LACK OF FUNDING WILL LEAD TO FURTHER DETERIORATION, INCREASED CONGESTION AND HIGHER COSTS TO MOTORISTS
Roads and bridges that are deteriorated, congested or lack some desirable safety features cost Kentucky motorists a total of $4.5 billion statewide annually – as much as $2,025 per driver in some 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 Kentucky, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation research nonprofit .
The TRIP report, “Kentucky Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout Kentucky, nearly 30 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads are in poor or mediocre condition, seven percent of locally and state-maintained bridges (20 feet or more in length) are rated poor/structurally deficient, and 3,773 people lost their lives on the state’s roads from 2014-2018. Kentucky’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, causing significant delays and choking commuting and commerce.
Driving on deficient Kentucky roads costs the state’s drivers $4.5 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 roadway 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 eight percent of major locally and state-maintained roads in Kentucky are in poor condition and another 21 percent are in mediocre condition, costing the state’s motorists an additional $1.2 billion each year in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear. Twenty-three percent of the state’s roads are in fair condition and the remaining 48 percent are in good condition.
Seven percent of Kentucky’s bridges are rated poor/structurally deficient, significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or othermajor components. Fifty-six percent of the state’s bridges are rated in fair condition and the remaining 36 percent 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 Kentucky, 41 percent of the state’s bridges were built in 1969 or earlier.
“Infrastructure investment in Kentucky is a top priority for the greater Louisville business community in 2020, not only for moving commerce and improving bottom lines, but as an important tool for business and job attraction,” said Rebecca Wood, COO and vice president of investor development for Greater Louisville Inc. “As a major logistics and manufacturing region that is within a day’s drive of two-thirds of the U.S. population, it is vital to greater Louisville’s economic future that lawmakers increase funding and support for infrastructure and roads.”
Traffic congestion in the state is worsening, causing up to 52 annual hours of delay for the average motorist in some urban areas and costing drivers up to $1,110 annually in lost time and wasted fuel. Statewide, drivers lose $1.7 billion annually as a result of lost time and wasted fuel due to traffic congestion.
“This new report continues to illustrate the serious needs we have throughout Kentucky. In order for greater Louisville to fully capitalize on our central location to attract jobs and compete in today’s 21st century economy, we must make the commitment to invest in our roads and bridges,” said Chris Dickinson, PE, senior principal of Wood Environment & Infrastructure Solutions and chair of Greater Louisville Inc.’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “The business community urges policymakers to take swift action to repair our crumbling infrastructure.”
Traffic crashes in Kentucky claimed the lives 3,773 people between 2014 and 2018. Kentucky’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.46 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2018 is the sixth highest in the nation and significantly higher than the national average of 1.13. Traffic crashes imposed a total of $4.8 billion in economic costs in Kentucky in 2018 and traffic crashes in which a lack of adequate roadway safety features were likely a contributing factor imposed $1.6 billion in economic costs.
The efficiency and condition of Kentucky’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Annually, $578 billion in goods are shipped to and from Kentucky, 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. Approximately 900,000 full-time jobs in Kentucky 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, Kentucky’s transportation system will become increasingly deteriorated and congested, hampering economic growth, safety and quality of life.”
KENTUCKY KEY TRANSPORTATION FACTS
THE HIDDEN COSTS OF DEFICIENT ROADS
Driving on Kentucky roads that are deteriorated, congested and that lack some desirable safety features costs Kentucky drivers a total of $4.5 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 details the cost of deficient roads statewide and for the average driver in the state’s largest urban areas.
KENTUCKY ROADS PROVIDE A ROUGH RIDE
Due to inadequate state and local funding, 29 percent of major roads and highways in Kentucky are in poor or mediocre condition. Driving on rough roads costs the average Kentucky driver $402 annually in additional vehicle operating costs – a total of $1.2 billion statewide. The chart below details pavement conditions on major roads in the state’s largest urban areas and statewide.
KENTUCKY BRIDGE CONDITIONS
Seven percent of Kentucky’s bridges are rated in poor/structurally deficient condition, meaning there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. Fifty-six percent of the state’s bridges are rated in fair condition and the remaining 36 percent 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 Kentucky, 41 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 area.
KENTUCKY ROADS ARE INCREASINGLY CONGESTED
Congested roads choke commuting and commerce and cost Kentucky drivers $1.7 billion each year in the form of lost time and wasted fuel. In the most congested urban areas, drivers lose up to $1,110 and as many as 52 hours per year sitting in congestion.
KENTUCKY TRAFFIC SAFETY AND FATALITIES
From 2014 to 2018, 3,773 people were killed in traffic crashes in Kentucky. In 2018, Kentucky had 1.46 traffic fatalities for every 100 million miles traveled, the sixth highest rate in the nation. The traffic fatality rate on Kentucky’s rural, non-Interstate roadways is approximately three times higher than on all other roads and the third highest rate in the nation.
Traffic crashes imposed a total of $4.8 billion in economic costs in Kentucky in 2018 and traffic crashes in which a lack of adequate roadway safety features were likely a contributing factor imposed $1.6 billion in economic costs.
The health and future growth of Kentucky’s economy is riding on its transportation system. Each year, $578 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Kentucky, mostly by trucks. Increases in passenger and freight movement will place further burdens on the state’s already deteriorated and congested network of roads and bridges. The value of freight shipped to and from sites in Kentucky, in inflation-adjusted dollars, is expected to increase 114 percent by 2045 and by 65 percent for goods shipped by trucks.
According to a report by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, the design, construction and maintenance of transportation infrastructure in Kentucky supports approximately 47,000 full-time jobs across all sectors of the state economy. These workers earn $1.6 billion annually. Approximately 900,000 full-time jobs in Kentucky in key industries like tourism, retail sales, agriculture and manufacturing are completely dependent on the state’s transportation network.
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