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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).

TRIP Report: Oklahoma Transportation Funding Boost Provided For Needed Road And Bridge Improvements

…But Deficiencies Remain And Future Progress Depends On Sustained Transportation Funding

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

The report, Future Mobility in Oklahoma: Meeting the State’s Needs for Safe and Efficient Mobility,” was released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization. It finds that from 2006 to 2010, an additional $748 million was made available for road, highway and bridge repairs in Oklahoma as a result of state legislative action taken since 2006. An additional $1.1 billion is anticipated to be provided for roadways in the state from 2011 to 2015 as a result of state legislative decisions – a total of approximately $1.8 billion from 2006 to 2015.

These additional transportation funds have allowed the state to decrease the number of structurally deficient, state-maintained bridges by 32 percent from 2005 to 2010.  By 2015, the number of structurally deficient, state-maintained bridges is projected to decrease 57 percent from 2005 levels. Pavement rehabilitation and reconstruction has been accelerated on Oklahoma’s state-maintained roads. While 5,935 miles of roadway were in good condition in 2004, that number is projected to increase to 6,272 in 2010 and 6,556 in 2015. Since 2004, Oklahoma has experienced a net reduction of more than five percent in the number of miles of state-maintained roads deemed to be in poor condition, from 2,995 to 2,819. By 2015, the reduction is expected to be nearly 10 percent, with 2,722 miles of state-maintained highway rated in poor condition. Between 2006 and 2015, ODOT will have installed 436 total miles of cable-barrier, which will complete planned installations on Oklahoma’s Interstate system. It is imperative that Oklahoma’s transportation system continues to be adequately funded in the future if the state is to continue to improve the system and promote economic recovery and growth.

Despite the progress made in recent years, and the anticipated future improvements, significant deficiencies still exist on the state’s roads and bridges. The TRIP report finds that 18 percent of Oklahoma’s major roads are rated in poor condition and an additional 17 percent are in mediocre condition. In the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, 42 percent of major roads are rated in poor condition and an additional 23 percent are in mediocre condition.  The average Oklahoma City area driver loses $662 each year as a result of extra vehicle operating costs due to accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional vehicle repairs, increased fuel consumption and increased tire wear.

Oklahoma ranks second nationally among states with the highest share of its bridges rated structurally deficient.  This includes all bridges that are 20 feet or more in length and are maintained by state, local and federal agencies. Twenty-two percent of bridges in Oklahoma were structurally deficient in 2010 and an additional seven percent were functionally obsolete. In 2010, 12 percent of state-maintained bridges were structurally deficient and nine percent were functionally obsolete.

In addition to deteriorating road and bridge conditions, the state’s roads are also becoming increasingly crowded and commuting and commerce are constrained by growing traffic congestion on Oklahoma’s major urban roads. In 2008, 29 percent of the state’s urban highways were congested during peak travel times. The TRIP report also finds that Oklahoma’s rural, non-Interstate roads have a traffic fatality rate that is nearly three times higher than that on all other roads in the state.

“We applaud the commitment made by the Oklahoma legislature to repair our faltering roads and bridges,” said Bobby Stem, Executive Director of the Association of Oklahoma General Contractors.  “Obviously, with our high traffic counts, and the age of our major arteries and bridges, it is imperative we continue the work to make Oklahoma’s road infrastructure a model for the rest of the country.”

The federal surface transportation program remains a critical source of funding for road and bridge repairs and transit improvements in Oklahoma. The current program, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act – A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), originally scheduled to expire on September 30, 2009, now expires on September 30, 2011 following a series of short-term extensions.  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 Oklahoma.

“Unless Oklahoma can find a way to close the transportation funding shortfall, many critically needed projects will remain stranded on the drawing board,” said Will Wilkins, executive director of TRIP. “It is critical that Oklahoma adequately fund its transportation system and that Congress produces a timely and adequately funded federal surface transportation program.  Thousands of jobs and the state’s economy are riding on it.”

FUTURE MOBILITY IN OKLAHOMA:

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

Executive Summary

Oklahoma’s extensive system of roads, highways, bridges and public transit provides the state’s residents, visitors and businesses with a high level of mobility.  As the backbone that supports the Sooner State, Oklahoma’s surface transportation system provides for travel to work and school, visits with family and friends, and trips to tourist and recreation attractions, while simultaneously providing businesses with reliable access for customers, suppliers and employees.  Oklahoma must continue to make improvements in its system of roads, highways, bridges and passenger rail to foster economic growth, keep business in the state, and ensure the safe, reliable mobility needed to improve quality of life in Oklahoma.

As Oklahoma looks to rebound from the current recession, the state will need to enhance its surface transportation system by improving the physical condition of its transportation network and enhancing the system’s ability to provide efficient and reliable mobility for residents, visitors and businesses.  With unemployment in Oklahoma more than doubling from 3.2 percent in February 2008 to 6.5 percent in February 2011, making needed improvements to the state’s roads, highways, bridges and transit could provide a significant boost to Oklahoma’s economy by creating jobs and stimulating long-term economic growth as a result of enhanced mobility and access.

Approved in February 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided approximately $464.7 million in stimulus funding for highway and bridge improvements and

$39.2 million for public transit improvements in Oklahoma.  This funding has served as a down payment on needed road, highway, bridge and transit improvements, but it is not sufficient to allow the state to proceed with numerous projects needed to modernize its surface transportation system.  Meeting Oklahoma’s need to modernize and maintain its system of roads, highways, bridges and transit will require a significant, long-term boost in transportation funding at the federal, state or local levels.

Oklahoma has been able to make improvements to its surface transportation system in recent years due to an approximately $1.8 billion increase in transportation funding over the 2006 to 2015 period as a result of action taken by the state legislature. These additional funds have allowed the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) to rehabilitate and reconstruct roadways, improve bridge conditions and add critical safety features to the state’s roads. While this funding influx has been helpful, it is imperative that the state maintain the level of funding and continue to make transportation improvements a priority. Recent gains could be lost without continued support for transportation maintenance, improvement and expansion.

At the federal level, Congress is currently deliberating over a long-range federal surface transportation program.  The current program, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act – A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), originally scheduled to expire on September 30, 2009, now expires on September 30, 2011 following a series of short-term extensions.  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 Oklahoma, which, in turn, will affect the state’s ability to improve its residents’ quality of life and enhance economic development opportunities.

In recent years ODOT has been able to accelerate bridge repair and replacement, pavement improvements, and safety upgrades as a result of additional funding provided by the state legislature; however, significant deficiencies still remain. It is imperative that Oklahoma’s transportation system continues to be adequately funded in the future if the state is to continue to improve the system and promote economic recovery and growth.

  • From 2006 to 2010, an additional $748 million was made available for road, highway and bridge repairs in Oklahoma as a result of state legislative action taken since 2006.
  • An additional $1.1 billion is anticipated to be provided for roadways in the state from 2011 to 2015 as a result of state legislative decisions – a total of approximately $1.8 billion from 2006 to 2015.
  • ODOT has been able to significantly increase the number of state-maintained bridges rehabilitated or replaced since 2005. Additional transportation funds have allowed the state to decrease the number of structurally deficient, state-maintained bridges by 32 percent, dropping from 1,168 in 2005 to 797 in 2010.  By 2015, the number of structurally deficient, state-maintained bridges is projected to decrease to 504, a 57 percent reduction from 2005 levels.
  • In 2005, 149 state-maintained bridges were posted or weight restricted. Additional funds have allowed ODOT to decrease that number to 40 bridges in 2010. By 2014, ODOT projects that the number of posted or weight restricted state-maintained bridges will decrease to zero.
  • Pavement rehabilitation and reconstruction has been accelerated in recent years, improving the condition of Oklahoma’s state-maintained roadways. While 5,935 miles of roadway were in good condition in 2004, that number is projected to increase to 6,272 in 2010 and 6,556 in 2015.
  • The number of miles of Oklahoma’s state-maintained roadways in poor condition has decreased in recent years and will continue to drop. Since 2004, Oklahoma has experienced a net reduction of more than five percent in the number of miles of roads deemed to be in poor condition, from 2,995 to 2,819. By 2015, the reduction is expected to be nearly 10 percent, with 2,722 miles of state-maintained highway rated in poor condition.
  • Between 2006 and 2015, ODOT will have installed 436 total miles of cable-barrier, which will complete planned installations on Oklahoma’s Interstate system.
  • The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provided approximately $464.7 million in stimulus funding for highway and bridge improvements and $39.2 million for public transit improvements in Oklahoma.
  • ARRA funding has served as a down payment on needed road, highway, bridge and transit improvements, but the boost was not sufficient to allow the state to proceed with numerous projects needed to modernize its surface transportation system.  Meeting Oklahoma’s need to modernize and maintain its system of roads, highways, bridges and transit will require a significant, long-term boost in transportation funding at the federal, state or local levels.
  • To ensure that federal funding for highways and bridges in Oklahoma and throughout the nation continues beyond the expiration of SAFETEA-LU, Congress needs to approve a new long-term federal surface transportation program by September 30, 2011.

Despite the recession, population increases and economic growth in Oklahoma over the past two decades have resulted in increased demands on the state’s major roads and highways.

  • Oklahoma’s population reached 3.7 million in 2009, an increase of 17 percent since 1990.  The state’s population is expected to grow to 3.9 million by 2025.
  • Vehicle travel in Oklahoma increased 42 percent from 1990 to 2009 – from 33.1 billion vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in 1990 to 47 billion VMT in 2009.
  • By 2025, vehicle travel in Oklahoma is projected to increase by another 35 percent.
  • From 1990 to 2009, Oklahoma’s gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 62 percent, when adjusted for inflation, higher than the national average of 52 percent.

In 2008, more than a third of major roads in Oklahoma were in poor or mediocre condition, providing motorists with a rough ride.

  • In 2008, 18 percent of Oklahoma’s major roads were rated in poor condition and 17 percent were rated in mediocre condition.  This includes Interstates, highways, connecting urban arterials and key urban streets that are maintained by state, county or municipal 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.  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.
  • Roads in need of repair cost each Oklahoma motorist an average of $425 annually in extra vehicle operating costs – $978 million statewide.  Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
  • In the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, where 42 percent of major roads are rated in poor condition and 23 percent are rated in mediocre condition, driving on roads in need of repair costs motorists $662 each year in extra vehicle operating costs. This is the seventh highest cost per driver among U.S. urban areas with a population of 500,000 or more.
  • In the Tulsa metropolitan area, where 36 percent of major roads are rated in poor condition and 26 percent are rated in mediocre condition, driving on roads in need of repair costs motorists $610 each year in extra vehicle operating costs. This is the twelfth highest cost per driver among U.S. urban areas with a population of 500,000 or more.
  • The functional life of Oklahoma’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.

Despite the recent improvement in the condition of state-maintained bridges, Oklahoma ranks second nationally among states with the highest share of its bridges rated structurally deficient.  This includes all bridges that are 20 feet or more in length and are maintained by state, local and federal agencies.

  • Twenty-two percent of bridges in Oklahoma were structurally deficient in 2010 (twelve percent of state-maintained bridges were rated structurally deficient in 2010).  A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components.  These properties have a major bearing in qualifying a bridge for federal bridge replacement or rehabilitation funds.
  • Seven percent of bridges in Oklahoma were functionally obsolete in 2010 (nine percent of state-maintained 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.
  • Bridges that are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete are safe for travel and are monitored on a regular basis by the organizations responsible for maintaining them.

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

  • Between 2005 and 2009, 3,821 people were killed in traffic accidents in Oklahoma, an average of 764 fatalities per year.
  • Oklahoma’s traffic fatality rate was 1.57 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2009, 38 percent higher than the national average of 1.14 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel.
  • The traffic fatality rate in 2009 on Oklahoma’s non-Interstate rural roads was 2.71 traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel, which is nearly three times the traffic fatality rate of 0.96 on all other roads and highways in the state.
  • A disproportionate share of fatalities takes place on Oklahoma’s non-Interstate rural roads. Approximately 60 percent of fatalities take place on rural roads, although they account for only 35 percent of vehicle travel in the state.
  • Several factors are associated with vehicle accidents that result in fatalities, including driver behavior, vehicle characteristics and roadway design.
  • TRIP estimates that roadway characteristics, such as lane widths, lighting, signage and the presence or absence of guardrails, paved shoulders, traffic lights, rumble strips, obstacle barriers, turn lanes, median barriers and pedestrian or bicycle facilities, are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of all fatal and serious traffic crashes.
  • 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.

Increases in population and vehicle travel in Oklahoma have led to additional traffic congestion in the state’s urban areas.

  • In 2008, 29 percent of Oklahoma’s urban Interstates and other highways or freeways were considered congested, carrying a level of traffic that is likely to result in significant delays during peak travel hours.
  • The average rush hour trip in the Oklahoma City metro area takes approximately nine percent longer to complete than during non-rush hour. In the Tulsa area, rush hour trips take seven percent longer to complete than during non-rush hour.
  • Drivers in the Oklahoma City area lose $575 each year due to lost time and wasted fuel as a result of congestion. Each Tulsa area driver loses $407 per year due to congestion.

The efficiency of Oklahoma’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.

  • Annually, $117 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Oklahoma and another $135 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Oklahoma, mostly by trucks.
  • Eighty percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in Oklahoma are carried by trucks and another six percent are carried by parcel, U.S. Postal Service or courier services, which use trucks for part of the 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.
  • The Federal Highway Administration estimates that each dollar spent on road, highway and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 on the form of reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffic flow.

Sources of information for this report include the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT), the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), 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).  All data used in the report is the latest available.

TRIP Report: Deficient Roads Cost Ohio Drivers $6.5 Billion Statewide Per Year; Congested, Deteriorated Roads Hamper Economic Growth And Stall Recovery

A new report released by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation research organization, today in four Ohio cities finds that that roads are congested, deteriorated or lack some desirable safety features and cost the average area motorist in Columbus $835 each year; in Cleveland the average cost per motorist is $915 each year; in Cincinnati it’s $933; and in Toledo it’s$860, a total of $6.5 billion statewide. The report finds that 26 percent of Ohio’s major roads are in need of repair, 24 percent of its bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, 45 percent of the state’s urban highways are congested, and Ohio’s rural traffic fatality rate is nearly four and a half times that of all other roads in the state.

According to the TRIP report, “Future Mobility in Ohio: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility,” nine percent of Ohio’s major roads are rated in poor condition and an additional 17 percent are in mediocre condition. In the Columbus metro area, 22 percent of major roads are in either poor or mediocre condition; in Cleveland it’s 41%; in Cincinnati it’s 39%; and in Toledo it’s 32 percent. Ten percent of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient and 14 percent are functionally obsolete. These bridges are inspected regularly and are safe for travel, but many are in need of rehabilitation.  In addition to deteriorating road and bridge conditions, the state’s roads are also becoming increasingly crowded, as commuting and commerce are constrained by growing traffic congestion on Ohio’s major urban highways. In 2008, 45 percent of the state’s urban highways were congested during peak travel times. And, although the state’s overall traffic fatality rate of 0.92 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel (VMT) in 2009 was lower than the national average of 1.14 fatalities per 100 million VMT, the TRIP report finds that Ohio’s rural, non-Interstate roads have a traffic fatality rate that is nearly four and a half times higher than that on all other roads in the state (2.20 vs. 0.50 fatalities per 100 million VMT).

TRIP estimates that Ohio’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 $6.5 billion annually in the form of the financial cost of traffic crashes, additional vehicle operating costs (VOC) due to driving on deteriorated roads and time and fuel lost due to congestion-related delays.

The TRIP report also includes data and cost breakdowns for Ohio’s six largest metropolitan areas.

Without a substantial boost in transportation funding, Ohio will be unable to complete numerous projects to improve the condition and expand the capacity of roads, bridges and public transit systems, hampering the state’s ability to improve mobility and to enhance economic development opportunities. Increased investment in Ohio’s transportation infrastructure could improve road and bridge conditions, ease congestion, enhance safety and support long-term economic growth.

“The data in the new report underscores how businesses in Ohio need well-maintained transportation systems to be successful,” said Janet Kavinoky, vice president of Americans for Transportation Mobility, a coalition of national business and labor organizations. “Improving roads, maintaining bridges, and expanding transit options will save the state’s employers billions and help create thousands of new jobs.”

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 surface transportation program, which expires on September 30, 2011, remains a critical source of funding for road and bridge repairs and transit improvements in Ohio.

“Ohio’s deficient transportation system is hitting the state’s drivers in the wallet at a time when many can ill afford it. It is much more cost effective to invest in building a sound transportation system than to pass along the cost of a deteriorated system to the state’s motorists,” said Will Wilkins, executive director of TRIP. “It is critical that Ohio adequately fund its transportation system and that Congress produces a timely and adequately funded federal surface transportation program.  Thousands of jobs and the state’s economy are riding on it.”

FUTURE MOBILITY IN OHIO:

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

Executive Summary

Ohio’s extensive system of roads, highways, bridges and public transit provides the state’s residents, visitors and businesses with a high level of mobility.  As the backbone that supports the Buckeye State, Ohio’s surface transportation system provides for travel to work and school, visits with family and friends, and trips to tourist and recreation attractions while simultaneously providing businesses with reliable access for customers, suppliers and employees.  Ohio must improve its system of roads, highways, bridges and public transit to foster economic growth, keep business in the state, and ensure the safe, reliable mobility needed to improve quality of life in Ohio.

As Ohio looks to recover from the recent recession, the state will need to enhance its surface transportation system by improving the physical condition of its transportation network and enhancing the system’s ability to provide efficient and reliable mobility for residents, visitors and businesses. Ohio’s unemployment rate jumped from 5.6 percent in February 2008 to 10.6 percent in February 2010 before decreasing to 9.2 percent in February 2011. Making needed improvements to the state’s roads, highways, bridges and transit could provide a significant boost to the state’s economic recovery by creating jobs and stimulating long-term economic growth as a result of enhanced mobility and access.

The federal government is an essential source of funding for the ongoing modernization of Ohio’s roads, highways, bridges and transit. Approved in February 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided approximately $935.7 million in stimulus funding for highway and bridge improvements and $179.8 million for public transit improvements in Ohio.  This funding can serve as a down payment on needed road, highway, bridge and transit improvements, but it is not sufficient to allow the state to proceed with numerous projects needed to modernize its surface transportation system.  Meeting Ohio’s need to modernize and maintain 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.

Congress is currently deliberating over a long-range federal surface transportation program.  The current program, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act – A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), originally scheduled to expire on September 30, 2009, now expires on September 30, 2011 following several short-term extensions.  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 Ohio, which, in turn, will affect the state’s ability to improve its residents’ quality of life and enhance economic development opportunities.

Insufficient roads cost the state’s drivers a total of $6.5 billion every year in the form of traffic crashes, additional vehicle operating costs (VOC) and congestion-related delays. Without a substantial increase in transportation funding at the local, state and federal levels, Ohio will see deteriorated road and bridge conditions, increased urban congestion and lost opportunities for economic growth.

  • A lack of available transportation funding in the future could lead to more deteriorated road and bridge conditions and increased congestion in the state’s major urban areas. TRIP estimates that Ohio’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 $6.5 billion annually in the form of traffic crashes, additional vehicle operating costs (VOC) and congestion-related delays.
  • TRIP has calculated the annual cost per motorists of driving on roads that are deteriorated, congested and lack some desirable safety features in Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Toledo. The following chart shows the cost breakdown for each of these areas and the statewide costs.

  • To ensure that federal funding for highways and bridges in Ohio and throughout the nation continues beyond the expiration of SAFETEA-LU, Congress needs to approve a new long-term federal surface transportation program by September 30, 2011.
  • The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provides approximately $935.7 million in stimulus funding for highway and bridge improvements and $179.8 million for public transit improvements in Ohio.
  • ARRA funding can serve as a down payment on needed road, highway, bridge and transit improvements, but it is not sufficient to allow the state to proceed with numerous projects needed to modernize its surface transportation system.  Meeting Ohio’s need to modernize and maintain 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.

Despite the recession, population increases and economic growth in Ohio over the past two decades have resulted in increased demands on the state’s major roads and highways.

  • Ohio’s population reached 11.5 million in 2009, an increase of six percent since 1990.
  • Vehicle travel in Ohio increased 27 percent from 1990 to 2009 – from 87 billion vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in 1990 to 111 billion VMT in 2009.
  • From 1990 to 2009, Ohio’s gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 26 percent, when adjusted for inflation.

Traffic congestion levels are rising as a result of population and economic growth, leading to increasing travel delays in Ohio’s urban areas.

  • In 2008, 45 percent of Ohio’s urban Interstates and other highways or freeways were considered congested, carrying a level of traffic that is likely to result in delays during peak travel hours.
  • Travel delays in Ohio’s largest urban areas are mounting. The chart below details the current travel time index for each urban area. Travel time index (TTI) measures the amount of additional time it takes to complete a rush hour trip. For example, a travel time index of 1.15 means that the average rush hour trip takes 15 percent longer to complete than during non-rush times.

In 2008, more than a quarter of major roads in Ohio were in poor or mediocre condition, providing motorists with a rough ride. This includes Interstates, highways, connecting urban arterials and key urban streets that are maintained by state, county or municipal governments.

  • In 2008, nine percent of Ohio’s major roads were rated in poor condition and 17 percent were rated in mediocre 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.
  • Roads in need of repair cost Ohio motorist $1.7 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs.  Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
  • In addition to statewide pavement conditions, TRIP has calculated pavement conditions on major roads in the state’s largest urban areas. The chart below details the percentage of major roads in poor, mediocre, fair and good condition in Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo and statewide.

  • The functional life of Ohio’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.

Nearly a quarter of bridges in Ohio showed significant deterioration or did not meet current design standards in 2010.  This includes all bridges that are 20 feet or more in length and are maintained by state, local and federal agencies.

  • Ten percent of Ohio’s bridges were structurally deficient in 2010.  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.
  • Fourteen percent of Ohio’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.
  • Bridges that are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete are safe for travel and are monitored on a regular basis by the organizations responsible for maintaining them.

Ohio’s rural traffic fatality rate is nearly four and a half times higher than the fatality rate on all other roads in the state.  Improving safety features on Ohio’s roads and highways would likely result in a decrease in traffic fatalities in the state.  Roadway characteristics are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of all fatal and serious traffic accidents.

  • Between 2005 and 2009, 6,025 people were killed in traffic accidents in Ohio, an average of 1,205 fatalities per year.
  • Ohio’s traffic fatality rate was 0.92 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2009, lower than the national average of 1.14 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel.
  • The traffic fatality rate in 2009 on Ohio’s non-Interstate rural roads was 2.20 traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel, which is nearly four and a half times higher than the traffic fatality rate of 0.50 on all other roads and highways in the state.
  • Several factors are associated with vehicle accidents that result in fatalities, including driver behavior, vehicle characteristics and roadway design.
  • TRIP estimates that roadway characteristics, such as lane widths, lighting, signage and the presence or absence of guardrails, paved shoulders, traffic lights, rumble strips, obstacle barriers, turn lanes, median barriers and pedestrian or bicycle facilities, are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of all fatal and serious traffic crashes.
  • 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.

The efficiency of Ohio’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.  Increases in the cost of highway construction materials have boosted the cost of road, highway and bridge repairs.

  • Annually, $563 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Ohio and another $493 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Ohio, mostly by trucks.
  • Seventy-eight percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in Ohio by value are carried by trucks and another 12 percent are carried by parcel, U.S. Postal Service or courier services, which use trucks for part of the 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.
  • 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.

Surface transportation projects that improve the efficiency, condition or safety of a highway or transit route provide significant economic benefits by reducing transportation delays and costs associated with a deficient transportation system.  Following are some of the benefits of making transportation improvements.

  • 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.
  • The creation of both short-term and long-term jobs.
  • Transportation projects that expand roadway or transit 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 provide significant economic benefits by improving travel speeds, capacity, load-carrying 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.
  • Site Selection magazine’s 2010 survey of corporate real estate executives found that transportation infrastructure was the third most important selection factor in making site location decisions, behind only work force skills and state and local taxes.

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 two 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 two 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:

  • Transition from utilizing a user fee on motor fuel consumption as the primary source of transportation funding to a user fee based on miles driven (Miller).
  • Establish a National Infrastructure Bank (NIB) that would create conditions for greater private sector co-investment in infrastructure.  An 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).

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

TRIP Report: Maryland With Focus On Baltimore And Washington DC

Deficient Roads Cost Each Baltimore And Washington, D.C. Driver More Than $2,200 Per Year; Needed Road, Bridge And Transit Projects Stalled Due To Insufficient Transportation Funding

A new report examining Maryland’s transportation system finds that roads that are congested, deteriorated and not as safe as they could be cost the average Baltimore area motorist $2,226 each year, while Washington, D.C. drivers lose $2,296 annually – a total of $7 billion statewide. The report, released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization, finds that 44 percent of Maryland’s major roads are in need of repair, more than a quarter of bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, more than half of the state’s urban roads are congested, and Maryland’s rural traffic fatality rate is more than double that of all other roads in the state.

According to the TRIP report, Future Mobility in Maryland: Meeting the State’s Needs for Safe and Efficient Mobility 26 percent of Maryland’s major roads are rated in poor condition and an additional 18 percent are in mediocre condition. Seven percent of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient and 19 percent are functionally obsolete. These bridges are inspected regularly and are safe for travel, but many are in need of rehabilitation. In addition to deteriorating road and bridge conditions, the state’s roads are also becoming increasingly crowded, as commuting and commerce are constrained by growing traffic congestion on Maryland’s major urban roads. In 2008, 55 percent of the state’s urban highways were congested during peak travel times – the eighth highest rate in the nation. The TRIP report also finds that Maryland’s rural, non-Interstate roads have a traffic fatality rate that is nearly two and a half times higher than that on all other roads in the state.

TRIP estimates that Maryland’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 $7 billion annually in the form of traffic crashes, additional vehicle operating costs and congestion-related delays. In the Washington, D.C. metro area this cost is $2,296 per motorist each year, while the average Baltimore driver loses $2,226 annually.

VOC Congestion Safety TOTAL
Baltimore $         603 $      1,218 $         405 $       2,226
Washington, DC $         462 $      1,555 $         279 $       2,296
STATEWIDE $1.6 billion $3.8 billion $1.6 billion $7  billion

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

Increased investment in Maryland’s transportation infrastructure could improve road and bridge conditions, ease congestion, enhance safety and support long-term economic growth. Numerous projects throughout the state are needed, but can not move forward under current funding conditions. These projects include, but are not limited to, the following: improvements to the I-95/I-495 Interchange; widening portions of I-70 and I-695; constructing a new bridge over I-270 in Gaithersburg; widening the American Legion Bridge; implementing new transit lines (rail or bus rapid transit); and installing various pedestrian and bike trails throughout the state.

“Congestion costs Marylanders thousands of dollars and thousands of hours in time lost each year,” said Kathleen T. Snyder, CCE, president and CEO of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce.  “Commuters, businesses and families are joining together to support a constitutional amendment to restore trust in our Transportation Trust Fund so that we can adequately fund the road, highway, bridge and transit projects we need to move safely and efficiently through our State.”

The federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided approximately $431 million in stimulus funding for highway and bridge improvements and $179 million for public transit improvements in Maryland.  This funding has served as an important down payment on needed road, highway, bridge and transit improvements but is not sufficient to allow the state to proceed with numerous projects needed to modernize its surface transportation system. The federal surface transportation program, which expires on March 4, 2011, remains a critical source of funding for road and bridge repairs and transit improvements in Maryland.

“Maryland’s deficient transportation system is hitting the state’s drivers in the wallet at a time when many can ill afford it. It is much more cost effective to invest in building a sound transportation system than to pass along the cost of a deteriorated system to the state’s motorists,” said Will Wilkins, executive director of TRIP. “It is critical that Maryland adequately fund its transportation system and that Congress produces a timely and adequately funded federal surface transportation program.  Thousands of jobs and the state’s economy are riding on it.”

FUTURE MOBILITY IN MARYLAND:

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

Executive Summary

Maryland’s extensive system of roadways, bridges and public transit provides the state’s residents, visitors and businesses with a high level of mobility.  As the backbone that supports the Old Line State’s economy, Maryland’s surface transportation system provides for travel to work and school, visits with family and friends, and trips to tourist and recreation attractions while simultaneously providing businesses with reliable access for customers, suppliers and employees.  With an unemployment rate of 7.4 percent in December 2010, and with the state’s population continuing to grow, Maryland must improve its system of roads, bridges and public transit to foster economic growth, keep business in the state, and ensure the safe, reliable mobility needed to improve the quality of life for all residents.

As Maryland looks to rebound from the recession, the state will need to enhance its surface transportation system by improving the physical condition of its transportation network and enhancing the system’s ability to provide efficient and reliable mobility for residents, visitors and businesses.  Making needed improvements to Maryland’s roads, highways, bridges and transit could provide a significant boost to the state’s economy by creating jobs and stimulating long-term economic growth as a result of enhanced mobility and access.

The federal government is an essential source of funding for the ongoing modernization of Maryland’s surface transportation system.  But the potential for declines in federal transportation revenues will make it more difficult for the state to maintain and improve its surface transportation system.

Approved in February 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided approximately $566 million in stimulus funding for transportation;  $414 million for highway and bridge improvements and $152 million for public transit improvements in Maryland.  This funding can serve as a down payment on needed road, highway, bridge and transit improvements, but it is not sufficient to allow the state to proceed with numerous projects needed to modernize its surface transportation system.  Meeting Maryland’s need to improve and maintain its system of roads, highways, bridges and transit will require a significant, long-term boost in transportation funding at the federal, state or local levels.

Congress is currently deliberating over a long-range federal surface transportation program, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act – A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU).  SAFETEA-LU was originally set to expire on September 30, 2009. Following a series of short term extensions, the current program now expires March 4, 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 Maryland, which, in turn, will affect the state’s ability to improve its residents’ quality of life and enhance economic development opportunities.

Insufficient roads cost Maryland’s drivers a total of $7 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 more deteriorated road and bridge conditions and increased congestion in Maryland’s major urban areas. Without additional funds, the state will be unable to complete many needed transportation improvement projects.
  • TRIP estimates that Maryland’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 $7 billion annually in the form of traffic crashes, additional vehicle operating costs and congestion-related delays.
  • TRIP has calculated the cost to motorists of driving on roads that are deteriorated, congested and lack some desirable safety features in the Baltimore and Washington, DC metro areas. The following chart shows the cost breakdown for these areas.
VOC Congestion Safety TOTAL
Baltimore $         603 $      1,218 $         405 $       2,226
Washington, DC $         462 $      1,555 $         279 $       2,296
STATEWIDE $1.6 billion $3.8 billion $1.6 billion $7  billion

Without a substantial boost in transportation funding, Maryland 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 improve mobility and to enhance economic development opportunities in the state.

  • Numerous projects throughout the state are needed, but can not move forward under current funding conditions. These projects include, but are not limited to, the following: improvements to the I-95/I-495 Interchange; widening portions of I-70 and I-695; constructing a new bridge on Watkins Mill Road over I-270 in Gaithersburg; widening the I-495American Legion Bridge; implementing new transit lines (such as the red line and purple line); and installing various pedestrian and bike trails throughout the state.
  • 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, the SAFETEA-LU program expires on March 4, 2011.
  • To ensure that federal funding for highways and bridges in Maryland and throughout the nation continues beyond the expiration of SAFETEA-LU, Congress needs to approve a new long-term federal surface transportation program by March 4, 2011.
  • The Federal Highway Administration estimates that each dollar spent on roads, highway and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 in the form of decreased vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, lower fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffic flow.

Population and economic growth in the Old Line State have resulted in increased demands on the state’s major roadways and transit systems.

  • Maryland’s population reached 5.7 million in 2009, an increase of 19 percent since 1990.  The state’s population is expected to grow another 25 percent by 2030.
  • Vehicle travel in Maryland increased 36 percent from 1990 to 2008 – jumping from 40.5 billion vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in 1990 to 55 billion VMT in 2008.
  • By 2025, vehicle travel in Maryland is projected to increase by another 30 percent.
  • From 1990 to 2009, Maryland’s gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 54 percent, when adjusted for inflation.

Traffic congestion levels are rising as a result of population and economic growth. Traffic congestion can be relieved by projects that increase the efficiency and expand the capacity of a region’s system of roads, highways and public transit.

  • In 2008, Maryland was ranked eighth in the nation in the share of congested urban Interstates and other highways or freeways, with 55 percent of the state’s urban highways carrying a level of traffic that is likely to result in significant delays during peak travel hours.
  • The average rush hour trip in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, which includes a significant portion of Maryland’s population, takes approximately 30 percent longer to complete than during non-rush hour.
  • The average rush hour trip in the Baltimore metropolitan area takes approximately 17 percent longer to complete than during non-rush hour.
  • Travel delays are more than just a nuisance for drivers. Congestion costs the average Baltimore motorist $1,218 each year in lost time and wasted fuel, the fifth highest level in the nation. The average Washington, DC driver loses $1,555 per year in lost time and wasted fuel as a result of congestion, the second highest level in the nation.

In 2008, 44 percent of major roads in Maryland were in poor or mediocre condition, providing motorists with a rough ride. This includes Interstates, highways, connecting urban arterials and key urban streets that are maintained by state, county or municipal governments.

  • In 2008, 26 percent of Maryland’s roads were rated in poor condition and 18 percent were rated in mediocre 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.
  • Roads in need of repair cost each Maryland motorist an average of $422 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 the Baltimore area, where 46 percent of major roads are in poor condition and an additional 23 percent are in mediocre condition, driving on roads in need of repair costs the average motorist $603 per year.
  • In the Washington, DC metro area, which includes the Maryland suburbs, 31 percent of major roads are in poor condition and 29 percent are in mediocre condition, costing area drivers $462 each year.
  • The functional life of Maryland’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-five percent of bridges in Maryland 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.

  • Seven percent of Maryland’s bridges were structurally deficient in 2010.  A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components.  When necessary, structurally deficient bridges are posted for lower weight or closed to traffic, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks, school buses and emergency services vehicles.
  • Eighteen percent of Maryland’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.

Maryland’s rural traffic fatality rate is significantly greater than the fatality rate on all other roads in the state.  Improving safety features on Maryland’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 accidents.

  • Between 2004 and 2008, 3,114 people were killed in traffic accidents in Maryland, an average of 623 fatalities per year.  Traffic fatalities declined to 550 in 2009.
  • Maryland’s traffic fatality rate was 1.07 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2008.
  • The traffic fatality rate in 2008 on Maryland’s non-Interstate rural roads was 2.08 traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel, which is nearly two-and-a-half times higher than the traffic fatality rate on all other roads and highways in the state (0.84).
  • The cost of serious traffic crashes in which roadway design was likely a contributing factor was approximately $1.6 billion in Maryland in 2008. In the Baltimore metro area, the cost of traffic crashes totals $405 per motorist. And in the Washington, DC metro area, traffic crashes cost each driver $279 per year. The cost of serious crashes includes lost productivity, lost earnings, medical costs and emergency services.
  • Several factors are associated with vehicle accidents 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 efficiency of Maryland’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.

  • Annually, $131 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Maryland and another $204 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Maryland, mostly by trucks.
  • Eighty-one percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in Maryland are carried by trucks and another 13 percent are carried by by parcel, U.S. Postal Service or courier services, which use trucks for part of the deliveries.
  • The tonnage of freight transported into, out of, within, and through Maryland is estimated to increase by about 105 percent from 2006 levels by 2035.
  • The provision of adequate freight mobility in the state is threatened by a lack of double-stack rail capacity, a shortage of truck parking, increasing demand on rural highway corridors, urban interchange bottlenecks and a need for improved intermodal connections.
  • 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 findings of the two reports were also supported by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, in its recommendations for a future federal surface transportation program, which calls for a significant expansion of transit capacity and ridership.

  • 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 two 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 and AASHTO 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).
  • Establish a national goal of doubling transit ridership by 2030 as a way to relieve traffic congestion, conserve fuel, reduce emissions and support emergency preparedness (AASHTO).

Funding:

  • Transition from utilizing a user fee on motor fuel consumption as the primary source of transportation funding to a user fee based on miles driven (Miller).
  • Establish a National Infrastructure Bank (NIB) that would create conditions for greater private sector co-investment in infrastructure.  An 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).

Sources of information for this report include the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT),the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA), 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 American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO),  the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI).  All data used in the report is the latest available.

TRIP Report: Nebraska Faces $1.1 Billion Transportation Funding Shortfall Over Five Years

Nebraska faces $1.1 billion transportation funding shortfall over five years; road and bridge conditions face increasing deterioration without additional funding

Deficient roads cost each Omaha driver more than $1,100 per year

A new report finds that Nebraska faces a $1.1 billion transportation-funding shortfall over the next five years. This is at a time when nearly a quarter of the state’s major roads are in need of repair, more than a quarter of bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, congestion is increasing and the rural traffic fatality rate is more than four times higher than on all other roads in the state. The report, released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization, finds that roadways that lack some desirable safety features, have inadequate capacity to meet travel demands or have poor pavement conditions cost the state’s motorists more than $1 billion annually and the average Omaha area motorist pays $1,113 each year.

The report, “Future Mobility in Nebraska: Meeting the State’s Needs for Safe and Efficient Mobility,” finds that the state’s lack of sufficient transportation funding will lead to deteriorated road and bridge conditions, increased urban congestion, a lack of desirable safety features and lost opportunities for economic growth. Data provided by the Nebraska Department of Roads (NDOR) shows that under current funding conditions, by 2020, the number of state-maintained miles of roadway (not including Interstates) in very good condition will be cut in half, and the number of miles in poor or very poor condition will increase more than three and a half times. NDOR also projects that the lack of transportation funding will lead to a 43 percent increase in the number of structurally deficient state-maintained bridges between 2010 and 2020.

The TRIP report finds that seven percent of Nebraska’s major roads are rated in poor condition and an additional 16 percent are in mediocre condition. Nineteen percent of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient and seven percent are functionally obsolete. These bridges are inspected regularly and are safe for travel, but many are in need of rehabilitation.

In addition to deteriorating road and bridge conditions, the state’s roads are also becoming increasingly crowded, as commuting and commerce are constrained by growing traffic congestion on Nebraska’s major urban roads. In 2008, 30 percent of the state’s urban highways were congested during peak travel times. The TRIP report also finds that Nebraska’s rural, non-Interstate roads have a traffic fatality rate that is more than four times higher than that on all other roads in the state. Increased investment in the state’s transportation infrastructure could improve road and bridge conditions, ease congestion, enhance safety and support long-term economic growth.  The TRIP report contains a list of needed transportation projects throughout the state that would repair and replace deficient bridges and increase roadway capacity.  However, these projects won’t move forward without additional transportation funding.

“There are very limited funds available for needed capacity or safety improvements, and there are virtually no funds for transportation system expansion to help spur the economic growth that is the real key to any economic turnaround. Nebraska is essentially in a maintenance only program, and it is trending down with reduced funding levels and construction inflation,” said Matthew Tondl, senior vice president of HDR.

TRIP estimates that Nebraska’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 $1 billion annually in the form of traffic crashes, additional vehicle operating costs and congestion-related delays. TRIP calculates that in the Omaha metro area this cost is $1,113 per motorist each year. A breakdown of these costs can be found in the TRIP report.

The federal surface transportation program remains a critical source of funding for road and bridge repairs and transit improvements in Nebraska. The current program, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act – A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), originally scheduled to expire on September 30, 2009, now expires on March 4, 2011 following six short-term extensions.  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 Nebraska.

“Unless Nebraska can find a way to close the transportation funding shortfall, many critically needed projects will remain stranded on the drawing board,” said Will Wilkins, executive director of TRIP. “It is critical that Nebraska adequately fund its transportation system and that Congress produces a timely and adequately funded federal surface transportation program.  Thousands of jobs and the state’s economy are riding on it.”

TRIP Report

FUTURE MOBILITY IN NEBRASKA:

Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility

January 2011

Executive Summary

Nebraska’s extensive system of roads, highways, bridges and public transit provides the state’s residents, visitors and businesses with a high level of mobility.  As the backbone that supports the Cornhusker State, Nebraska’s surface transportation system provides for travel to work and school, visits with family and friends, and trips to tourist and recreation attractions while simultaneously providing businesses with reliable access for customers, suppliers and employees.  Nebraska must improve its system of roads, highways, bridges and public transit to foster economic growth, keep business in the state, and ensure the safe, reliable mobility needed to improve quality of life in Nebraska.

As Nebraska looks to rebound from the current economic downturn, the state will need to enhance its surface transportation system by improving the physical condition of its transportation network and enhancing the system’s ability to provide efficient and reliable mobility for residents, visitors and businesses.  Making needed improvements to the state’s roads, highways, bridges and transit could provide a significant boost to the state’s economy by creating jobs and stimulating long-term economic growth as a result of enhanced mobility and access.

Approved in February 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided approximately $235.6 million in stimulus funding for highway and bridge improvements and

$23.3 million for public transit improvements in Nebraska.  This funding can serve as a down payment on needed road, highway, bridge and transit improvements, but it is not sufficient to allow the state to proceed with numerous projects needed to modernize its surface transportation system.  Meeting Nebraska’s need to modernize and maintain its system of roads, highways, bridges and transit will require a significant, long-term boost in transportation funding at the federal, state or local levels.

Over the next five years, Nebraska faces a transportation funding shortfall of more than $1.1 billion. Without substantial transportation funding at the local, state and federal level, the state will be unable to complete numerous projects, leading to deteriorated road and bridge conditions, increased urban congestion and lost opportunities for economic growth.

  • The Nebraska Department of Roads (NDOR) projects that over the next five years, the state will face a transportation funding shortfall of more than $1.1 billion. This lack of sufficient state transportation funding will lead to deteriorated road and bridge conditions, increased urban congestion, a lack of desirable safety features and lost opportunities for economic growth.
  • Unless the current level of transportation funding in the state is increased, pavement conditions will deteriorate in the coming years. By 2020, NDOR projects that under current funding conditions the number of state maintained miles of roadway (not including Interstates) currently in very good condition will be nearly cut in half, and the number of miles in poor or very poor condition will increase more than three and a half times.
  • Because of a lack of sufficient transportation funding, NDOR projects that the number of structurally deficient state-maintained bridges is projected to increase 43 percent between 2010 and 2020.
  • TRIP estimates that Nebraska’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 more than $1 billion annually in the form of traffic crashes, additional vehicle operating costs and congestion-related delays.
  • TRIP estimates that roadways that lack some desirable safety features, have inadequate capacity to meet travel demands or have poor pavement conditions, cost the average Omaha area motorist $1,113 annually.
  • To ensure that federal funding for highways and bridges in Nebraska and throughout the nation continues beyond the expiration of SAFETEA-LU, Congress needs to approve a new long-term federal surface transportation program by March 4, 2011.
  • The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provides approximately $235.6 million in stimulus funding for highway and bridge improvements and $23.3 million for public transit improvements in Nebraska.
  • ARRA funding can serve as a down payment on needed road, highway, bridge and transit improvements, but it is not sufficient to allow the state to proceed with numerous projects needed to modernize its surface transportation system.  Meeting Nebraska’s need to modernize and maintain its system of roads, highways, bridges and transit will require a significant, long-term boost in transportation funding at the federal, state or local levels.
  • Congress is currently deliberating over a long-range federal surface transportation program.  The current program, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act – A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), originally scheduled to expire on September 30, 2009, now expires on March 4, 2011 following six short-term extensions.
  • 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 Nebraska, which, in turn, will affect the state’s ability to improve its residents’ quality of life and enhance economic development opportunities.

Despite the current economic downturn, population increases and economic growth in Nebraska over the past two decades have resulted in increased demands on the state’s major roads and highways.

  • Nebraska’s population reached 1.8 million in 2009, an increase of 14 percent since 1990.  The state’s population is expected to grow to 2 million by 2025.
  • Vehicle travel in Nebraska increased 37 percent from 1990 to 2008 – from 14 billion vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in 1990 to 19 billion VMT in 2008.
  • By 2025, vehicle travel in Nebraska is projected to increase by another 30 percent.
  • From 1990 to 2009, Nebraska’s gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 56 percent, when adjusted for inflation.

In 2008, 23percent of major roads in Nebraska were in poor or mediocre condition, providing motorists with a rough ride.

  • In 2008, seven percent of Nebraska’s major roads were rated in poor condition and 16 percent were rated in mediocre condition.  This includes Interstates, highways, connecting urban arterials and key urban streets that are maintained by state, county or municipal 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.  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.
  • Roads in need of repair cost each Nebraska motorist an average of $282 annually in extra vehicle operating costs – $380 million statewide.  Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
  • In the Omaha metropolitan area, where 42 percent of major roads are rated in poor condition and 32 percent are rated in mediocre condition, driving on roads in need of repair costs motorists $587 each year in extra vehicle operating costs.
  • The functional life of Nebraska’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.
  • This report contains a list of needed roadway preservation projects in Nebraska that would require a significant increase in state and federal funding to be completed.

Approximately one quarter of all bridges in Nebraska (state, local & federally maintained) showed significant deterioration or did not meet current design standards in 2010.

  • Eighteen percent of Nebraska’s bridges were structurally deficient in 2010.  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.
  • Six percent of Nebraska’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.
  • This report contains a list of needed bridge rehabilitation and replacement projects across the state that would require significant federal funding to be completed.

Nebraska’s rural traffic fatality rate is more than four times higher than the fatality rate on all other roads in the state.  Improving safety features on Nebraska’s roads and highways would likely result in a decrease in traffic fatalities in the state.  Roadway characteristics are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of all fatal and serious traffic accidents.

  • Between 2004 and 2008, 1,263 people were killed in traffic accidents in Nebraska, an average of 253 fatalities per year.
  • Nebraska’s traffic fatality rate was 1.09 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2008, slightly lower than the national average of 1.25 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel.
  • The traffic fatality rate in 2008 on Nebraska’s non-Interstate rural roads was 1.91 traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel, which is more than four times the traffic fatality rate of 0.45 on all other roads and highways in the state.
  • A disproportionate share of fatalities takes place on Nebraska’s non-Interstate rural roads. Approximately 76 percent of fatalities take place on rural roads, though they account for only 43 percent of vehicle travel in the state.
  • Several factors are associated with vehicle accidents that result in fatalities, including driver behavior, vehicle characteristics and roadway design.
  • TRIP estimates that roadway characteristics, such as lane widths, lighting, signage and the presence or absence of guardrails, paved shoulders, traffic lights, rumble strips, obstacle barriers, turn lanes, median barriers and pedestrian or bicycle facilities, are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of all fatal and serious traffic crashes.
  • 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 cost of serious traffic crashes in Nebraska in 2008, in which roadway design was likely a contributing factor, was approximately $427 million. In the Omaha area, where there were 25 traffic fatalities in 2008, traffic crashes in which roadway design was likely a contributing factor cost each driver approximately $113. The cost of serious crashes includes lost productivity, lost earnings, medical costs and emergency services.
  • 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.

Traffic congestion levels are rising as a result of population and economic growth, leading to increasing travel delays in Nebraska’s urban areas.

  • In 2008, 30 percent of Nebraska’s urban Interstates and other highways or freeways were considered congested, carrying a level of traffic that is likely to result in significant delays during peak travel hours.
  • The average rush hour trip in the Omaha metro area takes approximately eight percent longer to complete than during non-rush hour. Unless the area’s transportation system is improved, travel delays will increase in the future.
  • The statewide cost of traffic congestion in lost time and wasted fuel is approximately $240 million annually. Lost time and wasted fuel caused by congestion costs the average Omaha motorist $413 per year.

The efficiency of Nebraska’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.  Increases in the cost of highway construction materials have boosted the cost of road, highway and bridge 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.
  • Annually, $76 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Nebraska and another $64 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Nebraska, mostly by trucks.   Seventy-five percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in Nebraska are carried by trucks and another 13 percent are carried by 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.

Sources of information for this report include the Nebraska Department of Roads (NDOR), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), 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).  All data used in the report is the latest available. For the full report click here.