Poor roadways cost Connecticut drivers $4.2 billion annually
Brian Ethridge | December 23, 2014
Deficient roads and bridges cost Connecticut drivers a total of $4.2 billion statewide annually, and as much as $1,900 per driver in some areas, due to higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays, according to the latest TRIP Report.
The report, “Connecticut Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility,” finds that, throughout Connecticut, 41 percent of major urban roads and highways are in poor condition. More than one-third of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.
Due to the condition of Connecticut’s roadways, the state’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, with drivers wasting significant amounts of time and fuel each year. And, Connecticut’s rural non-interstate traffic fatality rate is more than three times the fatality rate on all other roads in the state.
Driving on deficient roads costs each Connecticut driver as much as $1,925 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 cost of traffic crashes in which roadway features likely were a contributing factor.
According to the TRIP report finds, 41 percent of major roads in Connecticut are rated in poor condition and an additional 41 percent rated in mediocre or fair condition. Only the remaining 18 percent of major roads are rated in good condition. Driving on deteriorated roads costs Connecticut drivers an additional $1.6 billion each year in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
“This report shows how deteriorated, overburdened transportation system continues to drain precious time and money from Connecticut commuters and businesses,” said U.S. Representative Jim Himes (CT-4). “Our transportation infrastructure is the foundation on which we build economic growth and create jobs, and we can’t afford to neglect it any longer. We need a long-term transportation bill that invests in our crumbling roads, bridges and railways to ensure the safety of our people and make our economy more competitive.”
Increasing levels of traffic congestion cause significant delays in Connecticut, particularly in its larger urban areas. 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.
A total of 35 percent of Connecticut’s bridges show significant deterioration or do not meet modern design standards. Ten percent of Connecticut’s bridges are structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components. An additional 25 percent of the state’s bridges are functionally obsolete, which means they no longer meet modern design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.
“This report does an excellent job quantifying what motorists all over Connecticut can tell you first hand—that our roads and bridges are in need of repair. Governor Malloy has announced that transportation will be a top priority in 2015, and for very good reason. Rebuilding our transportation infrastructure will support a great many jobs, and is essential to the health of our economy and our quality of life,” said Connecticut State Senator Bob Duff (D-Norwalk).
Traffic crashes in Connecticut claimed the lives of 1,262 people between 2008 and 2012 Connecticut’s non-Interstate rural roads are particularly deadly, with a fatality rate in 2012 of 1.95 traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel, more than three times the fatality rate of 0.62 on all other roads and highways in the state. Connecticut’s overall traffic fatality rate of 0.75 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is lower than the national average of 1.13.
The efficiency of Connecticut’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s 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.
Traffic crashes in Connecticut claimed the lives of 1,262 people between 2008 and 2012…
The Federal surface transportation program is a critical source of funding in Connecticut. From 2008 to 2012, the federal government provided $1.76 for road improvements in Connecticut for every dollar the state paid in federal motor fees. In July, Congress approved an eight-month extension of the federal surface transportation program, which will now run through May 31, 2015. The legislation will also transfer nearly $11 billion into the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) to preserve existing levels of highway and public transportation investment through the end of May 2015.
“These conditions are only going to worsen if greater funding is not made available at the state and federal levels,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Congress can help by approving a long-term federal surface transportation program that provides adequate funding levels, based on a reliable funding source. If not, Connecticut is going to see its future federal funding threatened, resulting in fewer road and bridge repair projects, loss of jobs and a burden on the state’s economy.”
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