Roads and bridges that are deteriorated, congested or lack some desirable safety features cost Missouri motorists a total of $8 billion statewide annually – up to $1,917 per driver in some urban areas – due to higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays. Increased investment in transportation improvements at the local, state and federal levels could relieve traffic congestion, improve road, bridge and transit conditions, boost safety, and support long-term economic growth in Missouri, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation research nonprofit.
The TRIP report, “Missouri Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout Missouri, more than half of major locally and state-maintained roads are in poor or mediocre condition, nine percent of locally and state-maintained bridges (20 feet or more in length) are rated poor/structurally deficient, and 4,431 people lost their lives on the state’s roads from 2014-2018. Missouri’s major urban roads are congested, causing significant delays and choking commuting and commerce. The TRIP report includes regional pavement and bridge conditions, congestion data, highway safety data, and cost breakdowns for the Columbia-Jefferson City, Kansas City, St. Louis and Springfield urban areas and statewide.
Driving on deficient roads in Missouri costs drivers a total of $8 billion per year – as much as $1,917 per motorists- 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. A breakdown of the costs per motorist in the state’s largest urban areas, along with a statewide total, is below.
The TRIP report finds that 25 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads in Missouri are in poor condition and another 27 percent are in mediocre condition, costing the state’s drivers $3.3 billion each year in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear. Eighteen percent of the state’s major roads are in fair condition and the remaining 30 percent are in good condition.
“The TRIP report confirms what we know about the deficiencies in the condition of our transportation system in Missouri – there are not enough resources to properly maintain it,” said Patrick McKenna, director of the Missouri Department of Transportation. “Missouri’s basic infrastructure condition will continue to get worse until the proper funding is addressed.”
Statewide, drivers lose $2.3 billion annually as a result of lost time and wasted fuel due to traffic congestion. Traffic congestion causes up to 47 annual hours of delay for the average motorist and costs the average driver as much as $898 annually in lost time and wasted fuel. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, vehicle travel in Missouri dropped by as much as 38 percent in April 2020 compared to vehicle travel during the same month the previous year, but rebounded to six percent below the previous year’s volume in September 2020.
Statewide, nine percent of bridges are rated poor/structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components. Forty-eight percent of Missouri’s bridges are rated fair and the remaining 43 percent are rated in good condition.
Traffic crashes in Missouri claimed the lives 4,431 people between 2014 and 2018. Missouri’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.20 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2018 is higher than the national average of 1.13. Traffic crashes imposed a total of $7.2 billion in economic costs in Missouri in 2018 and traffic crashes in which a lack of adequate roadway safety features were likely a contributing factor imposed $2.4 billion in economic costs.
“MoDOT, which was recently rated by the Reason Foundation as the nation’s second most efficient state transportation department, is doing an exceptional job with very limited resources. Bottom line, current funding is simply inadequate to support Missouri’s role as the crossroads for the nation’s logistics,” said Len Toenjes, CAE, president of the Associated General Contractors of Missouri. “Responsibility clearly lies with the Missouri Legislature to provide the proper level of transportation funding investment to propel Missouri’s economy forward during its 2021 legislative session.”
The efficiency and condition of Missouri’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Annually, $469 billion in goods are shipped to and from Missouri, relying heavily on the state’s network of roads and bridges. 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. The design, construction and maintenance of transportation infrastructure in Missouri supports approximately 79,000 full-time jobs across all sectors of the state economy. Approximately 1.3 million full-time jobs in Missouri in key industries like tourism, retail sales, agriculture and manufacturing are dependent on the quality, safety and reliability of the state’s transportation infrastructure network.“These conditions are only going to get worse, increasing the additional costs to motorists, if greater investment is not made available at the federal, state and local levels of government,” said Dave Kearby, TRIP’s executive director. “Without adequate funding, Missouri’s transportation system will become increasingly deteriorated and congested, hampering economic growth, safety and quality of life.”
Missouri KEY Transportation
THE HIDDEN COSTS OF DEFICIENT ROADS
Driving on Missouri roads that are deteriorated, congested and that lack some desirable safety features costs Missouri drivers a total of $8 billion each year. TRIP has calculated the cost to the average motorist in the state’s largest urban areas in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC) as a result of driving on rough roads, the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to congestion, and the financial cost of traffic crashes. The chart below shows the cost of deficient roads statewide and for the average driver in the state’s largest urban areas.
MISSOURI ROADS PROVIDE A ROUGH RIDE
Due to inadequate state and local funding, 52 percent of major roads and highways in Missouri are in poor or mediocre condition. Driving on rough roads costs the average Missouri driver $762 annually in additional vehicle operating costs – a total of $3.3 billion statewide. The chart below details pavement conditions on major roads in the state’s largest urban areas and statewide.
MISSOURI BRIDGE CONDITIONS
Nine percent (2,116 bridges) of Missouri’s bridges (including those 20 feet or longer) are rated in poor/structurally deficient condition. Bridges that are rated poor/structurally deficient have significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. Forty-eight percent (11,817) of the state’s bridges are rated in fair condition and the remaining 43 percent (10,579) are in good condition. Most bridges are designed to last 50 years before major overhaul or replacement, although many newer bridges are being designed to last 75 years or longer. In Missouri, 40 percent of the state’s bridges were built in 1969 or earlier. The chart below details bridge conditions statewide and in the state’s largest urban areas.
MISSOURI ROADS ARE INCREASINGLY CONGESTED
In 2018, the state’s transportation system carried 76.6 billion annual vehicle miles of travel (VMT), a 14 percent increase since 2000. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, vehicle travel in Missouri dropped by as much as 38 percent in April 2020 (as compared to vehicle travel during the same month the previous year), but rebounded to six percent below the previous year’s volume in September 2020.
Congested roads choke commuting and commerce and cost Missouri drivers $2.3 billion each year in the form of lost time and wasted fuel. In the most congested urban areas, drivers lose up to $898 and spend as many as 47 hours per year sitting in traffic as a result of congestion. The chart below shows the annual number of hours lost to congestion per driver and the average cost per driver of lost time and wasted fuel due to congestion in the state’s largest urban areas.
MISSOURI TRAFFIC SAFETY AND FATALITIES
From 2014 to 2018, 4,431 people were killed in traffic crashes in Missouri. In 2018, Missouri had 1.20 traffic fatalities for every 100 million miles traveled, higher than the national average of 1.13. The fatality rate on Missouri’s non-interstate rural roads in 2018 was nearly double that on all other roads in the state (1.76 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.91).
Traffic crashes imposed a total of $7.2 billion in economic costs in Missouri in 2018 and traffic crashes in which a lack of adequate roadway safety features were likely a contributing factor imposed $2.4 billion in economic costs. The chart below shows the number of people killed in traffic crashes in the state’s largest urban areas between 2014 and 2018, and the cost of traffic cashes per driver.
MISSOURI TRANSPORTATION FUNDING
The ability of revenue from Missouri’s motor fuel tax – a critical source of state transportation funds – to keep pace with the state’s future transportation needs is likely to erode as a result of increasing vehicle fuel efficiency and the increasing use of electric vehicles. The average fuel efficiency of U.S. passenger vehicles increased from 20 miles per gallon in 2010 to 24.5 miles per gallon in 2020. Average fuel efficiency is expected to increase another 31 percent by 2030, to 32 miles per gallon, and increase 51 percent by 2040, to 37 miles per gallon. The share of electric vehicles of total passenger vehicle sales in the U.S. is expected to increase to five percent by 2023 and to 60 percent by 2040, by which time they will represent approximately 30 percent of the passenger vehicle fleet.
The current federal transportation legislation, Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), was set to expire on September 30, 2020. Congress extended it by one year to September 30, 2021. The FAST Act is a major source of funding for road, highway and bridge repairs in Missouri. Throughout the initial five years of the FAST-Act – fiscal years 2016 to 2020 – the program provided more than $5 billion to Missouri for road repairs and improvements, an average of $1 billion per year. From 2014 to 2018, the federal government provided $1.17 for road improvements in Missouri for every $1.00 state motorists paid in federal highway user fees, including the federal state motor fuel tax.
From 2014 to 2018, federal funds provided for highway improvements were the equivalent of 85 percent of the amount of Missouri capital outlays on road, highway and bridge projects, including construction, engineering and right-of-way acquisition.
TRANSPORTATION AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
The health and future growth of Missouri’s economy is riding on its transportation system. Each year, $469 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Missouri. The value of freight shipped to and from sites in Missouri, in inflation-adjusted dollars, is expected to increase 81 percent by 2045 and 76 percent for goods shipped by trucks, placing an increased burden on the state’s already deteriorated and congested network of roads and bridges.
The amount of freight transported in Missouri and the rest of the U.S. is expected to increase significantly as a result of further economic growth, changing business and retail models, increasing international trade, and rapidly changing consumer expectations that place an emphasis on faster deliveries, often of smaller packages or payloads.
According to a report by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, the design, construction and maintenance of transportation infrastructure in Missouri support approximately 79,000 full-time jobs across all sectors of the state economy.
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), the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Visit TRIPNET.ORG for the full report.