Tag Archive for 'Stimulus Package'

ARTBA 2013 Transportation Construction Market Forecast: Modest Growth

Bridge Market Will Be Flat; Port & Waterway Construction A Bright Spot

The U.S. transportation construction infrastructure market is expected to show modest growth in 2013, increasing three percent from $126.5 billion to $130.3 billion, according to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association’s (ARTBA) annual forecast.  The association’s chief economist, Dr. Alison Premo Black, released her findings during a November 30 webinar for Wall Street analysts and construction industry executives.

Growth is expected in highway and street pavements, private work for driveways and parking lots, airport terminal and runway work, railroads, and port and waterway construction.  ARTBA predicts the bridge market, which has shown substantial growth over the last 10 years, to remain flat next year.

The federal surface transportation program, combined with state and local government transportation investments, are the most significant drivers of the national transportation infrastructure construction market.

According to Black, the pavements market will be sluggish in 2013, growing 2.8 percent to $58.4 billion.  This includes $47.7 billion in public and private investment in highways, roads and streets, and $10.7 billion in largely private investments in parking lots, driveways and related structures.

With no new real federal money in the 2012 MAP-21 surface transportation law, still recovering state and local tax collections and modest new housing starts, the pavements market will be uneven across the nation.  Pavement work is anticipated to be down in 25 states.  Growth above a five percent range is expected in 19 states.

However, there are at least two developments related to MAP-21 that could lead to additional market activity in the short term and strengthen the market in 2013 and 2014, Black says.

First, the law’s restructuring of the federal highway program offers state transportation departments more flexibility in their use of federal funds.  This could lead to slightly increased investment in highway, bridge and pavement work above the forecast in some states.   Second, MAP-21’s expanded federal Transportation Infrastructure Finance & Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan program should also increase construction activity in some states.

Black also notes that major reconstruction work along the East Coast in states that were affected by Hurricane Sandy could also be a market factor in 2013 across all modes.   Additional federal, state and local emergency funds for rebuilding this infrastructure could be a boost as projects get underway.

A major wild card in the forecast, Black says, is the so-called “fiscal cliff”—the dire financial situation set to occur at the beginning of 2013 if Congress and the President can’t agree on tax and spending reforms.  Although the “fiscal cliff” would not directly impact federal highway investment to the states, it could affect state and local finances, and thereby cause governments to pull back or delay projects.  Such action in turn would have negative consequences on the highway construction market.

Individual businesses may also delay capital and hiring decisions amid the uncertainty.

Bridges & Tunnels

After a four-year run of significant market growth—reaching a record high $28.5 billion in 2012—the bridge and tunnel construction market will cool off in 2013, likely remaining flat at about $28.2 billion.  The ARTBA forecast shows projects in eight states—California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington—will continue to account for about half of the U.S. market activity in this sector.  With a number of major bridge projects on the horizon, however, the bridge and tunnel sector should rebound smartly in 2014.

ARTBA’s 2013 forecast for other transportation modes:

Ports & Waterways

Driven by expanded sea trade expected with completion of the Panama Canal expansion project in 2015, U.S. ports and waterway construction is expected to skyrocket nearly 25 percent to $2.65 billion.  Increased market activity is anticipated in California, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

Airport Runways & Terminals

Airport runway and terminal construction is expected to show growth in 28 states, with sector growth overall of 4.5 percent, reaching $12.5 billion.  Market-driving states include: Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas.  Funding for airport projects is anticipated to increase over the next five years, largely tracking growth in passenger enplanements. 

Light Rail & Subways

The uncertainty caused by the 33-month long delay in passage of MAP-21 will be felt in the subway and light rail markets.  Construction activity is projected to be down by eight percent overall.  There will be some bright spots, however.  Based on recent contract awards, these states will be moving forward on key transit projects: California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington.

The forecast uses an ARTBA econometric model that takes into account a number of economic variables at the federal, state and local level.  It is measuring the public and private value of construction put in place, published by the U.S. Census Bureau.  The ARTBA estimate of the private driveway and parking lot construction market is based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s “Economic Business Census.”

Established 110 years ago, ARTBA represents the U.S. transportation design and construction industry in the Nation’s Capital.

Summertime And The Livin’ Is…

Site-K Editorial Staff

By Greg Sitek

It’s hard to believe that Summer 2011 is nearing its end. Actually it’s difficult to accept this plain, simple recurring fact because as the days shorten and temperatures start to drop in preparation for winter, we have to deal with the fact that we still don’t have a highway bill; that another construction season is slipping away, a season that could have put more than a million people back to work. The Highway Bill extension runs out again in September 2011.

Technically it isn’t the Highway Bill. Federally aided highway construction has existed under a variety of different names for almost a hundred years starting with the Federal-Aid Highway Acts (1916–1987); National Interstate and Defense Highways Act (1956); Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation Assistance Act (1987) ;  Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (1991); National Highway Designation Act (1995); Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (1998); Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (2005) with the last one SAFETEA-LU having expired in September 2009. Each rendition of these various acts brought us closer to providing our citizens the type of transportation infrastructure this country needs.

As we approached the expiration of SAFETEA-LU congress and industry had unrolled proposals that not only made sense but also laid down the foundation for a transportation infrastructure that would have carried us forward into the distant future. These proposals addressed not only immediate needs for the repair and modernization of our existing infrastructure but also provided for the continued growth and development of our ever-changing commercial-industrial-manufacturing-transportation needs. Had a solid transportation infrastructure bill been enacted and passed now two years ago the construction industry would not be faced with the level of unemployment numbers it is, a level that will not decrease but rather increase as the “building season” winds down.

In the June 19, 2011 issue of Newsweek ran an article by Bill Clinton titled, It’s Still the Economy, Stupid, Fourteen million Americans remain out of work, a waste of our greatest resource. The 42nd president has more than a dozen ideas on how to attack the jobs crisis. In this article former president Clinton lists 14 ways to put America back to work. Many of his recommendations related directly or indirectly to this industry:

  1. Speed the Approvals
  2. Cash for Startups
  3. Jobs Galore in Energy
  4. Copy the Empire State Building (Updates and renovations)
  5. Get the Utilities in on the Action
  6. State by State Solutions
  7. Guarantee Loans
  8. Paint ‘em White (All the roofs in the country as an energy saving measure)
  9. Deals to Make Things
  10. Train on the Job
  11. Teach Skills We Need
  12.  Cut Corporate Taxes
  13. Enforce Trade Laws
  14. Analyze the Opportunities

And, I’m adding a 15th item: Pass a Transportation Bill. Actually this could easily be a part of the Clinton’s 14th item, Analyze the Opportunities because this is an opportunity to put more than a million people back to work.

As you look through the list you can see how many of these tie into construction and construction related activities.

Where am I going with this? I’m encouraging you to contact your Washington representatives and by phone or email and telling them to act on the transportation bill when it comes up in September. Support the various organizations that are involved in making the public aware of our national transportation needs.

Read what the American Concrete Pavement Association  (ACPA) has to say about our need for a highway bill:

Summertime Underscores Need for Highway Bill Now

The American Concrete Pavement Association is urging voters throughout the transportation community to be unrelenting in urging Congress to enact an adequately funded transportation bill.

“This summer is a pivotal time for our industry to remind our federal elected officials of the importance and urgency of finding solutions to the dire situation the construction industry and our highways are facing,” says Gerald F. Voigt, P.E., President and CEO of the American Concrete Pavement Association.

“This is not the time to slow the pace; instead, we need to continue to urge Congress to do the right thing by making highways and other elements of our surface transportation system a top priority,” he says.

Voigt says this is especially important now for several reasons, including:

§  The nations economy continues to falter, and amid the continuing economic uncertainty, unemployment remains at a critical state in the construction industry.   Passage of the highway bill would create and sustain well-paying, long-term jobs for people who want to work and need to work.

§  Summertime brings school recesses, vacation schedules, and other reasons for large groups of people to visit Washington, D.C.   This means elected officials are hearing from many special interests, and because of that, we need to ensure that transportation issues do not get lost in the “hue and cry” of other issues.

§  August is traditionally the time when Senators and Representatives return to their home states and districts, and as such, this presents voters with more opportunities to have direct contact with elected officials at town-hall meetings, fundraising events, and other activities.

§  August 10 marks the sixth anniversary of the signing of the most recent highway bill, which since its expiration, has been extended seven times.  Extensions, says Voigt, make it difficult, if not impossible, for businesses to invest in the future, and with no clear timeline for the next transportation bill, will continue to jeopardize the economic vitality of companies.

§  Retail fuel prices are rising at an alarming rate, and with widespread speculation that motorists will be paying $5/gallon gasoline, motorists can scarcely afford to waste fuel because of the inefficiency and disrepair of our nation’s highways.

Take a Stand
“Talk to your neighbors, your colleagues, your employees and everyone you know who has the power of the vote, and urge them to take a stand, and to tell their elected officials that they demand unselfish and discerning leadership, and the courage to do what is right for this country,” Voigt says.  “Tell them to make the tough call by finding viable, sustainable solutions to find and invest the funds to repair and preserve the nation’s highways.

Voigt adds that every member of the transportation community has the power of the vote, as well as the right to hold elected officials accountable for their actions & and inaction.

“Our ability to move people and goods is critical to this nation,” Voigt says. “Our federal government has underinvested in our nation’s transportation infrastructure for years, and as a result, we are falling further behind in the global marketplace. China, India, and other developing nations understand the value of infrastructure development and the critical link between infrastructure, commerce, personal mobility, and safety. The question we should all be asking is, “Why are those issues any less important in the United States than in other nations?”

“It is disingenuous for anyone to suggest that we can solve this problem without increasing funding.  Accounting for inflation, we invest less in our infrastructure today than we did in 1975.  This is unacceptable, and for every day we put off a solution, we burden our children and those who come after us,” Voigt says.

“Together, we need to make this the summer of action, and not just another season of inaction,” Voigt says.

This is your infrastructure and you have an investment in it, a serious investment. Our representatives in Washington are responsible to us for protecting these investments and managing them so that we can realize a reasonable ROI. Let’s make them accountable.

This article appeared as the editorial in the August 2011 issues of the ACP magazines:  California Builder & Engineer, Construction, Construction Digest, Construction News, Constructioneer, Dixie Contractor, Michigan Contractor & Builder, Midwest Contractor, New England Construction, Pacific Builder & Engineer, Rocky Mountain Construction, Texas Contractor, Western Builder.

TRIP Reports On America’s Rural Roads

America’s Rural Roads Are Deteriorated And Insufficient To Support Economic Growth And Mobility Demands. Rural Traffic Fatalities Are Three Times Higher Than All Other Roads.

America’s rural heartland is home to approximately 50 million people and its natural resources provide the primary source of the energy, food and fiber that supports the nation’s economy and way of life. But, according to a new report, the roads and bridges that serve and connect the nation’s rural areas face a number of significant challenges, including inadequate capacity to handle the growing levels of traffic and commerce, limited connectivity, the inability to accommodate growing freight travel, deteriorated road and bridge conditions, a lack of desirable safety features, and a traffic fatality rate far higher than all other roads and highways. The report, “Rural Connections: Challenges and Opportunities in America’s Heartland,” was released today by TRIP, a national non-profit transportation research group based in Washington, D.C. It defines Rural America as all places and people living outside the primary daily commuting zones of cities with 50,000 people or more.

The TRIP report found that despite a recent decrease in the overall fatality rate on the nation’s roads, traffic crashes and fatalities on rural roads remain disproportionately high, occurring at a rate more than three times higher than all other roads. In 2009, non-Interstate rural roads had a traffic fatality rate of 2.31 deaths for every 100 million vehicle miles of travel, compared to a fatality rate on all other roads of 0.75 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles of travel. And although they carry only 25 percent of all vehicle miles of travel in the U.S., crashes on the nation’s rural, non-Interstate routes resulted in 51 percent of the nation’s 33,808 traffic deaths in 2009. Inadequate roadway safety design, longer emergency vehicle response times and the higher speeds traveled on rural roads are factors in the higher traffic fatality rate.

In addition to disproportionately high traffic fatality rates, the roads and bridges in rural America have significant deficiencies. In 2008, 12 percent of the nation’s major rural roads were rated in poor condition and another 43 percent were rated in mediocre or fair condition. In 2010, 13 percent of the nation’s rural bridges were rated as structurally deficient and 10 percent were functionally obsolete.

“The safety and quality of life in America’s small communities and rural areas and the health of the nation’s economy ride on our rural transportation system.  This backbone of the heartland allows mobility and connectivity for millions of rural Americans and provides crucial links from farm to market, moves manufactured and energy products, and provides access to countless tourist and recreational destinations,” said Will Wilkins, executive director of TRIP.  “But, with long-term federal transportation legislation stuck in political gridlock in Washington, America’s rural communities and economies could face even higher unemployment and decline.  Funding the modernization of our rural transportation system will create jobs and help ensure long-term economic development and quality of life in rural America.”

“Congress must not delay in passing a robust, multi-year highway and transit bill in order to address the transportation challenges faced in rural America and the nation as a whole. The reauthorization of SAFETEA-LU is a key opportunity to move U.S. infrastructure into the 21st century, bolster economic recovery efforts, and improve the quality of life in every corner of our nation,” said John Horsley, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).

America must adopt transportation policies that will improve rural transportation connectivity, safety and conditions to provide the nation’s small communities and rural areas with the level of safe and efficient access that will support quality of life and enhance economic productivity. This can be done, in part, by modernizing and extending key routes to accommodate personal and commercial travel, improving public transit access to rural areas, implementing needed roadway safety improvements, improving emergency response times, and adequately funding state and local transportation programs to insure sufficient preservation and maintenance of rural transportation assets.

 

Rural Connections: Challenges and Opportunities in America’s Heartland

 

September 2011

 

Executive Summary

America’s rural heartland plays a vital role as home to a significant share of the nation’s population, many of its natural resources and the primary source of the energy, food and fiber that supports America’s economy and way of life.  The strength of the nation’s rural economy relies greatly on the quality of its transportation system, particularly its roadways, which link rural America with the rest of the U.S. and to markets in other nations. The economy of rural America, which supports the quality of life for the approximately 50 million Americans living in small communities and rural areas, rides on the quality and connectivity of the rural transportation system. But roads, highways and bridges in the nation’s heartland face a number of significant challenges:  they carry growing levels of traffic and commerce, lack adequate capacity, fail to provide needed levels of connectivity to many communities, are not built to adequate standards to accommodate growing freight travel in many corridors, have significant deficiencies, lack many desirable safety features, and experience serious traffic crashes at a rate far higher than all other roads and highways.  This report looks at the condition, use and safety of the nation’s rural transportation system, particularly its roads, highways and bridges, and identifies needed improvements to America’s rural transportation system.

The following are the most critical findings of the report.Rural America plays a vital role in the U.S. as home to a significant share of the nation’s population, natural resources and as the primary source of the energy, food and fiber which drives the U.S. economy.

  •     Rural America is defined as all places and people living in areas outside of urban areas with a population of 5,000 or greater.
  • Rural America is home to approximately 50 million people, accounting for approximately 17 percent of the nation’s population. Rural America contains roughly 83 percent of the land in the U.S. and is home to the vast majority of the nation’s 2.2 million farms.
  •     The nation’s rural population increased approximately 4.5 percent between 2000 and 2010, which was a slower rate of growth than urban America, which increased by approximately 11 percent during the same period.
  • Population growth in rural areas has been uneven, with growth being strongest in the South and West, and rural areas in the Upper Plain and Central states more likely to see population losses.
  • A significant movement of retiring baby boomers to rural America is considered likely over the next decade as aging Americans seek out communities that offer affordable housing, small-town quality of life, desirable natural amenities and which are often within a short drive of larger metropolitan areas.

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

  • The annual value of agricultural production in the U.S. is $2.2 trillion
  • While farming accounts for just six percent of all jobs in rural America, for every person employed in farming there are seven other jobs in the agribusiness, including wholesale and retail trade, processing, marketing, production, and distribution.
  • A recent report by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) found that “an effective transportation system supports rural economies, reducing the prices farmers pay for inputs such as seeds and fertilizers, raising the value of their crops and greatly increasing market access.
  • Trucks provide the majority of transportation for agricultural products, providing 46 percent of total ton miles of travel compared to 36 percent by rail and 12 percent by barge.
  • Trucks account for the vast majority of transportation for perishable agricultural items, carrying 91 percent of ton miles of all fruit, vegetables, livestock, meat, poultry and dairy products in the U.S.
  • The Council of State Governments  recently found that “rural highways provide many benefits to the nation’s transportation system, including serving as a bridge to other states, supporting the agriculture and energy industries, connecting economically challenged citizens in remote locations to employers, enabling the movement of people and freight and providing access to America’s tourist attractions.”
  • The importance of a reliable, safe and well-maintained transportation system to economic growth in rural America was highlighted during the recent White House Rural Economic Forum, which was hosted by President Barack Obama on August 16th, 2011in Peosta, Iowa.
  • U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who hosted a breakout session on transportation and infrastructure at the Forum, wrote the following day on his blog, “We know that affordable transportation choices in our rural communities give residents better access to jobs and health care, and provide an incentive for much-needed economic development.  And continued federal investments in rural communities will create construction jobs and ensure that farmers and ranchers have the roads, rail lines, and ports they need to move their products to market.”
  • Transportation is becoming an even more critical segment of the food distribution network.  While food demand is concentrated mostly in urban areas, food distribution is the most dispersed segment of the economy.
  • A report by the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council recommends that governments improve the quality of their transportation systems serving the movement of goods from rural to urban regions as a strategy to lower food costs and increase economic prosperity.
  • A report on agricultural transportation by the USDA found it likely that market changes and shifts in consumer preferences would further increase the reliance on trucking to move U.S. agricultural products.
  • Travel and tourism in the U.S. generated over $700 billion in revenues in 2009 and the nation’s national parks, which are largely located in rural areas, receive 300 million visitors per year, many in personal vehicles.

Increases in domestic energy extraction and the production of renewable energy are increasing the demand on the nation’s rural highway system.

  • Ethanol production in the U.S. increased from 1.7 billion gallons in 2000 to 10.6 billion gallons in 2010.  Federal mandates require that production of renewable fuels, including biofuels and cellulosic fuels, reach 36 billion gallons per year by 2022.
  • The number of bio-refineries in the U.S. increased from 89 to nearly 500 between 2000 and 2010.
  • The development of significant new oil and gas fields in the North Central Plains is placing significant increased loads on the highways in those regions.

Rural Transportation Challenge:  Connectivity

Growing demand for rural mobility, combined with the failure to significantly expand the nation’s rural transportation system, particularly its network of modern highways, has resulted in a lack of adequate connectivity, which is impeding the potential for economic growth in many rural areas.

  • Travel per-lane mile on rural Interstate routes increased by 34 percent from 1990 to 2009. During the same timeframe, travel per-lane mile on the nation’s non-Interstate rural roads increased by 15 percent.
  • Sixty-six cities of 50,000 or more in the U.S. do not have direct access to the Interstate Highway System.  A list of the 66 cities can be found in Appendix A.
  • Since the routes for the Interstate Highway System were designated in 1956, the nation’s population has nearly doubled from 165 million to 311 million.
  • The abandonment of more than 100,000 miles of rail lines in recent decades, mostly in rural areas, has reduced access in many rural communities and increased reliance on trucking for freight movement.
  • Only 60 percent of rural counties nationwide have public transportation available and 28 percent of those have very limited service.

Rural Transportation Challenge:  Safety

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

  • Rural roads have a traffic fatality rate that is more than three times higher than all other roads. In 2009, non-Interstate rural roads had a traffic fatality rate of 2.31 deaths for every 100 million vehicle miles of travel, compared to a fatality rate on all other roads of 0.76 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles of travel.
  • Crashes on the nation’s rural, non-Interstate routes resulted in 17,075 fatalities in 2009, accounting for more than half – 51 percent – of the nation’s 33,808 traffic deaths in 2009.
  • Rural, non-Interstate routes accounted for 25 percent of all vehicle miles of travel in the U.S. in 2009.
  • While fatality rates on all roads have decreased in recent years, the drop in the fatality rate on rural roads has lagged behind that of all other roads from 2000 to 2009. From 2000 to 2009, the fatality rate on all roads, excluding non-Interstate rural roads, decreased by 28 percent (1.05 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel to .76).   However, during the same timeframe, the traffic fatality rate on rural, non-Interstate routes declined by only 13 percent (2.65 fatalities per 100 vehicle miles of travel to 2.31).
  • The chart below details the twenty states that led the nation in the number of rural non-Interstate traffic deaths in 2009. Data for each state is available in Appendix B.

State

2009 Rural

Non-interstate

traffic deaths

Texas

1,490

California

1,164

North Carolina

907

Florida

906

South Carolina

791

Pennsylvania

611

Ohio

601

Kentucky

584

Missouri

533

Georgia

527

New York

524

Tennessee

519

Mississippi

464

Alabama

449

Oklahoma

444

Arkansas

418

Virginia

371

Michigan

369

Indiana

365

Wisconsin

363 

  • The chart below details the states with the highest rate of rural non-Interstate traffic fatalities per 100 million miles of travel in 2009 and fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles of travel on all other roads in the state in 2009. Data for each state is available in Appendix C. 

State

Non-Interstate

rural

All other

roads

South Carolina

4.70

.32

Florida

3.47

.98

Rhode Island

2.99

.89

Arkansas

2.89

.89

California

2.86

.68

Texas

2.83

.89

Kentucky

2.82

.78

Arizona

2.78

.98

Montana

2.76

1.14

North Dakota

2.75

.48

North Carolina

2.74

.43

Oklahoma

2.71

.96

Tennessee

2.68

.92

West Virginia

2.62

1.21

Louisiana

2.57

1.49

Kansas

2.50

.57

Delaware

2.41

.79

Oregon

2.34

.53

Nevada

2.33

.98

Missouri

2.31

.75

Inadequate roadway safety design, longer emergency vehicle response times and the higher speeds traveled on rural roads compared to urban roads are factors in the higher traffic fatality rate found on rural, non-Interstate routes.

  • Rural roads are more likely than urban roads to have poor roadway design, including narrow lanes, limited shoulders, sharp curves, exposed hazards, pavement drop-offs, steep slopes and limited clear zones along roadsides.
  • Because many rural routes have been constructed over a period of years, they often have inconsistent design features for such things as lane widths, curves, shoulders and clearance zones along roadsides.
  • Rural roads are more likely than urban roads to be two-lane routes.  Seventy percent of the nation’s urban non-freeway arterial and collector roads have two-lanes, compared to 94 percent of rural non-freeway, arterial and collector routes having two-lanes.
  • Rural roads are more likely than urban roads to have narrow lanes.  A desirable lane width for collector and arterial roadways is at least 11 feet.  But, 24 percent of rural collector and arterial roads have lane widths of 10 feet or less, compared to 18 percent of urban collector and arterial roads with lane widths of 10 feet or less.
  • In 2009, 34 percent of all fatal crashes on non-Interstate rural roads involved a vehicle leaving the roadway, whereas only 21 percent of fatal traffic crashes on all other routes involved a vehicle leaving the roadway.
  • In 2009, vehicles driving on rural roads were nearly twice as likely as vehicles on all other roads to be involved in a fatal traffic accident while attempting to negotiate curves.  In 2009, 23 percent of all vehicle occupants killed in rural, non-Interstate crashes involved a vehicle attempting to negotiate a curve, while only 12 percent of vehicle occupants killed in all other crashes involved a vehicle attempting to negotiate a curve.
  • Vehicles driving on non-Interstate rural roads are far more likely than vehicles traveling on all other roads to be involved in a fatal head-on collision.  In 2009, 15 percent of rural fatal multi-vehicle crashes were head-on collisions, compared to eight percent of all other traffic crashes.
  • While the vast majority of rural roads are two-lane facilities, very few rural traffic fatalities occurred while one vehicle was trying to pass another.  In 2009, only three percent of all vehicle occupants killed in rural, non-Interstate crashes died in crashes where one vehicle was trying to pass another vehicle.
  • Most head-on crashes on rural, non-Interstate roads are likely caused by a motorist making an unintentional maneuver as a result of driver fatigue, being distracted or driving too fast in a curve.
  • While driver behavior is a significant factor in traffic crash rates, both safety belt usage and impaired driving rates are similar in their involvement rate as a factor in urban and rural traffic crashes.

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

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

Rural Transportation Challenge:  Deficient Conditions

The nation’s rural roads, highways and bridges have significant deficiencies.

  • In 2008, 12 percent of the nation’s major rural roads (arterials and collectors) were rated in poor condition and another 43 percent were rated in fair condition.
  • The chart below details the states with the greatest percentage of major rural roads in poor condition in 2008. Rural pavement conditions for all states can be found in the Appendix D.

STATE

PERCENT POOR

Vermont

36

Idaho

31

Oklahoma

30

Rhode Island

30

Hawaii

29

Kansas

28

West Virginia

27

Arkansas

23

New Hampshire

21

New Mexico

21

Alaska

20

Missouri

20

Connecticut

19

Maine

19

California

18

Pennsylvania

17

South Dakota

17

Michigan

16

Illinois

16

Mississippi

15

  • In 2010, 13 percent of the nation’s rural bridges were rated as structurally deficient. A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. Structurally deficient bridges are often posted for lower weight or closed to traffic, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks, school buses and emergency services vehicles.
  • In 2010, 10 percent of the nation’s rural bridges were rated as functionally obsolete. Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet current highway design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.
  • The chart below details the states with the highest share of rural bridges rated structurally deficient in 2010.  Rural bridge conditions for all states can be found in Appendix E.

 

stATE

Percent Structurally Deficient

Pennsylvania

28

Rhode Island

26

Oklahoma

23

Iowa

23

South Dakota

21

Nebraska

19

Missouri

18

North Dakota

17

Mississippi

16

Hawaii

16

New Hampshire

15

Maine

15

Louisiana

15

North Carolina

14

New York

14

Michigan

14

West Virginia

14

South Carolina

14

California

14

New Jersey

13

Transportation Opportunities in Rural America

America must adopt transportation policies that will improve rural transportation connectivity, safety and conditions to provide the nation’s small communities and rural areas with the a level of safe and efficient access that will support quality of life and enhance economic productivity.

The following recommendations by TRIP for an improved rural transportation system are also based partially on findings and recommendations made recently by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO),the National Highway Cooperative Research Program (NCHRP), the Council of State Governments (CSG) and the Ports-to-Plains Alliance

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

 

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

Improve rural traffic safety

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

Improve the condition of rural roads, highways and bridges

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

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

AEM President Dennis Slater: Congressional Action on Highway Bill Critical to American Jobs

Dennis Slater, AEM President

AEM President Dennis Slater today issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s comments on the highway bill:

Infrastructure investment is a critical job creator. Roads, highways and bridges aren’t funded or built a few months at a time. These critical projects require long-term planning. Extending a clean highway bill, as President Obama today called on Congress to do, provides America’s equipment manufacturers with the certainty they need to hire, contractors with the certainty they need to make capital investments in new equipment and employees, and the U.S economy with a badly needed growth engine. Failure to extend the highway bill would further endanger the already tenuous economic recovery America’s manufacturers are working so hard to strengthen. Rebuilding and modernizing our public infrastructure is a safety, economic and competitiveness issue that Congress has a serious responsibility to address.

Trip Reports: Recent Boosts In Missouri Transportation Funding Have Improved Roads And Bridges.

…But Conditions Will Decline Unless Impending Funding Cuts Are Reversed; Roadway Deficiencies Found To Cost State Motorists Billions

A new report finds that additional transportation funding has allowed Missouri to accelerate bridge repair and replacement, pavement improvements, and safety upgrades. However, deficiencies remain on Missouri’s surface transportation system and recent gains could be lost without continued support for transportation maintenance, improvement and expansion.

The report, “Future Mobility in Missouri: Meeting the State’s Needs for Safe and Efficient Mobility,” was released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC, based national transportation organization. According to the report, voter approval of Amendment 3 in 2004 allowed the state to recapture transportation funds that had been diverted to other programs and also allowed for the sale of $2 billion in bonds to undertake many needed projects. However, after steadily increasing since 2004, highway capital investment will soon plummet to pre-2000 levels, jeopardizing future transportation improvements and compromising the state’s ability to secure millions in federal matching funds for much-needed transportation projects. The TRIP report contains lists of needed road, bridge and transit projects that can not move forward without additional federal, state or local funding.

“With funding for our construction budget cut in half, we are facing a transportation crisis in Missouri,” said Missouri Department of Transportation Director Kevin Keith.  “We will soon be at risk of losing millions of dollars for state road and bridge projects because we’ll be unable to match federal funding.  Without additional funding for transportation, we won’t be able to deliver the projects that make our highways safer, create jobs and help grow our local communities.”

According to the TRIP report, despite recent improvements, Missouri ranks seventh in the nation in the share of bridges that are structurally deficient. Seventeen percent of the state’s bridges were structurally deficient in 2010 and an additional 12 percent were functionally obsolete. The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) projects a decrease of 300 structurally deficient and functionally obsolete MoDOT-owned bridges between 2008 and 2014, as a result of MoDOT’s Safe and Sound Bridge Improvement Program. However, without additional funding, those improvements will be wiped out by 2018, when MoDOT projects that the number of structurally deficient and functionally obsolete bridges will return to 2008 levels.

While the number of fatalities and crashes on the state’s roads has decreased in recent years, an average of 949 people lost their lives on Missouri’s roads each year between 2006 and 2010. The TRIP report also finds that the state’s rural, non-Interstate roads have a traffic fatality rate that is more than double that on all other roads in the state (1.73 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.83).

Fourteen percent of Missouri’s major state and locally maintained roads are in poor condition. In St. Louis, 18 percent of major roads and 38 percent of minor highways are in poor condition. Under current funding projections, the percentage of major state-maintained highways in good condition will drop significantly in the future.

In addition to deteriorating road and bridge conditions, Missouri’s roads are also becoming increasingly crowded and commuting and commerce are constrained by growing traffic congestion on major urban roads. In 2008, 44 percent of the state’s urban highways were congested during peak travel times.

TRIP estimates that Missouri’s roadways that lack some desirable safety features, have inadequate capacity to meet travel demands or have poor pavement conditions cost the state’s drivers approximately $4.4 billion annually in the form of traffic crashes, additional vehicle operating costs (VOC) and the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to traffic congestion. TRIP has calculated the cost to motorists of driving on roads that are deteriorated, congested and lack some desirable safety features in the St. Louis and Kansas City metro areas. The following chart shows the cost breakdown for these areas.

VOC Congestion Safety TOTAL
St, Louis $         416 $      772 $         182 $       1,370
Kansas City $         587 $      498 $         192 $       1,277
STATEWIDE $1.6 billion $1.4 billion $1.4 billion $4.4  billion

“Unless Missouri can find a way to raise the needed funds, the improvements made in recent years will be lost and many critically needed projects will remain stranded on the drawing board,” said Will Wilkins, executive director of TRIP. “It is critical that Missouri adequately fund its transportation system.  Thousands of jobs and the state’s economy are riding on it.”

FUTURE MOBILITY IN MISSOURI:

Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility
APRIL 2011

Executive Summary

Transportation is more than just driving on Missouri’s roads and bridges or using public transit.  It’s about receiving packages in a timely manner, easily grabbing groceries on the way home, or safety traveling across the state.  Transportation provides the connections that keep businesses up and running. It not only moves people, it makes the movement of goods and services possible and provides the state’s residents with a high quality of life.  The quality of Missouri’s extensive system of roads, highways, bridges and public transit has a significant impact on the level of safety and mobility of the state’s residents, visitors and businesses.

As the backbone that supports the Show Me State’s economy, Missouri’s transportation system affects each resident every day. It provides for travel to work and school, visits to family and friends, and trips to tourist and recreation attractions.  Transportation connects Missouri businesses with customers and the world.  It provides the goods and services people need each day and plays a role in every product manufactured and every customer businesses serve.

State and local investments in highway and bridge construction in Missouri support 21,653 direct and indirect jobs. On average, every dollar invested in the state’s five-year construction program generates about $4 in new economic activity. Transportation helps the state attract new businesses and retain existing ones, add and keep jobs, and build and maintain tax revenues.

With an unemployment rate of 9.1 percent and with the state’s population continuing to grow, Missouri must improve its system of roads, highways, bridges and public transit to foster economic growth and keep business in the state.  Highway accessibility is the second leading factor when companies choose locations (ranked just behind labor costs).  The Missouri Department of Economic Development has identified providing necessary infrastructure as one of its eight strategic initiatives for companies and communities to succeed.  In addition to economic growth, transportation improvements are needed to ensure safe, reliable mobility and quality of life for all Missourians.

Missouri has made progress in recent years in improving road and bridge conditions, largely as a result of transportation funding provided through voter approval of Amendment 3 in 2004. This legislation redirected revenue from the vehicle sales tax to road and bridge improvements and allowed the state to sell approximately $2 billion in bonds to undertake many needed highway transportation projects. However, this progress will be reversed in the coming years, as state spending on needed projects decreases sharply in the future and transportation spending in the state drops drastically.  As a result, Missouri will be able to move forward with fewer projects to modernize the state’s transportation system. And by 2017 the state will risk losing millions of dollars for transportation projects because it will be unable to provide the matching funds needed to obtain federal surface transportation dollars.  Additional funding will be needed if Missouri is to continue to improve its transportation system and maintain the progress made in recent years.

In addition to state funding, the federal government is an essential source of revenue for the ongoing modernization of Missouri’s roads, highways, bridges and transit. Approved in February 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provided approximately $637 million in stimulus funding for highway and bridge improvements and $85 million for public transit improvements in Missouri. (ARRA also included an estimated $22.5 million in Federal Transit Administration grants).  While this funding helped Missouri tackle some needed road, highway, bridge and transit improvements, it is not sufficient to allow the state to proceed with numerous projects needed to modernize its surface transportation system. Meeting Missouri’s need to maintain and improve its system of roads, highways, bridges and transit will require a significant, long-term boost in transportation funding at the federal, state and local levels.

The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act – A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), the current long-range federal surface transportation program,  was originally set to expire on Sept. 30, 2009. Following a series of short term extensions, the program now expires Sept. 30, 2011.  The level of funding and the provisions of a future federal surface transportation program will have a significant impact on future highway and bridge conditions and safety as well as the level of transit service in Missouri, which, in turn, will affect the state’s ability to keep its residents safe, improve their quality of life and enhance economic development opportunities.

Since 2004, Missouri has used funding made available by voter approval of Amendment 3 to make significant improvements to its highway transportation system. But that progress may be reversed as state spending on needed projects decreases sharply. An increase in federal, state and local transportation funding is necessary to continue to make needed improvements and maintain the progress made in recent years.

  • Voter approval of Amendment 3 in 2004 redirected revenue from the state’s vehicle sales tax that had been diverted to fund other programs in the state budget back to road and bridge improvements. It also allowed the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) to sell approximately $2 billion in bonds to undertake many needed projects.
  • Transportation spending in the state is set to drop drastically in the coming years when bond proceeds are no longer available. After steadily increasing since 2004, highway capital investment in the state is dropping to pre-2000 levels, leaving less funding available for projects to modernize, repair and improve safety on the state’s roads, highways and bridges.
  • By 2017, Missouri will be unable to provide state matching funds needed to obtain federal funds. As a result, Missouri will lose millions of federal dollars for much-needed transportation projects.
  • In addition to state transportation funding, the federal surface transportation program is an essential source of funding for the construction, maintenance and improvement of Missouri’s system of roads, highways, bridges and public transit.
  • Federal spending levels for highways and public transit are based on the current federal surface transportation program, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act – A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), which was approved by Congress in 2005.  Following a series of short-term extensions since its original expiration date of Sept. 30 2009, the SAFETEA-LU program expires on Sept. 30, 2011.
  • From 2000 to 2009, Missouri received approximately $8.4 billion in federal funding for road, highway and bridge improvements, and $1.1 billion for public transit, a total of approximately $9.5 billion.

An inadequate transportation system costs Missouri residents a total of $4.4 billion every year in the form of traffic crashes, additional vehicle operating costs (VOC) and congestion-related delays.

  • A lack of available transportation funding in the future is projected to lead to increasingly deteriorated road and bridge conditions and additional congestion in Missouri’s major urban areas. Without additional funds, the state will be unable to complete many needed transportation improvement projects.
  • TRIP estimates that Missouri’s roadways that lack some desirable safety features, have inadequate capacity to meet travel demands or have poor pavement conditions cost the state’s residents approximately $4.4 billion annually in the form of traffic crashes, additional vehicle operating costs and the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to traffic congestion.
  • TRIP has calculated the cost to Missouri’s residents of driving on roads that are deteriorated, congested and lack some desirable safety features in the St. Louis and Kansas City metro areas. The following chart shows the cost breakdown for these areas.

Without a substantial boost in federal or state highway funding, Missouri will be unable to complete numerous projects to improve the condition and expand the capacity of roads, bridges, highways and public transit, hampering the state’s ability to boost mobility, improve safety and to enhance economic development opportunities.

  • Needed projects in Missouri that would require a significant boost in federal or state funding to proceed include I-70/I-435 interchange improvements in Kansas City, corridor and safety improvements to I-44 in St. Louis, corridor improvements to US 60 in Springfield, improvements to the Downtown Loop in Kansas City, rebuilding and widening the I-70 and I-44 statewide corridors, replacing the MO 47 major bridge over the Missouri River in Washington, adding capacity to transit service in rural and urban parts of the state.  A list of needed projects is included in the report.
  • To ensure that federal funding for highways and bridges in Missouri and throughout the nation continues beyond the expiration of SAFETEA-LU, Congress needs to approve a new long-term federal surface transportation program by Sept. 30, 2011.
  • The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provided approximately $637 million in stimulus funding for highway and bridge improvements and $85 million for public transit improvements in Missouri. (ARRA also included an estimated $22.5 million in Federal Transit Administration grants.)

Population and economic growth in the Show Me State have resulted in increased demands on the state’s major roads and highways.

  • Missouri’s population reached approximately 6 million in 2009, an increase of 17 percent since 1990.  The state’s population is expected to grow another 14 percent by 2030.
  • Vehicle travel in Missouri increased 36 percent from 1990 to 2009 – jumping from 50.9 billion vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in 1990 to 69.0 billion VMT in 2009.
  • By 2025, vehicle travel in Missouri is projected to increase by another 40 percent.
  • From 1990 to 2009, Missouri’s gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 40 percent, when adjusted for inflation.
  • In 2010, Missouri’s 36 public transit systems provided 60 million rides.

Although Missouri road conditions have improved in recent years, without additional transportation funding, road conditions are projected to deteriorate in the next 15 years.

  • In 2008, 14 percent of Missouri’s major state and locally maintained roads were in poor 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 in need of repair cost each Missouri motorist an average of $380 annually in extra vehicle operating costs – $1.6 billion statewide.  Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
  • In Kansas City, 16 percent of major roads and nearly 40 percent of minor roads on the state system are in poor condition.  Driving on roads in need of repair costs each Kansas City motorist an average of $587 each year in the form of accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
  • Eighteen percent of St. Louis’ major roads and about 38 percent of minor highways are considered to be in poor condition.   It is estimated that this costs the average area driver $416 annually in extra vehicle operating costs as a result of driving on roads in need of repair.
  • Pavement conditions on state-maintained roads in Missouri have improved in recent years. However, unless additional funding is made available, MoDOT projects that the share of major and minor state-maintained roads in good condition will decrease significantly by 2024. The percentage of major state-maintained highways in good condition is projected to drop from 86 percent in 2010 to 70 percent in 2024, while the share of minor state-maintained roads in good condition will drop from 68 percent to 53 percent during the same time period.
  • The functional life of Missouri’s roads is greatly affected by the state’s ability to perform timely maintenance and upgrades to ensure that structures last as long as possible.  It is critical that roads are fixed before they require major repairs because reconstructing roads costs approximately four times more than resurfacing them.

Twenty-nine percent of bridges in Missouri show significant deterioration or do not meet current design standards.  This includes all bridges that are 20 feet or more in length and are maintained by state, local and federal agencies.  Missouri ranks seventh among states nationally in the percentage of bridges that are structurally deficient.

  • Seventeen percent of Missouri’s bridges were structurally deficient in 2010, the seventh highest rate nationally.  A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, superstructure or substructure or if the bridge was designed to carry light loads.  Structurally deficient bridges may be closed in some situations, but more often are posted for lower weight limits, which restricts or redirects larger vehicles, including commercial trucks, school buses and emergency services vehicles.
  • Twelve percent of Missouri’s bridges were functionally obsolete in 2010.  Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet current highway design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.
  • The state projects a decrease of about 300 structurally deficient and functionally obsolete MoDOT-owned bridges by 2014, as a result of MoDOT’s Safe and Sound Bridge Improvement Program. However, without long-term funding, those improvements will be wiped out by 2018, when MoDOT projects that the number of structurally deficient and functionally obsolete bridges will return to 2008 levels.
  • This report contains a list of needed bridge rehabilitation and replacement projects across the state that would require additional federal or state funding to be completed.

Improving safety features on Missouri’s roads and highways would likely result in a decrease in traffic fatalities in the state.  Roadway design is an important factor in approximately one-third of all fatal and serious traffic crashes.   Missouri’s rural traffic fatality rate is significantly greater than the fatality rate on all other roads in the state.

  • Between 2006 and 2010, 4,747 people were killed in traffic crashes in Missouri, an average of 949 fatalities per year.
  • Missouri’s traffic fatality rate was 1.16 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2010.
  • The traffic fatality rate in 2010 on Missouri’s non-Interstate rural roads was 1.73 traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel, which is more than two times higher than the 0.83 traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel on all other roads and highways in the state.
  • A disproportionate share of highway fatalities occur on Missouri’s rural, non-Interstate roads.  In 2010, 55 percent of traffic fatalities in Missouri occurred on rural, non-Interstate routes, while only 37 percent of vehicle travel in the state occurred on these roads.
  • The cost of serious traffic crashes in Missouri in 2009, in which roadway design was likely a contributing factor, was approximately $1.4 billion. The cost of serious crashes includes lost productivity, lost earnings, medical costs and emergency services.
  • In the Kansas City area, where there were 134 traffic fatalities in 2010, traffic crashes in which roadway design was likely a contributing factor cost the average driver approximately $192 per year.
  • Traffic crashes in the St. Louis area in which roadway design was likely a contributing factor cost the average driver approximately $182 per year. In 2010, there were 175 traffic fatalities the St. Louis area.
  • Several factors are associated with vehicle crashes that result in fatalities, including driver behavior, vehicle characteristics and roadway design.  It is estimated that roadway design is an important factor in one-third of fatal traffic accidents.
  • Where appropriate, highway improvements can reduce traffic fatalities and accidents while improving traffic flow to help relieve congestion.  Such improvements include removing or shielding obstacles; adding or improving medians; adding rumble strips, wider lanes, wider and paved shoulders; upgrading roads from two lanes to four lanes; and better road markings and traffic signals.
  • The Federal Highway Administration has found that every $100 million spent on needed highway safety improvements will result in 145 fewer traffic fatalities over a 10-year period.

Commerce and commuting in Missouri are constrained by growing traffic congestion, which will increase in the future unless additional highway and transit capacity is provided.

  • In 2008, 44 percent of the state’s urban highways carried a level of traffic likely to result in significant delays during peak travel hours.
  • The average rush hour trip in the Kansas City metropolitan area takes approximately ten percent longer to complete than during non-rush hour. Congestion related delays cost the average peak-hour driver in Kansas City $498 each year in lost time and wasted fuel.
  • The average rush hour trip in the St. Louis metropolitan area takes approximately 12 percent longer to complete than during non-rush hour.  Congestion related delays cost the average peak-hour driver in St. Louis $772 each year in lost time and wasted fuel.

The efficiency of Missouri’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy.  Businesses are increasingly reliant on an efficient and reliable transportation system to move products and services.  Expenditures on highway repairs create a significant number of jobs.

  • 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.
  • Every year, $226 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Missouri and another $234 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Missouri, mostly by trucks.  Seventy-two percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in Missouri are carried by trucks and another 14 percent are carried by parcel, U.S. Postal Service or courier services, which use trucks for part of their deliveries.
  • 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.

Two 2010 reports, one by the Treasury Department with the Council of Economic Advisers and the other by a bipartisan group of transportation experts, found that the U.S. is falling far behind internationally in providing a modern transportation system and will need to adopt a more ambitious and focused transportation program to maintain the nation’s standard of living.  The reports call for increased investment to relieve traffic congestion, improve freight and intermodal access, improve road and bridge conditions, improve traffic safety, and reduce emissions.

The reports found that now is an optimal time to invest in infrastructure because of reduced costs due to the economic downturn and that providing adequate resources to modernize the nation’s transportation system will require increased use of innovative funding tools including vehicle-miles-traveled fees, public-private partnerships and capital budgeting.

  • The report, “An Economic Analysis of Infrastructure Investment” (The Treasury report), was prepared by the U.S. Department of the Treasury with the Council of Economic Advisers.
  • The report, “Well Within Reach: America’s New Transportation Agenda” (The Miller report), was prepared by a group of the nation’s top transportation policy experts chaired by former U.S. Secretaries of Transportation, Samuel Skinner and Norman Mineta.  The group was assembled by the Miller Center at the University of Virginia to develop solutions for the funding and planning challenges that confront the nation’s transportation system.
  • The Miller report found that the U.S. faces an annual funding shortfall to maintain conditions and traffic congestion levels on its transportation system from between $134 and $194 billion and from between $189 and $262 billion to improve conditions and reduce traffic congestion.
  • The Treasury report found that U.S. infrastructure spending as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) has fallen by 50 percent and now accounts for two percent of the nation’s GDP.  In contrast, China spends about nine percent of its GDP on infrastructure and Europe about five percent.
  • The Treasury report found that now is an optimal time to invest in transportation infrastructure because well-designed projects can provide significant, long-term economic benefits, significant needs exist and construction and other costs associated with infrastructure projects are especially low because of high unemployment and a high level of underutilized resources.

Key recommendations of the reports include:

Program format:

  • Adopt an integrated approach to transportation planning that includes freight and goods movement and stresses intermodal connectivity (Miller).
  • Prioritize projects that provide the greatest returns in terms of future U.S. competitiveness, economic growth and employment (Miller).
  • Increase emphasis on urban congestion relief, including adding additional roadway and transit capacity, making the existing system work more efficiently and adopting regional policies that may reduce some travel demand (Miller).
  • Improve the delivery of transportation projects by reforming the project planning, permitting and review process to speed actual implementation (Miller).

Funding:

  • Establish a National Infrastructure Bank (NIB) that would create conditions for greater private sector co-investment in infrastructure.  The NIB would also perform rigorous analysis to identify projects with the greatest possible societal and economic benefits (Treasury).
  • Save the public money by investing adequately in transportation to reduce delays, vehicle maintenance costs, traffic crashes and vehicle emissions (Miller).
  • Adopt a federal capital budget that recognizes that transportation expenditures are an investment and that takes into account future returns on those investments (Miller).

All data used in the report is the latest available. Sources of information for this report include the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the Treasury Department, the Council of Economic Advisers, the U.S. Census, The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Reason Foundation and the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI).