TRIP Report: Maryland With Focus On Baltimore And Washington DC

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

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

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

TRIP estimates that Maryland’s roadways that lack some desirable safety features, have inadequate capacity to meet travel demands or have poor pavement conditions cost the state’s drivers approximately $7 billion annually in the form of traffic crashes, additional vehicle operating costs and congestion-related delays. In the Washington, D.C. metro area this cost is $2,296 per motorist each year, while the average Baltimore driver loses $2,226 annually.

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

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

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

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

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

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

FUTURE MOBILITY IN MARYLAND:

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

Executive Summary

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

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

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

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

Congress is currently deliberating over a long-range federal surface transportation program, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act – A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU).  SAFETEA-LU was originally set to expire on September 30, 2009. Following a series of short term extensions, the current program now expires March 4, 2011.  The level of funding and the provisions of a future federal surface transportation program will have a significant impact on future highway and bridge conditions and safety as well as the level of transit service in Maryland, which, in turn, will affect the state’s ability to improve its residents’ quality of life and enhance economic development opportunities.

Insufficient roads cost Maryland’s drivers a total of $7 billion every year in the form of traffic crashes, additional vehicle operating costs (VOC) and congestion-related delays.

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

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

  • Numerous projects throughout the state are needed, but can not move forward under current funding conditions. These projects include, but are not limited to, the following: improvements to the I-95/I-495 Interchange; widening portions of I-70 and I-695; constructing a new bridge on Watkins Mill Road over I-270 in Gaithersburg; widening the I-495American Legion Bridge; implementing new transit lines (such as the red line and purple line); and installing various pedestrian and bike trails throughout the state.
  • Federal spending levels for highways and public transit are based on the current federal surface transportation program, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act – A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), which was approved by Congress in 2005.  Following a series of short-term extensions, the SAFETEA-LU program expires on March 4, 2011.
  • To ensure that federal funding for highways and bridges in Maryland and throughout the nation continues beyond the expiration of SAFETEA-LU, Congress needs to approve a new long-term federal surface transportation program by March 4, 2011.
  • The Federal Highway Administration estimates that each dollar spent on roads, highway and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 in the form of decreased vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, lower fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffic flow.

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

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

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

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

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

  • In 2008, 26 percent of Maryland’s roads were rated in poor condition and 18 percent were rated in mediocre condition.
  • Roads rated in poor condition may show signs of deterioration, including rutting, cracks and potholes.  In some cases, poor roads can be resurfaced, but often are too deteriorated and must be reconstructed.  Roads rated in mediocre condition may show signs of significant wear and may also have some visible pavement distress.  Most pavements in mediocre condition can be repaired by resurfacing, but some may need more extensive reconstruction to return them to good condition.
  • Roads in need of repair cost each Maryland motorist an average of $422 annually in extra vehicle operating costs – $1.6 billion statewide.  Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
  • In the Baltimore area, where 46 percent of major roads are in poor condition and an additional 23 percent are in mediocre condition, driving on roads in need of repair costs the average motorist $603 per year.
  • In the Washington, DC metro area, which includes the Maryland suburbs, 31 percent of major roads are in poor condition and 29 percent are in mediocre condition, costing area drivers $462 each year.
  • The functional life of Maryland’s roads is greatly affected by the state’s ability to perform timely maintenance and upgrades to ensure that structures last as long as possible.  It is critical that roads are fixed before they require major repairs because reconstructing roads costs approximately four times more than resurfacing them.

Twenty-five percent of bridges in Maryland show significant deterioration or do not meet current design standards.  This includes all bridges that are 20 feet or more in length and are maintained by state, local and federal agencies.

  • Seven percent of Maryland’s bridges were structurally deficient in 2010.  A bridge is structurally deficient if there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components.  When necessary, structurally deficient bridges are posted for lower weight or closed to traffic, restricting or redirecting large vehicles, including commercial trucks, school buses and emergency services vehicles.
  • Eighteen percent of Maryland’s bridges were functionally obsolete in 2010.  Bridges that are functionally obsolete no longer meet current highway design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.

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

  • Between 2004 and 2008, 3,114 people were killed in traffic accidents in Maryland, an average of 623 fatalities per year.  Traffic fatalities declined to 550 in 2009.
  • Maryland’s traffic fatality rate was 1.07 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2008.
  • The traffic fatality rate in 2008 on Maryland’s non-Interstate rural roads was 2.08 traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel, which is nearly two-and-a-half times higher than the traffic fatality rate on all other roads and highways in the state (0.84).
  • The cost of serious traffic crashes in which roadway design was likely a contributing factor was approximately $1.6 billion in Maryland in 2008. In the Baltimore metro area, the cost of traffic crashes totals $405 per motorist. And in the Washington, DC metro area, traffic crashes cost each driver $279 per year. The cost of serious crashes includes lost productivity, lost earnings, medical costs and emergency services.
  • Several factors are associated with vehicle accidents that result in fatalities, including driver behavior, vehicle characteristics and roadway design.  It is estimated that roadway design is an important factor in one-third of fatal traffic accidents.
  • Where appropriate, highway improvements can reduce traffic fatalities and accidents while improving traffic flow to help relieve congestion.  Such improvements include removing or shielding obstacles; adding or improving medians; adding rumble strips, wider lanes, wider and paved shoulders; upgrading roads from two lanes to four lanes; and better road markings and traffic signals.

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

  • Annually, $131 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Maryland and another $204 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Maryland, mostly by trucks.
  • Eighty-one percent of the goods shipped annually from sites in Maryland are carried by trucks and another 13 percent are carried by by parcel, U.S. Postal Service or courier services, which use trucks for part of the deliveries.
  • The tonnage of freight transported into, out of, within, and through Maryland is estimated to increase by about 105 percent from 2006 levels by 2035.
  • The provision of adequate freight mobility in the state is threatened by a lack of double-stack rail capacity, a shortage of truck parking, increasing demand on rural highway corridors, urban interchange bottlenecks and a need for improved intermodal connections.
  • A 2007 analysis by the Federal Highway Administration found that every $1 billion invested in highway construction would support approximately 27,800 jobs, including approximately 9,500 in the construction sector, approximately 4,300 jobs in industries supporting the construction sector, and approximately 14,000 other jobs induced in non-construction related sectors of the economy.

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

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

The findings of the two reports were also supported by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, in its recommendations for a future federal surface transportation program, which calls for a significant expansion of transit capacity and ridership.

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

Key recommendations of the reports and AASHTO include:

Program format:

  • Adopt an integrated approach to transportation planning that includes freight and goods movement and stresses intermodal connectivity (Miller).
  • Prioritize projects that provide the greatest returns in terms of future U.S. competitiveness, economic growth and employment (Miller).
  • Increase emphasis on urban congestion relief, including adding additional roadway and transit capacity, making the existing system work more efficiently and adopting regional policies that may reduce some travel demand (Miller).
  • Improve the delivery of transportation projects by reforming the project planning, permitting and review process to speed actual implementation (Miller).
  • Establish a national goal of doubling transit ridership by 2030 as a way to relieve traffic congestion, conserve fuel, reduce emissions and support emergency preparedness (AASHTO).

Funding:

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

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

*