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TRIP Reports: Kansas Motorists Lose $2.7 Billion Per Year On Roads That Are Rough, Congested & Lack Some Safety Features

Kansas Motorists Lose $2.7 Billion Per Year On Roads That Are Rough, Congested & Lack Some Safety Features – As Much As $1,600 In Some Areas. Kansas’ Ability To Repair And Improve Transportation System Hampered By $2.4 Billion Transfer Of Highway Funds To State General Fund From 2011 To 2017.

Roads and bridges that are deteriorated, congested or lack some desirable safety features cost Kansas motorists a total of $2.7 billion statewide annually – as much as $1,600 in some urban areas – due to higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays. The ability of the Kansas Department of Transportation to repair and improve the state’s transportation system has been hampered by the transfer of $2.4 billion in state highway funds to state general funds between FY2011 and FY2017, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization. Governor Sam Brownback’s FY 2018/FY 2019 budget proposal would increase transfers of state highway funds to state general funds and other state agencies to $3.4 billion from FY 2011 to FY 2019.

The TRIP report, Kansas Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout Kansas, more than one-third of major, locally and state-maintained urban roads are in poor or mediocre condition and nine percent of Kansas’s locally and state-maintained bridges are structurally deficient. The state’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, with drivers wasting significant amounts of time and fuel each year. Kansas’ rural roads have a traffic fatality rate four-and-a-half times higher than on all other roads.

Driving on Kansas roads costs the state’s driver $2.7 billion per year in the form of extra vehicle operating costs (VOC) as a result of driving on roads in need of repair, lost time and fuel due to congestion-related delays, and the costs of traffic crashes in which the lack of adequate roadway safety features likely were a contributing factor. The TRIP report calculates the cost to motorists of insufficient roads in the Johnson/Wyandotte County, Topeka and Wichita urban areas. A breakdown of the costs per motorist in each area along with a statewide total is below.

The TRIP report finds that 37 percent of Kansas’ major locally and state-maintained urban roads and highways have pavements in poor condition and 26 percent are rated in mediocre condition. Thirteen percent of the state’s major urban roads are in fair condition and the remaining 24 percent are rated in good condition. Driving on rough roads costs Kansas drivers an additional $1 billion each year in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear. The report found that deferring maintenance on roads and highways can greatly increase long-term repair costs, with each dollar of deferred maintenance on roads and bridges being found to cost an additional $4 to $5 in needed future repairs.

“The economic vitality of our state depends on Kansas commerce, which in turn relies on safe and well-maintained roads and bridges,” said Rodney George, senior vice president of The Benning State Bank. “Our customers, many of which are farmers who need to get their products to market, depend on good roads every day. The financial stress of an underfunded infrastructure program impacts many more businesses and people than just road and bridge construction companies. Kansas citizens deserve a well-funded and sustainable roads program.”

Traffic congestion throughout the state is worsening, costing the state’s drivers $1 billion annually in lost time and wasted fuel. Traffic congestion robs commuters of time and money and imposes increased costs on businesses, shippers and manufacturers, which are often passed along to the consumer.

Nine percent of Kansas’ bridges are structurally deficient. A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. Structurally deficient bridges are often posted for lower weight or closed to traffic, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks and emergency services vehicles.

Traffic crashes in Kansas claimed the lives of 1,881 people between 2011 and 2015, an average of 376 fatalities per year. Kansas’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.13 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is the same as the national average.

“Our Chamber members and Johnson County voters recognize the importance of a quality, well-maintained, comprehensive transportation network of highways, roads and bridges throughout the state of Kansas,” said Tracey Osborne, president of the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce. “They understand that the speed, reliability, capacity and overall effectiveness of the state’s transportation system are crucial not only for quality of life for our residents, but also for job creation, economic development, and business retention and expansion in Kansas. We are all concerned with delays in previously approved projects as well as significant curtailment of regular maintenance of highways and bridges throughout the state as a result of the diversion of funds from the Kansas Highway Fund and the deterioration of the quality of our highways and bridges. This work will only become more expensive with time, costing us more the longer it is put off; thus, we strongly support protecting existing transportation funding sources at the state level and a federal multi-year funding plan for the nation’s surface transportation infrastructure.”

The efficiency and condition of Kansas’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Annually, $395 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Kansas, mostly by truck. Eighty-two percent of the goods shipped annually to and from sites in Kansas are carried by trucks and another 12 percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.

“The condition of Kansas’s transportation system will worsen in the future as additional monies are diverted away from the highway fund, leading to even higher costs for drivers,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “In order to promote economic growth, foster quality of life and get drivers safety and efficiently to their destination, Kansas will need to make transportation funding a top priority.”

Executive Summary

KANSAS TRANSPORTATION BY THE NUMBERS:

 Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility

Ten Key Transportation Numbers in Kansas

 

$2.7 billion

Driving on deficient roads costs Kansas motorists a total of $2.7 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.
Johnson/Wyandotte Counties – $1,596

Topeka – $1,453

Wichita – $1,597

TRIP has calculated the cost to the average motorist in the state’s largest urban areas in the form of additional VOC, congestion-related delays and traffic crashes. Drivers in the state’s largest urban areas incur annual costs as a result of driving on deficient roads as follows: Johnson/Wyandotte Counties – $1,596; Topeka – $1,453; Wichita – $1,597.
 

 

$2.4 billion

$3.4 billion

The ability of the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) to repair and improve the state’s transportation system has been hampered by the transfer of $2.4 billion in state highway funds to state general funds and other state agencies between fiscal year 2011 and fiscal year 2017. Governor Sam Brownback’s FY 2018/FY 2019 budget proposal would increase transfers of state highway funds to state general funds and other state agencies to $3.4 billion from FY 2011 to FY 2019.
 

14%

15%

Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Kansas increased by 14 percent from 2000 to 2016 –from 28.1 billion VMT in 2000 to 32.1 billion VMT in 2016. By 2030, vehicle travel in Kansas is projected to increase by another 15 percent.
4 1/2 X The fatality rate on Kansas’ rural roads is approximately four-and-a-half times greater than the fatality rate on all other roads in the state (2.24 fatalities per 100 million VMT vs. 0.50).
 

37%

Thirty-seven percent of Kansas’ major urban roads are in poor or mediocre condition. Eight percent are in fair condition and the remaining 56 percent are in good condition.
$1 = $4 to $5 Every $1 of deferred maintenance on roads and bridges has been found to cost an additional $4 to $5 in needed future repairs.
 

9%

Nine percent of Kansas’ bridges are structurally deficient, meaning they have significant deterioration to the major components of the bridge.
Johnson/Wyandotte Counties – 39 hours

Topeka – 16 hours

Wichita – 35 hours

Mounting congestion robs drivers of time and fuel. Annual time wasted in congestion for drivers in the state’s largest urban areas is as follows: Johnson/Wyandotte Counties – 39 hours, Topeka – 16 hours, Wichita- 35 hours.
 

$1.00 = $5.20

The Federal Highway Administration estimates that each dollar spent on road, highway and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 in the form of reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs, and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffic flow.

Executive Summary

The rate of economic growth in Kansas, which is greatly impacted by the reliability and condition of the state’s transportation system, has a significant impact on quality of life in the Sunflower State. Yet, the ability of Kansans to reap the quality of life and economic benefits of a well-maintained, safe and efficient transportation system is threatened by the continued diversion of state highway funds to the state’s general fund.

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

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

In this report, TRIP looks at the top transportation numbers in Kansas as the state addresses modernizing and maintaining its system of roads, highways, bridges and transit.

COST TO KANSAS MOTORISTS OF DEFICIENT ROADS

An inadequate transportation system costs Kansas motorists a total of $2.7 billion every year in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.

  • Driving on rough roads costs Kansas motorists a total of $1 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
  • Traffic crashes in which roadway design was likely a contributing factor costs Kansas motorists a total of $730 million each year in the form of lost household and workplace productivity, insurance and other financial costs.
  • Traffic congestion costs Kansas motorists a total of $1 billion each year in the form of lost time and wasted fuel.
  • The chart below details the average cost per driver in the state’s largest urban areas and statewide.

POPULATION, TRAVEL AND ECONOMIC TRENDS IN KANSAS

The rate of population and economic growth results in increased demands on a state’s major roads and highways, leading to increased wear and tear on the transportation system. 

  • Kansas’ population reached approximately 2.9 million residents in 2016, an eight percent increase since 2000. Kansas had approximately 2 million licensed drivers in 2015.
  • Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in Kansas increased by 14 percent from 2000 to 2016 –from 28.1 billion VMT in 2000 to 32.1 billion VMT in 2016. From 2013 to 2016, VMT in the state increased by six percent.
  • From 2000 to 2015, Kansas’ gross domestic product, a measure of the state’s economic output, increased by 23 percent, when adjusted for inflation. U.S. GDP increased 27 percent during this time.
  • By 2030, vehicle travel in Kansas is projected to increase by another 15 percent.

KANSAS ROAD CONDITIONS

A lack of adequate state and local funding has resulted in 37 percent of major roads and highways in Kansas having pavement surfaces in poor or mediocre condition, providing a rough ride and costing motorists in the form of additional vehicle operating costs.  Deferring maintenance on roads and highways can greatly increase long-term repair costs.

  • The pavement data in this report, which is for all arterial and collector roads and highways, is provided by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), based on data submitted annually by the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) on the condition of major state and locally maintained roads and highways.
  • Pavement data for Interstate highways and other principal arterials is collected for all system mileage, whereas pavement data for minor arterial and all collector roads and highways is based on sampling portions of roadways as prescribed by FHWA to insure that the data collected is adequate to provide an accurate assessment of pavement conditions on these roads and highways.
  • Thirteen percent of Kansas’ major locally and state-maintained roads and highways have pavements in poor condition and 24 percent are rated in mediocre condition. Eight percent of the state’s major roads are in fair condition and the remaining 56 percent are rated in good condition.
  • Thirty-seven percent of Kansas’ major locally and state-maintained urban roads and highways have pavements in poor condition and 26 percent are rated in mediocre condition. Thirteen percent of the state’s major urban roads are in fair condition and the remaining 24 percent are rated in good condition.
  • Nine percent of Kansas’ locally and state-maintained rural roads and highways have pavements in poor condition and 23 percent are rated in mediocre condition. Seven percent of the state’s rural roads are in fair condition and the remaining 62 percent are rated in good condition.
  • The chart below details the share of pavement in poor, mediocre, fair and good condition in the state’s largest urban areas.

  • Roads rated in mediocre to poor condition may show signs of deterioration, including rutting, cracks and potholes. In some cases, these roads can be resurfaced, but often are too deteriorated and must be reconstructed.
  • Driving on rough roads costs Kansas motorists a total of $1 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
  • Long-term repair costs increase significantly when road and bridge maintenance is deferred, as road and bridge deterioration accelerates later in the service life of a transportation facility and requires more costly repairs. A report on maintaining pavements found that every $1 of deferred maintenance on roads and bridges costs an additional $4 to $5 in needed future repairs.

KANSAS BRIDGE CONDITIONS

Nine percent of locally and state-maintained bridges in Kansas show significant deterioration. This includes all bridges that are 20 feet or more in length.

  • Nine percent of Kansas’ bridges are structurally deficient. A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. Structurally deficient bridges are often posted for lower weight or closed to traffic, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks and emergency services vehicles. 
  • The chart below details the share of structurally deficient bridges in Johnson and Wyandotte Counties, Topeka and Wichita and statewide.

HIGHWAY SAFETY AND FATALITY RATES IN KANSAS

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

  • A total of 1,881 people were killed in Kansas traffic crashes from 2011 to 2015, an average of 376 fatalities per year.
  • Kansas’ overall traffic fatality rate of 1.13 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2015 was the same as the national average of 1.13.
  • The fatality rate on Kansas’ non-interstate rural roads in 2015 was approximately four-and-a-half times greater than on all other roads in the state (2.24 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.50).
  • The chart below details the average number of people killed in traffic crashes from 2013 to 2015 in the state’s largest urban areas, as well as the cost per motorist of traffic crashes.

  • Traffic crashes in Kansas imposed a total of $2.2 billion in economic costs in 2015. TRIP estimates that traffic crashes in which roadway features were likely a contributing factor imposed $730 million in economic costs in 2015.
  • According to a 2015 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report, the economic costs of traffic crashes includes work and household productivity losses, property damage, medical costs, rehabilitation costs, legal and court costs, congestion costs and emergency services.
  • Roadway features that impact safety include the number of lanes, lane widths, lighting, lane markings, rumble strips, shoulders, guard rails, other shielding devices, median barriers and intersection design. The cost of serious crashes includes lost productivity, lost earnings, medical costs and emergency services.
  • Several factors are associated with vehicle crashes that result in fatalities, including driver behavior, vehicle characteristics and roadway features. TRIP estimates that roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of fatal traffic crashes.
  • Where appropriate, highway improvements can reduce traffic fatalities and crashes while improving traffic flow to help relieve congestion. Such improvements include removing or shielding obstacles; adding or improving medians; improved lighting; adding rumble strips, wider lanes, wider and paved shoulders; upgrading roads from two lanes to four lanes; and better road markings and traffic signals.
  • Investments in rural traffic safety have been found to result in significant reductions in serious traffic crashes. A 2012 report by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) found that improvements completed recently by the Texas Department of Transportation that widened lanes, improved shoulders and made other safety improvements on 1,159 miles of rural state roadways resulted in 133 fewer fatalities on these roads in the first three years after the improvements were completed (as compared to the three years prior).   TTI estimates that the improvements on these roads are likely to save 880 lives over 20 years.

KANSAS TRAFFIC CONGESTION

Increasing levels of traffic congestion cause significant delays in Kansas, particularly in its larger urban areas, choking commuting and commerce. Traffic congestion robs commuters of time and money and imposes increased costs on businesses, shippers and manufacturers, which are often passed along to the consumer.

  • Based on Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) estimates, the value of lost time and wasted fuel in Kansas is approximately $1 billion per year
  • The chart below details the number of hours lost to congestion by the average driver in the state’s largest urban areas, as well as the annual cost of traffic congestion per driver in the form of lost time and wasted fuel

 

  • Increasing levels of congestion add significant costs to consumers, transportation companies, manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers and can reduce the attractiveness of a location to a company when considering expansion or where to locate a new facility. Congestion costs can also increase overall operating costs for trucking and shipping companies, leading to revenue losses, lower pay for drivers and employees, and higher consumer costs.

TRANSPORTATION FUNDING IN KANSAS

Investment in Kansas’ roads, highways and bridges is funded by local, state and federal governments. The continued transfer of state highway funds to the state general fund threatens the state’s ability to provide a well-maintained, safe and efficient transportation system. The five-year federal surface transportation program includes modest funding increases and provides states with greater funding certainty, but falls far short of providing the level of funding needed to meet the nation’s highway and transit needs. The bill does not include a long-term and sustainable revenue source. The nation faces a significant shortfall in needed funding for road, highway and bridge improvements.

  • The ability of the Kansas Department of Transportation to repair and improve the state’s transportation system has been hampered by the transfer of $2.4 billion in state highway funds to state general funds and other state agencies between fiscal year 2011 and fiscal year 2017.

 

  • Governor Sam Brownback’s FY 2018/FY 2019 budget proposal would increase transfers of state highway funds to state general funds to $3.4 billion from FY 2011 to FY 2019.
  • $700 million of the $2.4 billion transferred out of the state’s highway fund between FY 2011 and FY 2017 and $200 million out of the additional $1 billion of state highway funds proposed to be transferred in the Governor’s FY 2018/FY 2019 budget proposal, are part of the state’s Transportation Works for Kansas (T-Works) program.
  • Signed into law in December 2015, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), provides modest increases in federal highway and transit spending, allows states greater long-term funding certainty and streamlines the federal project approval process. But the FAST Act does not provide adequate funding to meet the nation’s need for highway and transit improvements and does not include a long-term and sustainable funding source.
  • The five-year, $305 billion FAST Act will provide a boost of approximately 15 percent in national highway funding and 18 percent in national transit funding over the duration of the program, which expires in 2020.
  • According to the 2015 Status of the Nation’s Highways, Bridges and Transit: Conditions and Performance report submitted by the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) to Congress, the nation faces an $836 billion backlog in needed repairs and improvements to the nation’s roads, highways and bridges.
  • The USDOT report found that the nation’s current $105 billion investment in roads, highways and bridges by all levels of government should be increased by 35 percent to $142.5 billion annually to improve the conditions of roads, highways and bridges, relieve traffic congestion and improve traffic safety.

TRANSPORTATION AND ECONOMIC GROWTH IN KANSAS

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

  • Annually, $395 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Kansas, mostly by truck.
  • Eighty-two percent of the goods shipped annually to and from sites in Kansas are carried by trucks and another 12 percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.
  • Increasingly, companies are looking at the quality of a region’s transportation system when deciding where to re-locate or expand. Regions with congested or poorly maintained roads may see businesses relocate to areas with a smoother, more efficient and more modern transportation system.
  • Highway accessibility was ranked the number two site selection factor behind only the availability of skilled labor in a 2015 survey of corporate executives by Area Development Magazine.
  • The Federal Highway Administration estimates that each dollar spent on road, highway and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 in the form of reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffic flow.

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

 

 

 

President Obama signs FAST Act, first long-term Transportation Bill in a decade

transportationgov-banner_originalFrom Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx:

On my first day at USDOT, it had been more than eight years since Congress had passed a long-term surface transportation bill, and my efforts to push hard for a long term bill began immediately.

The message I kept hearing was, “let’s do this later,” so I worked with my team to turn the corner from “impossible” to “inevitable.”

Today we finally broke through when President Obama signed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act into law, marking the first long-term transportation bill passed by Congress in 10 years… To read all of Secretary Foxx’s comments click here

 

TRIP’S New Report Identifies Texas’ Top 100 Transportation Challenges And Needed Fixes, Including Deteriorated And Congested Roadways, Deficient Bridges And Needed Safety Improvements

TRIPDeficient roads, highways and bridges and crowded or congested routes in Texas are posing mounting challenges to the state’s residents, visitors and businesses in the form of lost time, increased vehicle operating costs and the financial burden of making needed transportation improvements.  This is according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation research organization.

The report, Texas’ Top 100 Transportation Challenges and the Improvements Needed to Address Them,” identifies 38 segments of the state’s major roads and highways that have significant levels of traffic congestion; seven sections of major roads or highways that have significant pavement deterioration and need to be reconstructed; 11 segments of state roadways that need safety improvements; 11 major bridges in the state that have significant deficiencies and need to be rebuilt or reconstructed; and, 33 roadway facilities in the state that have multiple needs, including congestion, safety, pavement or bridge challenges. The report also offers solutions for fixing each of the transportation challenges.

The top transportation challenges in the state, as identified by the TRIP report, are as follows. Additional details for all 100 transportation challenges can be found in the report’s Appendix.

  • 1.     Deterioration and Congestion on IH 30 in Dallas-Fort Worth. IH 30 in Dallas County, a critical route for regional and statewide connectivity, is significantly congested and deteriorated from Jefferson to SL 12 East. The freeway would need to be reconstructed and widened, with two to four managed lanes added to relieve congestion.
  • 2.     Deterioration and Congestion on a section of IH 45 in Houston. IH 45 is a critical route for hurricane evacuation in the greater Houston-Galveston area as well as a major freight route connecting to the Port of Houston. However, from IH 610 to SL 8, IH 45 experiences significant congestion and lacks adequate mobility to support economic development opportunities. Some segments of this roadway, as well as the bridges it traverses, will need to be widened, reconstructed or replaced to improve mobility on the corridor.
  • 3.     Congestion on IH 35 in San Antonio. IH 35 acts as the primary route for vehicle and truck traffic from the Texas border to San Antonio, Austin and Dallas/Fort Worth. This section of IH 35, from IH 410 to FM 3009, carries significant truck traffic due to numerous industrial companies located nearby. Because the current traffic volume exceeds the capacity of the current roadway, significant bottlenecks form at the IH 35/IH 410N and IH 35/410S interchanges. Congestion could be eased by expanding the existing six to eight-lane facility to 14 lanes (6 Managed Lanes) from US 281/IH 37 to FM 3009. While the corridor is currently undergoing a Planning and environmental study, no funding has been identified.
  • 4.     IH 35W Congestion in Dallas/Fort Worth. This section of I 35W, from SH 183 to US 81 in Tarrant County, experiences severe congestion due to inadequate capacity and obsolete interchanges. In order to ease congestion, the roadway would need to be reconstructed to add managed HOV lanes.
  • 5.     Congestion on IH 410 in San Antonio. This section of IH 410, from US 281 to IH 35, is the primary connection between San Antonio International Airport and IH 35. The current traffic volume exceeds the capacity of the roadway, leading to chokepoints on IH 35 where EB 410 merges with NB 35. Needed improvements to the IH 35/IH 410 Interchange would ease the existing bottleneck from EB 410 to IH 35.
  • 6.     Deteriorated Pavement Conditions on Statewide Secondary Roads serving the state’s energy sector. Throughout the state, secondary rural and urban roads are becoming increasingly deteriorated. These routes are critical to the development and growth of Texas’ energy extraction sector. However, many are in need of major repairs and added structural capacity to handle the increased traffic, mainly from large trucks as a result of the growth in the state’s energy sector.
  • 7.     Congestion on US 75 in Dallas/Fort Worth. This section of US 75, from SH 190 to IH 635 experiences significant congestion and has already been built to maximum capacity. Congestion on this route could be eased by the addition of six elevated managed HOV lanes and Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) improvements.
  • 8.     Deterioration and Congestion on a section of IH 45 in Houston. IH 45 is a vital route for hurricane evacuation in the Greater Houston-Galveston area as well as a major route for transporting goods to and from the Port of Houston. From IH 10 to IH 610, this route experiences significant congestion and contains roadway segments and bridge facilities that need to be reconstructed or replaced. In order to improve road and bridge conditions and relieve congestion, this potion of IH 45 and various interchanges would need to be widened and reconstructed.
  • 9.     Congestion on US 290 in Austin. As a major commuter route, US 290 between SL 1 and RM 1826 experiences severe congestion. This area has seen high residential growth without corresponding transportation improvements that would facilitate the convergence of three major highways: US 290, SH 71 and Loop 1 (about three miles east). During peak periods there is no access for emergency vehicles due to congestion, lack of shoulders and no alternative route. To ease congestion, the route would need to be reconstructed to add a six-lane toll road with frontage roads.
  • 10.  Bridge Deficiency, Safety and Congestion on US 181 at the Corpus Christi Ship Channel. US 181 connects Corpus Christi and the Port facilities to communities and facilities north of the ship channel. The current route is congested, needs safety improvements and includes a deficient bridge. However, because a replacement structure that would meet modern design standards does not fit in the current footprint, a new location is needed. A new structure would address the steep climb, sharp approach curves and lack of shoulders on the current structure.

TRIP ranked Texas’ top transportation challenges by giving each segment or facility an overall score, based on a scale that included points for the following categories: current volume of daily travel or ridership; the challenge posed to the public based on the significance of the problem or deficiency; the importance of the route or facility to regional, interstate or international travel patterns; the importance of the route or facility to the regional economy; and, the cost to repair the deficiency.

“Texas has many more transportation challenges than it has dollars to put towards fixing them,” said Lawrence Olsen, executive director of the Texas Good Roads & Transportation Association.  “While it will take a significant investment to improve Texas’ transportation system, the state simply cannot afford not to address the mounting deficiencies on our roads and bridges. Failure to adequately fund the state’s transportation system will result in further deterioration and congestion and countless lost economic opportunities.”

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

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

Executive Summary

Texas’ Top 100 Transportation Challenges and Improvements Needed to Address Them

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

However, increasing roadway and bridge deterioration, traffic safety concerns and growing congestion threaten to stifle economic growth and negatively impact the quality of life of the state’s 26 million residents. Due to insufficient transportation funding at the federal, state and local level, Texas faces numerous challenges in providing a road, highway and bridge network that is smooth, well-maintained, as safe as possible, and that affords a level of mobility capable of supporting the state’s economic goals.

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

Numerous segments of Texas’ transportation system have significant deterioration, are congested or crowded, lack some desirable safety features, and do not have adequate capacity to provide reliable mobility, creating challenges for Texas’ residents, visitors, businesses and state and local governments.  This report looks at the condition and use of Texas’ system of roads, highways and bridges and provides information on the state’s top 100 transportation challenges and the improvements needed to address these challenges.

Deficient roads, highways and bridges and crowded or congested routes in Texas are posing mounting challenges to the state’s residents, visitors and businesses in the form of lost time, increased vehicle operating costs and the financial burden of making needed transportation improvements. 

  • Texas’ top 100 transportation challenges as ranked by TRIP  include: 38 segments of the state’s major roads and highways that have significant levels of traffic congestion; seven sections of major roads or highways that have significant pavement deterioration and need to be reconstructed; 11 segments of state roadways that need safety improvements; 11 major bridges in the state that have significant deficiencies and need to be rebuilt or reconstructed; and, 33 roadway facilities in the state that have multiple needs, including congestion, safety, pavement or bridge challenges. (Some of the segments identified have multiple challenges, including congestion, safety and road and bridge deficiencies.)
  • TRIP ranked Texas’ top transportation challenges by giving each segment or facility an overall score, based on a scale that included points for the following categories: current volume of daily travel or ridership; the challenge posed to the public based on the significance of the problem or deficiency; the importance of the route or facility to regional, interstate or international travel patterns; the importance of the route or facility to the regional economy; and, the cost to repair the deficiency.
  • The following list details the top 10 transportation challenges in Texas. Further details about each challenge, as well as the full list of 100 challenges, can be found in the Appendix.
  •  11.  Deterioration and Congestion on IH 30 in Dallas-Fort Worth. IH 30 in Dallas County, a critical route for regional and statewide connectivity, is significantly congested and deteriorated from Jefferson to SL 12 East. The freeway would need to be reconstructed and widened, with two to four managed lanes added to relieve congestion.
  •  12.  Deterioration and Congestion on a section of IH 45 in Houston. IH 45 is a critical route for hurricane evacuation in the greater Houston-Galveston area as well as a major freight route connecting to the Port of Houston. However, from IH 610 to SL 8, IH 45 experiences significant congestion and lacks adequate mobility to support economic development opportunities. Some segments of this roadway, as well as the bridges it traverses, will need to be widened, reconstructed or replaced to improve mobility on the corridor.
  •  13.  Congestion on IH 35 in San Antonio. IH 35 acts as the primary route for vehicle and truck traffic from the Texas border to San Antonio, Austin and Dallas/Fort Worth. This section of IH 35, from IH 410 to FM 3009, carries significant truck traffic due to numerous industrial companies located nearby. Because the current traffic volume exceeds the capacity of the current roadway, significant bottlenecks form at the IH 35/IH 410N and IH 35/410S interchanges. Congestion could be eased by expanding the existing six to eight-lane facility to 14 lanes (6 Managed Lanes) from US 281/IH 37 to FM 3009. While the corridor is currently undergoing a Planning and environmental study, no funding has been identified.
  •  14.  IH 35W Congestion in Dallas/Fort Worth. This section of I 35W, from SH 183 to US 81 in Tarrant County, experiences severe congestion due to inadequate capacity and obsolete interchanges. In order to ease congestion, the roadway would need to be reconstructed to add managed HOV lanes.
  •  15.  Congestion on IH 410 in San Antonio. This section of IH 410, from US 281 to IH 35, is the primary connection between San Antonio International Airport and IH 35. The current traffic volume exceeds the capacity of the roadway, leading to chokepoints on IH 35 where EB 410 merges with NB 35. Needed improvements to the IH 35/IH 410 Interchange would ease the existing bottleneck from EB 410 to IH 35.
  •  16.  Deteriorated Pavement Conditions on Statewide Secondary Roads serving the state’s energy sector. Throughout the state, secondary rural and urban roads are becoming increasingly deteriorated. These routes are critical to the development and growth of Texas’ energy extraction sector. However, many are in need of major repairs and added structural capacity to handle the increased traffic, mainly from large trucks as a result of the growth in the state’s energy sector.
  •  17.  Congestion on US 75 in Dallas/Fort Worth. This section of US 75, from SH 190 to IH 635 experiences significant congestion and has already been built to maximum capacity. Congestion on this route could be eased by the addition of six elevated managed HOV lanes and Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) improvements.
  •  18.  Deterioration and Congestion on a section of IH 45 in Houston. IH 45 is a vital route for hurricane evacuation in the Greater Houston-Galveston area as well as a major route for transporting goods to and from the Port of Houston. From IH 10 to IH 610, this route experiences significant congestion and contains roadway segments and bridge facilities that need to be reconstructed or replaced. In order to improve road and bridge conditions and relieve congestion, this potion of IH 45 and various interchanges would need to be widened and reconstructed.
  •  19.  Congestion on US 290 in Austin. As a major commuter route, US 290 between SL 1 and RM 1826 experiences severe congestion. This area has seen high residential growth without corresponding transportation improvements that would facilitate the convergence of three major highways: US 290, SH 71 and Loop 1 (about three miles east). During peak periods there is no access for emergency vehicles due to congestion, lack of shoulders and no alternative route. To ease congestion, the route would need to be reconstructed to add a six-lane toll road with frontage roads. 
  • 20.  Bridge Deficiency, Safety and Congestion on US 181 at the Corpus Christi Ship Channel. US 181 connects Corpus Christi and the Port facilities to communities and facilities north of the ship channel. The current route is congested, needs safety improvements and includes a deficient bridge. However, because a replacement structure that would meet modern design standards does not fit in the current footprint, a new location is needed. A new structure would address the steep climb, sharp approach curves and lack of shoulders on the current structure.

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

  • From 1990 to 2011, Texas’ population increased by 51 percent, from approximately 17 million to approximately 25.7 million. Texas’ population is expected to increase to 37.3 million by 2030.
  • From 1990 to 2010, annual vehicle-miles-of-travel (VMT) in the state increased by 44 percent, from approximately 162.2 billion VMT to 234 billion VMT. Based on travel and population trends, TRIP estimates that vehicle travel in Texas will increase another 35 percent by 2030, reaching approximately 304 billion VMT.
  • In 2013, Texas is projected to have a 3.9 percent rate of economic growth, measured in real Gross State Product (GSP), which is factored for price changes.  This rate of growth is higher than the forecast three percent increase in national real GSP in 2013.
  • Every year, $1.167 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Texas and another $1.246 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Texas, mostly by trucks. Sixty percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in Texas are carried by trucks and another nine percent are carried by parcel, U.S. Postal Service or courier services, which use trucks for part of their deliveries.

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

  • Texas’ population and economy will continue to grow in the future, bringing mounting challenges for the existing network of roads and bridges. The state will need to expand key roads, highways and bridges to increase mobility and ease traffic congestion, make needed road and bridge repairs, and improve roadway safety.
  • Texas’ system of 311,249 miles of roads and 51,862 bridges carries 234 billion vehicle miles of travel annually.
  • In 2010, 18 percent of Texas’ major urban roads were in poor condition and an additional 27 percent were in mediocre condition.
  • The pavement data in this report is provided by the Federal Highway Administration, based on data submitted annually by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) on the condition of major state and locally maintained roads and highways in the state.
  • Three percent of Texas’ bridges were rated structurally deficient in 2011.  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.
  • Congestion is more than just a headache for commuters. The Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) estimates that congestion will cost the state’s economy an average of $20 billion per year through 2025, rising from a current cost of approximately $10.8 billion per year to almost $30 billion in 2025.
  • In 2011, 15 percent of Texas’ bridges were rated as functionally obsolete. Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet current highway design standards or are inadequate to accommodate current traffic levels, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.
  • Texas’ urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, hampering commuting and commerce while reducing economic opportunities and quality of life in the state. Unless Texas’ transportation system is improved and enhanced, congestion will worsen dramatically in the coming years.
  • If roadway efficiency and capacity needs are not addressed, the average annual congestion-related delay in Texas’ urban and metropolitan areas will double in 15 years from 37 hours per motorist each year to 74 hours per motorist.
  • Roadway features are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of traffic fatalities. There were 2,998 traffic fatalities in 2010 in Texas. A total of 16,448 people died on Texas’ highways from 2006 through 2010.
  • Roadway features that impact safety include the number of lanes, lane widths, lighting, lane markings, rumble strips, shoulders, guard rails, other shielding devices, median barriers and intersection design.
  • Texas’ traffic fatality rate of 1.28 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2010 was higher than the national average of 1.11.
  • Where appropriate, highway improvements can reduce traffic fatalities and crashes while improving traffic flow to help relieve congestion.  Such improvements include removing or shielding obstacles; adding or improving medians; improved lighting; adding rumble strips, wider lanes, wider and paved shoulders; upgrading roads from two lanes to four lanes; and, better road markings and traffic signals.
  • A 2012 TRIP report found that Texas’ roadways that lack some desirable safety features, have inadequate capacity to meet travel demands or have poor pavement conditions cost the state’s residents approximately $23.2 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. 

Unless transportation funding is increased, Texas’ roads and bridges will become increasingly deteriorated and congested and needed safety improvements will remain unfunded. The state faces a significant funding shortfall in the amount needed just to maintain the transportation system in its current condition.

  • Over the past decade, roadway maintenance and capacity in Texas have been largely funded through bond proceeds. However, all bonding programs have now been exhausted, resulting in a 50 percent drop in funding levels from a decade ago and leaving no funds available for new construction.
  • A report issued by the 2030 Committee calculated that an annual statewide investment of $9.9 billion was needed just to maintain road and bridge conditions and congestion at 2010 levels. However, after fiscal year 2014, annual state highway investment is anticipated to average just $2.4 billion annually.
  • Under current funding scenarios, overall pavement quality is projected to decrease by 43 percent by 2022. Failing to address pavement deterioration in a timely manner increases repair costs over time. In Texas, underfunding maintenance on the state’s roads will increase the cost to preserve and restore the pavement by $6.5 billion over the next ten years when comparing to the minimum funding amount.
  • While the growth and expansion of Texas’ oil, gas and wind energy sectors has been beneficial for the state’s economic well being, increased traffic (especially by heavy trucks) has had a significant impact on the condition of the state’s roads and highways.  A new report by the Texas Transportation Institute found that the cost of additional road repairs needed as a result of the energy boom’s wear and tear on state and county roads in Texas is estimated to be an additional $2 billion each year for the next 20 years.

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

  • 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 bridge capacity produce significant economic benefits by reducing congestion and improving access, thus speeding the flow of people and goods while reducing fuel consumption.
  • Transportation projects that maintain and preserve existing transportation infrastructure also provide significant economic benefits by improving travel speeds, capacity, load-carry abilities and safety, and reducing operating costs for people and businesses.  Such projects also extend the service life of a road, bridge or transit vehicle or facility, which saves money by either postponing or eliminating the need for more expensive future repairs.
  • Site Selection magazine’s 2010 survey of corporate real estate executives found that transportation infrastructure was the third most important selection factor in site location decisions, behind only work force skills and state and local taxes.
  • 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. 

Sources of data for this report include the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), and the U.S. Census Bureau.  All data used in the report is the latest available.

TRIP Report: Wyoming’s 25 Most Needed Transportation Projects

New report identifies Wyoming’s 25 most needed transportation projects for economic growth; projects would widen, modernize and improve roads to support energy, tourism and agriculture industries and promote quality of life

In order to support Wyoming’s rapidly growing energy industry and allow the state’s agriculture, tourism and manufacturing industries to thrive, the state will need to make numerous improvements to its surface transportation system. This is according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation research organization.

TRIP’s report, “The Top 25 Surface Transportation Projects to Support Economic Growth in Wyoming,” identifies and ranks the projects needed to provide Wyoming with a transportation system that can support the increased movement of people, goods and natural resources throughout the state.  These improvements would enhance economic development opportunities in the state’s burgeoning energy sector as well as in other critical areas of the state’s economy including tourism, agriculture and manufacturing. They would also improve safety on the state’s roads, which would lower the financial and economic costs of traffic crashes.

According to the TRIP report, the most needed project is the modernization of the entire length of Interstate 80 within the state to include the construction of variable speed lanes, truck climbing lanes, truck parking areas and chain-up areas to facilitate freight and passenger travel on this critical national east-west corridor. The following projects are also among the most needed in the state: widening Route 59 in Campbell County to four lanes to improve access to the Powder River Basin area, reconstruction and redesign of the I-80/I-25 interchange in

Cheyenne to better serve nearby distribution centers and other businesses, construction of a West Beltway Loop Highway in Casper to improve freight movement and development along the corridor, and constructing a connector route in Torrington to replace the US 85/US 20-26 intersection and provide access to the Powder River Basin sulfur coal area and Niobrara Oil Play.

Additional projects in the top ten include modernizing 100 miles of county roads in Campbell County to serve the Powder River Basin coal mines, widening US Route 20/26 to four lanes from Casper to Shosoni to address the lack of connectivity in central Wyoming, widening the existing Wind River Canyon tunnels to improve commercial access to the region, constructing a three mile connector route from I-80 in Laramie County to WY 213 past Burns to replace the existing roadway/rail crossing and provide improved access to the Niobrara Oil Play, and the construction of a 16-mile Western Beltway Loop in Sheridan to relieve truck travel on I-80 and improve access in the western part of the region. A full list of needed projects, descriptions and their impact on economic development can be found in the appendix of the report.

“A well built and maintained modern transportation system is critical to the future of Wyoming’s economic growth.  The bottom line for our state is we must be able to move supplies and materials in and out of Wyoming.  Some people see construction and maintenance of our roads as a cost when it should be looked at as long-term investment in the future of our state,” said Laurie Farkas, vice president of the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce.

Enhancing critical segments of Wyoming’s surface transportation system will boost the state’s economy in the short-term by creating jobs in construction and related fields. In the long term these improvements will enhance economic competitiveness by reducing travel delays and transportation costs, improving access and mobility, improving safety and stimulating sustained job growth, improving the quality of life for the state’s residents and visitors.

Sustaining Wyoming’s long-term economic growth and maintaining the state’s high quality of life will require increased investment in expanding the capacity of the state’s surface transportation system, which will enhance business productivity and support short- and long-term job creation in the state.

“Wyoming can’t get where it wants to go – in both a literal and an economic sense – without an efficient transportation system,” said Will Wilkins, executive director of TRIP. “It is critical that Wyoming’s transportation system is adequately funded at the local, state and federal level. Thousands of jobs and the state’s economic well being are riding on it.”

Sources of data for this report include the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT), the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), and the U.S. Census Bureau.  All data used in the report is the latest available.

Top 25 Surface Transportation Projects to Support Economic Growth in Wyoming

January 2011

Executive Summary

Wyoming’s transportation system has played a significant role in the state’s development, providing mobility and access for residents, visitors, businesses and industry.  The state’s roads, highways and bridges are the backbone of a transportation system that has helped make Wyoming a leader in the energy, agriculture and tourism sectors.  Wyoming’s transportation system also provides for a high quality of life and makes the state a desirable place to live and visit.  Today, Wyoming must continue to develop its economy to meet the demands of the 21st Century.  The condition and quality of its transportation system will play a critical role in Wyoming’s ability to continue to rebound from the recession and to capitalize on its economic advantages.

To achieve sustainable economic growth, Wyoming must proceed with numerous projects to improve key roads, highways and bridges in the state to support economic growth, particularly in its booming energy sector.  Enhancing critical segments of Wyoming’s surface transportation system will boost the state’s economy in the short-term by creating jobs in construction and related fields. In the long-term these improvements will enhance economic competitiveness and improve the quality of life for the state’s residents and visitors by reducing travel delays and transportation costs, improving access and mobility, improving safety and stimulating sustained job growth.

In this report, TRIP examines recent transportation and economic trends in Wyoming and provides information on the surface transportation projects in the state that are most needed to support economic growth. Sources of data include the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT), the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), and the U.S. Census Bureau.  All data used in the report is the latest available.

TRIP has identified the 25 surface transportation projects that are most needed to support Wyoming’s economic growth. These projects are located throughout the state.

  • The most needed surface transportation improvements in Wyoming include projects to modernize existing roadways, add lanes to existing roadways, improve interchanges and construct some new highway links.  These improvements would enhance economic development opportunities in the state’s burgeoning energy sector as well as in other critical areas of the state’s economy including tourism, agriculture and manufacturing. Addressing these projects would also improve safety on the state’s roads, which would lower the financial and economic costs of traffic crashes.
  • TRIP ranked each transportation project based on a rating system that considered short-term economic benefits, including job creation; the level of improvement in the condition of the transportation facility, including safety improvements; the amount of improvement in access and mobility; and the long-term improvement provided in regional or state economic performance and competitiveness.
  • Wyoming’s 10 most needed surface transportation projects to support economic development in the state are as follows. Additional details on the 25 most needed projects in Wyoming for economic recovery and growth are included in the report’s Appendix.
  1. Modernization of the entire length of Interstate 80 within the state. Spanning 400 miles across Wyoming, Interstate 80 is the backbone of the state’s economy and a critical national east-west link for freight movement and passenger vehicle travel.  This $290 million modernization project would improve traffic flow and reliability on this route, particularly during the winter.  The improvements include the construction of variable speed limits, truck-climbing lanes, truck parking areas and chain-up areas.  This project will also provide significant safety benefits.
  2. Widening of a 36-mile portion of Wyoming Route 59 in Campbell County to four lanes. This $97 million project would widen this route from Wright to Gillette to improve access to the Powder River Basin area, the largest producer of low sulfur coal in the nation.  This project will also provide significant safety benefits.
  3. Reconstruction and redesign of the interchange of Interstate 80 and Interstate 25 in Cheyenne. This $325 million project would modernize the state’s busiest interchange and improve safety and traffic flow.  The out-dated design of the interchange impedes vehicle traffic, particularly freight shipments, restricting access to nearby distribution centers and other businesses.
  4. Construction of West Beltway Loop Highway in Casper. The current alignment carries significant traffic, particularly during the winter when large trucks and other traffic must detour around portions of Interstate 80 during extreme weather.  The $58 million construction of a Western Loop Highway in the Casper area would improve freight movement and stimulate economic development along this corridor.
  5. Construction of a new 1.6 mile connector route in Torrington to replace intersection of US 85 and US 20-26. This $35 million project would improve access to Niobrara Oil Play and decrease conflicts with Powder River Basin low sulfur coal shipments while improving connections for freight and livestock movement from the Heartland Express to Interstates 80 and 25.
  6. Modernizing approximately 100 miles of county roads in Campbell County. This $101 million project would improve traffic flow, particularly for large trucks, to and from coal mines in the Powder River Basin area. It would include the realignment of some routes and would help accommodate continued expansion of coal extraction in this region.
  7. Widening of US Route 20/26 from two to four lanes from Casper to Shoshoni. This $342 million project would add two additional lanes and renovate the two existing lanes of an 88-mile portion of US Route 20/26.  This project would address the lack of connectivity in the central portion of Wyoming to any multi-lane highways while improving access for energy exploration and development, agriculture, and tourism.  This project will also provide significant safety benefits.
  8. Widening the existing Wind River Canyon tunnels. The $36 million project would allow large commercial trucks to access the Big Horn Basin without detouring through Billings, Montana. It would greatly improve commercial access to the region, which would positively impact tourism and agriculture.
  9. New three-mile connector route from Interstate 80 in Laramie County to WY 213 past Burns, Wyoming. This $9 million project would replace an existing roadway/rail crossing, which causes long delays whenever a train crosses, with a grade-separated route. It would eliminate delays at the intersection of the highway and rail routes and improve access to the Niobrara Oil Play.  The project would also increase traffic safety along this corridor.
  10. Construction of a 16-mile Western Beltway Loop in Sheridan. This $80 million project would relieve heavy commercial truck travel moving to Interstate 90 and improve access in the western part of this region, which is experiencing significant growth due to continued expansion in oil, gas and coal extraction.  The project would also enhance commercial and residential development opportunities in the western part of the region.

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.  The benefits of transportation improvements include the following:

  • Improved business competitiveness because of reduced production and distribution costs as a result of increased travel speeds and fewer mobility barriers.
  • Improvements in household welfare as a result of 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 as a result of improved regional economic competitiveness, which stimulates population and job growth.
  • Increased leisure/tourism and business travel as a result of enhanced conditions 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 also provide significant economic benefits by improving travel speeds, capacity, load-carry abilities and safety, and reducing operating costs for people and businesses.   Such projects also extend the service life of a road, bridge or transit vehicle or facility, which saves money by either postponing or eliminating the need for more expensive future repairs.
  • 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.

While the United States entered a significant economic downturn in 2008, including a large increase in unemployment, Wyoming has fared better economically than most of the nation, buoyed in particular by a strong energy sector, which includes oil, gas and coal extraction.

  • In November 2008, Wyoming’s unemployment rate was 3.8 percent, significantly lower than the national 6.9 percent unemployment rate.  With demand for energy and other materials declining as a result of the U.S. and global recession, unemployment peaked in Wyoming in January 2010, with an unemployment rate of 7.6 percent, which was still lower than the national 9.7 percent unemployment rate at that time.
  • In 2010, Wyoming’s economy started to slowly rebound.  Led by energy exploration, Wyoming’s economy is recovering as the labor market slowly adds jobs, buoyed by increasing prices for energy.  However, a faster economic recovery for the state will require a stronger U.S. economic recovery, which will increase the demand for energy.   By November 2010, Wyoming’s unemployment rate had decreased to 6.6 percent, significantly lower than the national 9.8 percent unemployment rate.
  • In 2009, Wyoming experienced the second highest rate of economic growth in the U.S. – behind only Oklahoma – with a 5.4 percent increase in real gross domestic product (GDP) when adjusted for inflation.   Real GDP in the U.S. declined by 2.1 percent in 2009.
  • From 1990 to 2009, Wyoming’s population increased by 20 percent, from 454,000 to 544,000.   Wyoming’s population is expected to increase by another 14 percent by 2030 to approximately 621,000.
  • From 1990 to 2008, annual vehicle-miles-of-travel (VMT) in the state increased by 62 percent, from approximately 5.8 billion VMT to 9.4 billion VMT. Based on travel and population trends, TRIP estimates that vehicle travel in Wyoming will increase by another 50 percent by 2030, reaching approximately 14.2 billion VMT.

Wyoming’s economy is served by an extensive surface transportation system that has significant deficiencies.  The state’s roadways carry the majority of freight shipped in the state.

  • Wyoming is served by a system of 28,105 miles of roads and 3,054 bridges, maintained by local, state and federal governments, which carry 9.5 billion vehicle miles of travel annually.
  • Nearly a fifth of the state’s major roads are deficient, with four percent of Wyoming’s major roads rated in poor condition in 2008.  An additional 14 percent of the state’s major roads were rated in mediocre condition in 2008.
  • Thirteen percent of Wyoming’s bridges were rated structurally deficient in 2009,. 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.
  • Every year, $24 billion in goods are shipped annually from sites in Wyoming and another $28 billion in goods are shipped annually to sites in Wyoming, mostly by truck.
  • In 2009 nine percent of Wyoming’s bridges were rated as functionally obsolete. Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet current highway design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.
  • Fifty-three percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in Wyoming are carried by trucks and another seven percent are carried by multiple modes of transportation, including trucks.

Sources of data for this report include the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT), the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), and the U.S. Census Bureau.  All data used in the report is the latest available.

Projects Identified as needing immediate attention:

  1. Widening of a 36-mile portion of Wyoming Route 59 in Campbell County to four lanes. This $97 million project would widen this route from Wright to Gillette to improve access to the Powder River Basin area, the largest producer of low sulfur coal in the nation.  This project will also provide significant safety benefits.
  2. Widening of a 36-mile portion of Wyoming Route 59 in Campbell County to four lanes. This $97 million project would widen this route from Wright to Gillette to improve access to the Powder River Basin area, the largest producer of low sulfur coal in the nation.  This project will also provide significant safety benefits.
  3. Reconstruction and redesign of the interchange of Interstate 80 and Interstate 25 in Cheyenne. This $325 million project would modernize the state’s busiest interchange and improve safety and traffic flow.  The out-dated design of the interchange impedes vehicle traffic, particularly freight shipments, restricting access to nearby distribution centers and other businesses.
  4. Construction of West Beltway Loop Highway in Casper. The current alignment carries significant traffic, particularly during the winter when large trucks and other traffic detour around portions of Interstate 80 during extreme weather.  The $58 million construction of a Western Loop Highway in the Casper area would improve freight movement and stimulate economic development along this corridor.
  5. Construction of a new 1.6-mile connector route in Torrington to replace intersection of US 85 and US 20-26.  This $35 million project would relieve congestion at this intersection and improve access to the Niobrara Oil Play and decrease conflicts with Powder River Basin low sulfur coal shipments while improving freight connections for freight and livestock movement from the Heartland Express to Interstates 80 and 25.
  6. Modernizing approximately 100 miles of county roads in Campbell County. This $101 million project would include the realignment of some routes and would help accommodate continued expansion of coal extraction in this region. It would improve traffic flow, particularly for large trucks to and from coalmines in the Powder River Basin area.
  7. Widening of US Route 20/26 from two to four lanes from Casper to Shoshoni. This $342 million project would add two additional lanes and renovate the two existing lanes of an 88-mile portion of US Route 20/26.  This project would address the lack of connectivity in the central portion of Wyoming to any multi-lane highways while improving access for energy exploration and development, agriculture and tourism.  This project will also provide significant safety benefits.
  8. Widening the Wind River Canyon tunnels to accommodate the access of oversized commercial trucks to the Big Horn Basin.  This $36 million project would allow large commercial trucks to access the Big Horn Basin without detouring through Billings, Montana. It would greatly improve commercial access to the region, which would positively impact tourism and agriculture.
  9. New three-mile connector route from Interstate 80 in Laramie County to WY 213 past Burns, Wyoming. This $9 million project would replace an existing roadway/rail crossing, which causes long-delays whenever a train crosses, with a grade-separated route. It would eliminate delays at the intersection of the highway and rail routes and improve access to the Niobrara Oil Play.  The project would also increase traffic safety along this corridor.
  10. Construction of a 16-mile Western Beltway Loop in Sheridan.  This $80 million project would help move commercial truck travel to Interstate 90 and improve access in the western part of this region, which is experiencing significant growth due to continued expansion in oil, gas and coal extraction.  The project would also enhance commercial and residential development opportunities in the western part of the region.
  11. The construction of a 14-mile Southern Beltway Loop in Southwest Gillette. This $70 million project would alleviate traffic in town, particularly large commercial vehicles.  It would improve access to the Southwestern portion of Gillette, the fourth largest city in Wyoming, which is also seeing some of the largest population growth in the state.  This project would facilitate the movement of heavy equipment to and from the region’s mining, oil and gas facilities and improve regional traffic safety.
  12. Widening and relocating a 16-mile portion of Wyoming 51 in Campbell County. This $27 million project would improve access to coal mines in the Powder River Basin area and allow recovery of additional coal in the area and will improve regional traffic safety.
  13. Modernizing a nine-mile portion of US 14 in Campbell County. This project would allow US 14 to accommodate large-vehicles serving oil and gas development in the region while improving traffic safety.  The $17 million project will include widening and resurfacing of the route.
  14. Modernization of Wyoming 451 from Big Piney to Pinedale in southwest Wyoming. This region is home to some of the largest gas fields in the nation.  The $45 million project, which will include widening, bridge reconstruction and resurfacing, will allow the road to better accommodate large commercial trucks and will improve traffic safety.
  15. Widening to multi-lanes of 12 miles of US 287 from Laramie to the Colorado State line. The $56 million project will widen a route that is often used as a cut-off by I-80 travelers headed to Colorado, particularly during inclement weather.  Widening this route will improve access for large trucks and will improve traffic safety.
  16. Construction of passing lanes on 32-mile section of US 85 from Cheyenne towards Torrington.  Freight traffic, particularly oil rigs, continues to increase on this route as a result of oil production in the Niobrara Oil Play.  This $8.6 million project will help accommodate increased oil production in the area and improve traffic safety.
  17. Widening and modernizing a 22-mile portion of Wyoming 450 from Newcastle to Wright in Campbell County. This project will improve access to coal mines in the Powder River Basin area and allow recovery of additional coal.  This $40 million project will also improve regional traffic safety.
  18. Widening a 10.5-mile portion of Wyoming 59 north of Douglas in Converse County. The $28 million project will ease growing commuter and freight traffic congestion headed into the Wyoming Powder River Basin low sulfur coal fields.  The modernization of this roadway will also improve traffic safety.
  19. Modernizing a 7-mile portion of Wyoming 132 in Fremont County. This $14 million project would reconstruct and replace a bridge on a section of roadway in the Ethete area, which serves the Wind River Indian Reservation.  The improvement of this route will enhance economic development opportunities in this area and improve traffic safety.
  20. Widening and resurfacing US 189 between LeBarge and Big Piney in Sublette County. This $10 million project will improve access to the region’s oil and gas fields, and will improve traffic safety.
  21. Reconstructing a 7.5-mile portion of US 287 through the Wind River Indian Reservation in Fremont County. The $18 million improvement to this route will improve access to the Reservation as well as to Teton and Yellowstone national parks.  This project will improve traffic safety and benefit tourism and agriculture.
  22. Adding an interchange and reconstructing a portion of Blairtown Road in Rock Springs. This $15 million project will improve access to Interstate 80 in a region that is experiencing significant growth because of its proximity to nearby gas and oil fields.  This project will open new areas for commercial and industrial growth and improve traffic safety.
  23. Widening a portion of US 191 in Pinedale from two lanes to five lanes. The $3.7 million project in Sublette County would improve access to nearby oil and gas fields and improve traffic safety on this route.
  24. Widening and adding turn lanes to eight miles of Big Piney Road in Sublette County. The $3 million project would improve access to nearby oil and gas fields and improve traffic safety on this route.
  25. Construction of Speedway Road to connect I-25 to US 85 in Cheyenne. This $4.5 million project would construct a 1.5 mile connector road between two major highways in the region.  The project will improve access to a new industrial park in the area and enhance commercial and residential development opportunities along this corridor.

For the the full TRIP Report, click here

For details on the 25 above noted projects, click here

Sources of data for this report include the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT), the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), and the U.S. Census Bureau.  All data used in the report is the latest available.