavement deterioration, inadequate capacity, deficient bridges, or that need safety improvements.
  • A lack of adequate transportation funding is the constraining factor in developing and delivering these needed improvements.
  • Addressing the transportation challenges outlined in this report will cost approximately $7.4 billion in needed improvements. However, at this time, funding for only $1.2 billion in needed improvements on these corridors is available, leaving a backlog of nearly $6.2 billion in needed improvements and upgrades.
  • The following, ranked in order, are Montana’s top transportation challenges. Further details about each challenge can be found in the body of the report, as well as the Appendix.

MT 1

Growth in population and vehicle travel has far outstripped the current capacity of Montana’s transportation system. The state’s population and economy will continue to grow, bringing mounting challenges for the existing network of roads and bridges.

  • From 1990 to 2012, Montana’s population increased by 26 percent, from approximately 800,000 residents to approximately one million.
  • From 1990 to 2012, annual vehicle-miles-of-travel (VMT) in the state increased by 43 percent, from approximately 8.3 billion VMT to 11.9 billion VMT. Based on travel and population trends, TRIP estimates that vehicle travel in Montana will increase another 30 percent by 2030.
  • Every year, $22 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Montana and another $38 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Montana, mostly by trucks. Fifty-nine percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in Montana are carried by trucks and another nine percent are carried by parcel, U.S. Postal Service or courier services, which use trucks for part of their deliveries.

Montana’s extensive transportation system has some road and bridge deficiencies, lacks some desirable safety features and experiences severe congestion in key areas. Improvements to the condition and efficiency of the state’s transportation system would enhance quality of life, roadway safety and economic development.

  • The state will need to expand and modernize key roads, highways and bridges to increase mobility and ease traffic congestion, make needed road and bridge repairs, and improve roadway safety.
  • In 2012, 29 percent of Montana’s major state and locally maintained urban roads were in poor condition, 37 percent were in mediocre or fair condition, and 33 percent were in good condition. Six percent of Montana’s state and locally maintained rural roads were rated in poor condition in 2012, while 35 percent were rated in mediocre or fair condition and 59 percent were rated in good condition.
  • Seven percent of Montana’s bridges were rated structurally deficient in 2013. 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 2013, 10 percent of Montana’s bridges were rated as functionally obsolete. Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet current highway design standards or are inadequate to accommodate current traffic levels, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.
  • 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. A total of 1,053 people died on Montana’s highways from 2008 through 2012, an average of 211 annually.
  • Montana’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.72 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2012 is significantly higher than the national average of 1.13 and the third highest in the nation.
  • The fatality rate on Montana’s rural non-Interstate roads was 2.4 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2012, more than two and a half times the 0.95 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.
  • 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.

Transportation projects that improve the efficiency, condition or safety of a highway provide significant economic benefits by reducing transportation delays and costs associated with a deficient transportation system.

  • In the eastern portion of the state, Bakken oil extraction and support activities have resulted in increased overall traffic volumes and considerably higher than usual truck traffic as a percentage of the overall traffic stream. This additional traffic places a high level of stress on roadways, many of which were not originally built to accommodate such heavy traffic volumes and large vehicles.
  • Improved business competitiveness due to reduced production and distribution costs as a result of increased travel speeds and fewer mobility barriers.
  • Improvements in household welfare resulting from better access to higher-paying jobs, a wider selection of competitively priced consumer goods, additional housing and healthcare options, and improved mobility for residents without access to private vehicles.
  • Gains in local, regional and state economies due to improved regional economic competitiveness, which stimulates population and job growth.
  • Increased leisure/tourism and business travel resulting from the enhanced condition and reliability of a region’s transportation system.
  • A reduction in economic losses from vehicle crashes, traffic congestion and vehicle maintenance costs associated with driving on deficient roads.
  • Transportation projects that expand roadway or bridge capacity produce significant economic benefits by reducing congestion and improving access, thus speeding the flow of people and goods while reducing fuel consumption.
  • Transportation projects that maintain and preserve existing transportation infrastructure also provide significant economic benefits by improving travel speeds, capacity, load-carry abilities and safety, and reducing operating costs for people and businesses. Such projects also extend the service life of a road, bridge or transit vehicle or facility, which saves money by either postponing or eliminating the need for more expensive future repairs.
  • 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.

According to a recent national report, improved access as a result of capacity expansions provides numerous regional economic benefits. Those benefits include higher employment rates, higher land value, additional tax revenue, increased intensity of economic activity, increased land prices and additional construction as a result of the intensified use.

The 2012 report, “Interactions Between Transportation Capacity, Economic Systems and Land Use,” prepared by the Strategic Highway Research Program for the Transportation Research Board, reviewed 100 projects, costing a minimum of $10 million, which expanded transportation capacity either to relieve congestion or enhance access.

  • The projects analyzed in the report were completed no later than 2005 and included a wide variety of urban and rural projects, including the expansion or addition of major highways, beltways, connectors, bypasses, bridges, interchanges, industrial access roads, intermodal freight terminals and intermodal passenger terminals.
  •  The expanded capacity provided by the projects resulted in improved access, which resulted in reduced travel-related costs, faster and more reliable travel, greater travel speeds, improved reliability and increased travel volume.
  • The expanded capacity provided by the projects resulted in improved access, which resulted in reduced travel-related costs, faster and more reliable travel, greater travel speeds, improved reliability and increased travel volume.
  • The report found that improved transportation access benefits a region by: enhancing the desirability of an area for living, working or recreating, thus increasing its land value; increasing building construction in a region due to increased desirability for homes and businesses; increasing employment as a result of increased private and commercial land use; and increasing tax revenue as a result of increased property taxes, increased employment and increased consumption, which increases sales tax collection.
  • The report found that benefits of a transportation capacity expansion unfolded over several years and that the extent of the benefits were impacted by other factors including: the presence of complimentary infrastructure such as water, sewer and telecommunications; local land use policy; the local economic and business climate; and whether the expanded capacity was integrated with other public investment and development efforts.
  • For every $1 million spent on urban highway or intermodal expansion, the report estimated that an average of 7.2 local, long-term jobs were created at nearby locations as a result of improved access. An additional 4.4 jobs were created outside the local area, including businesses that supplied local businesses or otherwise benefited from the increased regional economic activity.
  • For every $1 million spent on rural highway or intermodal expansion, the report estimated that an average of 2.9 local, long-term jobs were created at nearby locations as a result of improved access. An additional 1.6 jobs were created outside the local area, including businesses that supplied local businesses or otherwise benefited from the increased regional economic activity.
  • The report found that highway and intermodal capacity projects in urban areas created a greater number of long-term jobs than in rural areas, largely due to the more robust economic environment and greater density in urban communities.

In addition to state and local governments, the federal government is a critical source of funding for Montana’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. 

  • 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 data for this report include the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT), the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the American Association of State Highway & Transportation officials (AASHTO, the Strategic Highway Research Program and the U.S. Census Bureau. All data used in the report is the latest available.

TRIP Reports: Deficient Roadways Cost South Carolina Drivers $3 Billion Annually – As Much As $1,300 Per Motorist.

TRIPDeficient Roadways Cost South Carolina Drivers $3 Billion Annually – As Much As $1,300 Per Motorist. Will Rise And Transportation Woes Will Worsen Without Significant Funding Boost

  Roads and bridges that are deficient, congested or lack desirable safety features cost South Carolina motorists a total of $3 billion statewide annually – as much as $1,300 per driver in some areas – 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 South Carolina, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization.

The TRIP report, South Carolina Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout South Carolina, 46 percent of major roads and highways (state-maintained Interstate, primary and secondary routes) are in poor condition, a significant increase from 2008 when 32 percent of the state’s major roads were rated in poor condition. One-fifth of South Carolina’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 South Carolina is tied with West Virginia for the highest overall traffic fatality rate in the nation.

Driving on deficient roads costs each South Carolina driver as much as $1,250 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 South Carolina’s largest urban areas: Charleston, Columbia and Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson. A breakdown of the costs per motorist in each area along with a statewide total is below.

South Carolina 1The TRIP report finds that 46 percent of South Carolina’s major roads and highways (state-maintained Interstate, primary and secondary routes) have pavements that were rated in 2014 as being in poor condition, while an additional 38 percent were in fair condition and 16 percent were in good condition. Driving on deteriorated roads costs South Carolina motorists an additional $1.1 billion each year in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

Traffic congestion is worsening throughout the state, costing drivers a total of $775 million annually in lost time and wasted fuel.

“The South Carolina Department of Transportation manages the 41,000 miles of state funded roads with the third lowest motor fuel user fee in the nation. With an estimated additional $1.5 billion needed per year for the next 25 years to “get to good”, they are currently having to do the best they can with what they have,” said Eric Dickey, vice president of Davis & Floyd, Inc. and chairman of the South Carolina Alliance to Fix Our Roads (SCFOR).

A total of 21 percent of South Carolina’s bridges show significant deterioration or do not meet modern design standards. Eleven percent of South Carolina’s bridges are structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components. An additional ten 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.

South Carolina’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.76 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is the highest in the nation (tied with West Virginia) and significantly higher than the national average of 1.13. Traffic crashes in South Carolina claimed the lives of 4,315 people between 2008 and 2012. The fatality rate on South Carolina’s rural roads was 2.99 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2012, which is 61 percent higher than the national rural road average of 1.86 fatalities per 100 million miles.

The efficiency and condition of South Carolina’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy.

The Federal surface transportation program is a critical source of funding in South Carolina. From 2008 to 2012, the federal government provided $1.12 for road improvements in South Carolina 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 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.

“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. “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, South Carolina is going to see its future federal funding threatened, resulting in fewer road and bridge repair projects, loss of jobs, and a burden on the state’s economy.”

SOUTH CAROLINA TRANSPORTATION BY THE NUMBERS:

 

Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility

Ten Key Transportation Numbers in South Carolina

 

$3 Billion

TRIP estimates that South Carolina 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 Billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs, lost time and wasted fuel due to traffic congestion and Traffic Crashes.
Charleston – $1,168

Columbia – $1,250

Greenville – $1,248

The annual costs per motorist of driving on roads that are congested, deteriorated and that lack some desirable safety features in South Carolina’s largest urban areas are: Charleston – $1,168; Columbia – $1,250; Greenville (including Spartanburg and Anderson) – $1,248.
Charleston – 37%

Columbia – 36%

Greenville – 48%

In the Charleston area, 37 percent of major urban roads are in poor or mediocre condition, Thirty-six percent of major urban roads in the Columbia area are in poor or mediocre condition and 48 percent of major urban roads in the Greenville metro area (including Spartanburg and Anderson) are in poor or mediocre condition.
863 deaths annually

4,315 deaths 2008 – 2012

From 2008 to 2012, an average of 863 people were killed annually in South Carolina traffic crashes, a total of 4,315 fatalities over the five year period.
 

Tied for 1st

 

The fatality rate on South Carolina’s routes is tied for the highest in the nation.   South Carolina’s rural fatality rate is also 61 percent higher than the national average (2.99 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. a 1.86 national average).
 

21 %

As of November, 2014, 21 percent of South Carolina bridges are in need of repair, improvement or replacement. Eleven percent of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient and ten percent are functionally obsolete.
 

$1.12 return on $1.00

From 2008 to 2012, the federal government provided $1.12 for road improvements in South Carolina for every one dollar paid in federal motor fuel fees.
 

84 %

Eighty-four percent of goods shipped annually from sites in South Carolina travel by truck.
3,455,931 There are 3,455,931 licensed drivers in South Carolina.
 

46%

32%

Forty-six percent of South Carolina’s major roads and highways (state-maintained Interstate, primary and secondary routes) were rated in poor condition in 2014, a significant increase since 2008 when 32 percent of the state’s major roads and highways were in poor condition.

Executive Summary

 

South Carolina’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 Palmetto State’s economy. South Carolina’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 part of its efforts to retain business, maintain its level of economic competitiveness and achieve further economic growth, South Carolina 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 South Carolina’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.

South Carolina 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 South Carolinians. Meeting South Carolina’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.

An inadequate transportation system costs South Carolina residents a total of $3 billion every year in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.

  • TRIP estimates that South Carolina 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 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs, the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to traffic congestion and traffic crashes.
  • TRIP has calculated the annual cost to South Carolina residents of driving on roads that are deteriorated, congested and lack some desirable safety features both statewide and in the state’s largest urban area. The following chart shows the cost breakdown for these areas.

South Carolina 2

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

  • South Carolina’s population reached 4.7 million in 2012, a 35 percent increase since 1990. South Carolina had 3,455,931 licensed drivers in 2012.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in South Carolina increased by 43 percent from 1990 to 2012 – jumping from 34.4 billion VMT in 1990 to 49 billion VMT in 2012.
  • By 2030, vehicle travel in South Carolina is projected to increase by another 25 percent.
  • From 1990 to 2012, South Carolina’s gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 53 percent, when adjusted for inflation.

Nearly half of major roads and highways in South Carolina have pavement surfaces in poor condition, providing a rough ride and costing motorists in the form of additional vehicle operating costs. The share of the state’s major roads in poor condition has increased significantly since 2008.

  • Forty-six percent of South Carolina’s major roads and highways (state-maintained Interstate, primary and secondary routes) have pavements that were rated in 2014 as being in poor condition, while an additional 38 percent were in fair condition and 16 percent were in good condition.
  • In 2008, 32 percent of South Carolina’s major roads and highways (state-maintained Interstate, primary and secondary routes) had pavements in poor condition, while an additional 49 percent were in fair condition and 19 percent were in good condition.
  • In the Charleston urban area, 37 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads are rated in poor or mediocre condition. Twenty-three percent of Charleston’s major urban roads are rated in fair condition and 40 percent are rated in good condition.
  • Thirty-six percent of major urban roads in the Columbia urban area are rated in poor or mediocre condition. Twenty-two percent of Columbia’s major urban roads are rated in fair condition and 42 percent are rated in good condition.
  • In the Greenville urban area (which includes Spartanburg and Anderson) 48 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads are rated in poor or mediocre condition.   Nineteen percent of Greenville’s major urban roads are rated in fair condition and 33 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. Roads rated in mediocre condition may show signs of significant wear and may also have some visible pavement distress. Most pavements in mediocre condition can be repaired by resurfacing, but some may need more extensive reconstruction to return them to good condition.
  • Driving on rough roads costs South Carolina motorists a total of $1.1 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
  • Driving on rough roads costs the average Charleston motorist $294 annually in extra vehicle operating costs, while the average driver in the Columbia urban area loses $362 each year as a result of driving on deteriorated roads. The average Greenville area motorist spends an extra $405 annually due to driving on rough roads.

As of November 2014, 21 percent of locally and state-maintained bridges in South Carolina 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.

  • Eleven percent of South Carolina’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 South Carolina’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.
  • In the Charleston urban area, 10 percent of bridges are structurally deficient and 29 percent are functionally obsolete. Fourteen percent of bridges in the Columbia area are structurally deficient, while 10 percent are functionally obsolete. In the Greenville area (which includes Spartanburg and Anderson), eight percent of bridges are structurally deficient and 14 percent are functionally obsolete.

Significant levels of traffic congestion cause significant delays in South Carolina, particularly in its larger urban areas, choking commuting and commerce.

  • According to the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), the average driver in the Charleston urban area loses $647 each year in the cost of lost time and wasted fuel as a result of traffic congestion. The average commuter in the Charleston urban area loses 30 hours each year stuck in traffic.
  • TTI estimates that the average Columbia-area driver loses $663 annually in the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to congestion. The average Columbia commuter loses 30 hours to traffic congestion every year.
  • According to TTI calculations, the average Greenville-area motorists loses $590 each year in the form of lost time and wasted fuel due to congestion. The average Greenville area driver loses 27 hours annually in traffic congestion.

South Carolina shares the highest overall traffic fatality rate in the nation with West Virginia. South Carolina’s traffic fatality rate on rural routes is the second highest in the nation behind Florida. Improving safety features on South Carolina’s roads and highways would likely result in a decrease in the state’s traffic fatalities and serious crashes. 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 4,315 people were killed in traffic crashes in South Carolina, an average of 863 fatalities per year.
  • South Carolina’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.76 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2012 is the highest rate in the nation (along with West Virginia) and is significantly higher than the national average of 1.13.
  • The fatality rate on South Carolina’s rural roads was 2.99 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2012, which is 61 percent higher than the national rural road average of 1.86 fatalities per 100 million miles.
  • The cost of serious traffic crashes in South Carolina in 2012, in which roadway features were likely a contributing factor, was approximately $1.1 billion.
  • The chart below details the average number of fatalities in each of South Carolina’s largest urban areas from 2010 to 2012 as well as the annual cost of traffic crashes to the average motorist in each area.

Soputh Carollina 3Roadway 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.

The efficiency of South Carolina’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Businesses are increasingly reliant on an efficient and reliable 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. South Carolina is heavily reliant on federal dollars to fund its transportation system.

  • Annually, $156 billion in goods are shipped from sites in South Carolina and another $168 billion in goods are shipped to sites in South Carolina, mostly by truck.
  • Eighty-four percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in South Carolina 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.
  • Highway accessibility was ranked the number one site selection factor in a 2011 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 South Carolina’s roads, highways and bridges and provides a significant return to South Carolina in road and bridge funding based on the revenue generated in the state by the federal motor fuel tax.

Sources of information for this report include the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the U.S. Census Bureau, the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Wells Fargo Reports — Employment: Broad-based Gains, Wages a Lagging Indicator

Wells_Fargo_Securities_logoDecember registered another solid gain in jobs of 252,000, with growth across the board. The unemployment rate declined to 5.6 percent in part due to lower participation. Average hourly wages continue to lag.

Broad-Based Job Gains A Plus for the Economy

In another solid gain, nonfarm payrolls rose by 252,000 in December. Over the past year, job growth averaged 246,000 jobs per month (top graph). This marks the 1 2 3strongest annual increase in jobs since 1999, although the pace has picked up notably in the final months of the year, averaging 289,000 jobs per month in the fourth quarter. Job gains were recorded in a broad set of sectors including professional & business services, education & health services, leisure & hospitality and even the mining sector. The unemployment rate declined to 5.6 percent, reflecting the combination of better hiring and a drop in participation.

Average Hourly Earnings: Not the Whole Picture

Following the substantial pickup in hiring this year, attention has shifted to wage growth. In December, average hourly wages continued to struggle, falling 0.2 percent and November’s 0.4 percent increase was cut in half. Wages were cut across all industries, with the exception of leisure & hospitality (flat) and other services (up 0.1 percent). Although the mining industry continued to add jobs last month, efforts to rein in costs were evident in the 1.0 percent drop in average hourly earnings. On a year-ago basis, average hourly wage growth has slowed to just 1.7 percent, the weakest rate in more than two years. However, as we have discussed before, average hourly earnings are only part of the picture for consumer spending. With 3 million jobs added over the past year, the income proxy, which factors in the aggregate earnings of workers, continues to signal a decent pace of wages & salaries income growth. While an increase in average hourly earnings of course adds to consumers’ spending power, average hourly earnings tends to be a lagging indicator of changes in real consumer spending (as well as labor market tightness). As illustrated in the bottom graph, the average hourly earnings series clearly lags the wages & salaries series at critical turning points of the economic cycle. Moreover, the wages & salaries series is far more correlated to consumer spending than average hourly earnings.

Aggregate Hours Worked: Continued Gains for Growth

The average workweek was unchanged in December, but, after last month’s gain and solid job growth, the aggregate hours index rose a solid 3.5 percent over the past three months. Broad-based gains in jobs and average weekly hours in the private sector indicate continued improvement in overall economic growth (bottom graph). This supports our outlook for continued strengthening in the economy. Our expectation is for economic growth for the next four quarters at a pace near potential growth of 2.75 percent and, thereby, we also see a further decline in the unemployment rate.

New TRIP Report Documents Recent Improvements In Kansas’ Roads And Bridges And Challenges Still Faced By State In Providing A Well-Maintained, Safe Annd Efficient Transportation System

TRIPKansas has made progress in improving state road and bridge conditions, largely through increased transportation funding provided by the T-WORKS program, which was authorized by the state legislature in 2010. But, the state still faces challenges in addressing traffic safety, state and local road and bridge conditions, and further modernizing the state’s transportation system to support economic growth, finds a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC-based national transportation organization.

According to the TRIP report, Modernizing Kansas’ Transportation System: Progress and Challenges in Providing Safe, Efficient and Well-Maintained Roads, Highways and Bridges,” since the T-WORKS program was passed by the Kansas legislature in in 2010, it has allowed for the completion of over 1,000 transportation projects, the improvement of nearly 8,000 miles of roads, and the repair or replacement of nearly 600 bridges. But, further improvements to the state’s transportation program are jeopardized by the uncertainty over future levels of funding from the federal surface transportation program, which expires in May 2015.

Twenty-nine percent of Kansas’ major locally and state-maintained urban roads and highways have pavements in poor condition, while an additional 46 percent of the state’s major roads are rated in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 25 percent are rated in good condition. Road conditions across the state have been improved largely through funding provided by the T-WORKS program, which allocates approximately $7.8 billion to highway preservation, modernization and expansion projects throughout Kansas over a 10-year period. Funding provided by the T-WORKS program allowed Kansas to improve 7,714 miles of state-maintained roadway since 2010. Through the second half of the 10-year program, the state plans to make improvements to an additional 5,000 miles of roadways.

Seventeen percent of locally and state-maintained bridges in Kansas show significant deterioration or do not meet current design standards. Ten percent of Kansas’ bridges are structurally deficient, meaning there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. Structurally deficient bridges are often posted for lower weight or closed to traffic, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks and emergency services vehicles. The Kansas Department of Transportation in 2014 set aside $10 million to reduce the number of deficient locally-maintained bridges. The additional funding will allow improvements to 77 locally-maintained bridges. Seven percent of Kansas’ 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. Funding provided by the T-WORKS program has allowed the state to repair or replace 559 bridges since 2010. `

“KDOT has done an outstanding job delivering the first half of our 10-year TWORKS transportation program. Specifically in the Kansas City metro area, troubling bottlenecks are being removed, safety enhancements are being made, and economic development is increasing due in great part to TWORKS. There is much left to do over the next five years to saves lives, create jobs, and expand our economy,” says Rick Worrel, owner of Affinis Corp, president of ACEC Kansas, and long-time champion of transportation and quality of life efforts at the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce. “Passing a long-term federal transportation program, maintaining the state’s 4/10-cent transportation sales tax, and fully funding TWORKS will ensure Kansas is a safe place to move people, goods, and services and remain a catalyst for economic growth.”

Kansas’ traffic fatality rate is significantly higher than the national average, and the fatality rate on the state’s rural roads is approximately three times higher than on all other roads in the state. Between 2008 and 2012, 1,993 people were killed in traffic crashes in Kansas, an average of 399 fatalities per year. Kansas’ overall traffic fatality rate of 1.32 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2012 is significantly higher than the national average of 1.13. The traffic fatality rate on Kansas’ non-Interstate rural roads in 2012 was approximately three times higher than on all other roads and highways in the state – 2.26 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel compared to 0.74. It is estimated that roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of all fatal and serious traffic crashes. Improving safety features on the state’s roads and highways would likely result in a decrease in traffic fatalities and serious crashes.

The federal government is a critical source of funding for Kansas’ roads, highways and bridges and provides a significant return to Kansas in road and bridge funding based on the revenue generated in the state by the federal motor fuel tax. Congress recently approved the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014, an eight-month extension of MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act), the long-term 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. From 2008 to 2012, the federal government provided $1.22 for road improvements in Kansas for every dollar the state paid in federal motor fuel fees.

Many needed projects throughout the state will require significant federal funding in order to proceed. These projects include the reconstruction of mainline US-69 in Kansas City, the completion of the Gateway Project to modernize Kansas’ portion of the highway network in the Kansas City area, the reconstruction and modernization of a portion of I-70 in Topeka, the construction of a bypass around the northwest portion of Wichita connecting US-54 to I-235/K-96, the reconstruction of the I-135/I-235/K-254/K-96 interchange in Wichita, and the construction of highway bypasses around Pratt, Kingman and Pittsburg. A full list of projects threatened by a lack of federal funding can be found in the report’s Appendix.

“In recent years, the Kansas legislature has provided funding that was instrumental in improving the state’s surface transportation system,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “In order for the state to continue its progress in maintaining and modernizing this system, adequate funding must be made available at the local, state and federal levels of government. The quality of life of the state’s residents and the health of Kansas’ economy are riding on it.”

MODERNIZING KANSAS’ TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM:

Progress and Challenges in Providing Safe, Efficient and Well-Maintained Road

Executive Summary

            Kansas’ 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 and quality of life for all Kansas residents.

As Kansas looks to retain its businesses, maintain its level of economic competitiveness and achieve further economic growth, the state will need to continue 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, safe and reliable mobility for motorists and businesses. Making needed improvements to Kansas’ roads, highways and bridges could also provide a 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 the state’s population continuing to grow, Kansas must continue to improve its system of roads, highways and bridges to foster economic growth and keep and attract businesses to the state. In addition to economic growth, transportation improvements are needed to ensure safe, reliable mobility. Meeting Kansas’ need to further modernize and maintain its system of roads, highways and bridges will require significant local, state and federal funding.

Kansas has undertaken a sustained commitment to upgrade the condition and efficiency of its roads, highways and bridges and modernize its transportation network. Kansas’ Transportation Works for Kansas (T-WORKS) program, which was authorized by the state legislature in 2010, provides $7.8 billion in transportation funding over 10 years. T-WORKS projects are funded primarily through a 4/10 cent sales tax. By improving Kansas’ network of roads, bridges and transit, the program also creates jobs, preserves and improves the state’s infrastructure assets, and promotes economic development across the state.

To date, the T-WORKS program has allowed for the completion of over 1,000 transportation projects, the improvement of nearly 8,000 miles of roads, and the repair or replacement of nearly 600 bridges. These improvements have benefited the entire state, as the T-WORKS legislation mandates that at least $8 million is invested in each county.

As the T-WORKS program moves into its middle years, the state has made significant progress in improving road and bridge conditions, expanding transit and multi-modal options, and improving the state’s rail and aviation systems. While the T-WORKS program has allowed for significant modernization and improvements to Kansas’ transportation system, further progress in improving the state’s transportation system is needed to address traffic safety, road and bridge conditions, including those that are locally maintained, and further modernization to support economic growth. Yet the state’s ability to address these challenges could be jeopardized by uncertainty in the future levels of federal transportation funding. In order to fulfill its promise, the T-WORKS program must be coupled with a strong, sustainable source of federal transportation funds.

Achieving the state’s goals for a modern, well-maintained and safe transportation system will require staying the course with Kansas’ current transportation program and proceeding with further transportation improvements well through the next decade. The level of local, state and federal funding will be critical in allowing for the continued improvement and modernization of Kansas’ transportation system.

Population and economic growth have placed increased demands on Kansas’ major roads and highways, leading to mounting wear and tear on the transportation system.

  • Kansas’ population reached approximately 2.9 million in 2012, a 16 percent increase since 1990, when the state’s population was approximately 2.5 million. Kansas has approximately 2,018,029 million licensed drivers.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Kansas increased 34 percent from 1990 to 2012 – from 22.8 billion VMT in 1990 to 30.6 billion VMT in 2012.
  • By 2030, vehicle travel in Kansas is projected to increase by another 15 percent.
  • From 1990 to 2012, Kansas’ gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 54 percent, when adjusted for inflation.

Largely through funding provided by the T-WORKS program, Kansas has been able to improve approximately 8,000 miles of state-maintained roads and highways since 2010.

  • The T-WORKS program allocates approximately $6 billion to highway preservation, modernization and expansion projects throughout Kansas over a 10 year period.
  • Funding provided by the T-WORKS program allowed Kansas to improve 7,714 miles of state-maintained roadway since 2010. Through the second half of the 10-year program, the state plans to make improvements to an additional 5,000 miles of roadways.

A large percentage of urban roads and highways in Kansas are in poor condition. The urban roads in the state which are in poor condition are largely maintained by local governments.

  • Twenty-nine percent of Kansas’ major locally and state-maintained urban roads and highways have pavements in poor condition, while an additional 46 percent of the state’s major roads are rated in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 25 percent are rated in good condition.
  • Ninety-five percent of the urban roads and highways in Kansas that are in poor condition are maintained by local governments.
  • 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.

Seventeen percent of locally and state-maintained bridges in Kansas 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.

  • Ten percent of Kansas’ 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 
  • Ninety-seven percent of the structurally deficient bridges in Kansas are maintained by local governments.
  • The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) in 2014 set aside $10 million to reduce the number of deficient locally-maintained bridges. The additional funding will allow improvements to 77 locally-maintained bridges.
  • Seven percent of Kansas’ 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.
  • Funding provided by the T-WORKS program has allowed the state to repair or replace 559 bridges since 2010.

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

  • Between 2008 and 2012, 1,993 people were killed in traffic crashes in Kansas, an average of 399 fatalities per year.
  • Kansas’ overall traffic fatality rate of 1.32 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2012 is significantly higher than the national average of 1.13.
  • The traffic fatality rate on Kansas’ non-Interstate rural roads in 2012 was approximately three times higher than on all other roads and highways in the state – 2.26 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel compared to 0.74.
  • Several factors are associated with vehicle crashes that result in fatalities, including driver behavior, vehicle characteristics and roadway features. It is estimated 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.
  • KDOT maintains a Highway Safety Improvement Program which provides funding for safety improvements including lighting, pavement marking, signage, rail crossings, intersections and rural roads, including the addition of shoulders, widening lanes and improving sight distance.

The efficiency of Kansas’ transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the state’s economy. Businesses are increasingly reliant on an efficient and reliable 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, $123.5 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Kansas and another $149.2 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Kansas, mostly by truck.
  • Seventy-one percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in Kansas are carried by trucks and another 10 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 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 Kansas’ roads, highways and bridges and provides a significant return to Kansas in road and bridge funding based on the revenue generated in the state by the federal motor fuel tax.

  • From 2008 to 2012, the federal government provided $1.22 for road improvements in Kansas for every dollar the state paid in federal motor fuel fees.
  • Many needed projects throughout the state will require significant federal funding in order to proceed. These projects include the reconstruction of mainline US-69 in Kansas City, the completion of the Gateway Project to modernize Kansas’ portion of the highway network in the Kansas City area, the reconstruction and modernization of a portion of I-70 in Topeka, the construction of a bypass around the northwest portion of Wichita connecting US-54 to I-235/K-96, the reconstruction of the I-135/I-235/K-254/K-96 interchange in Wichita, and the construction of highway bypasses around Pratt, Kingman and Pittsburg. A full list of projects threatened by a lack of federal funding can be found in the report’s Appendix.

Sources of information for this report include the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT), the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the U. S. Census Bureau, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO),the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)