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Trip Studies Road Conditions


Twenty-four percent of the nation’s major metropolitan roads have pavements in poor condition, resulting in rough rides and costing the average urban motorist $402 annually in additional vehicle operating costs, according to a new report by TRIP, a national transportation research group

Twenty-four percent of the nationís major metropolitan roads have pavements in poor condition, resulting in rough rides and costing the average urban motorist $402 annually in additional vehicle operating costs, according to a new report by TRIP, a national transportation research group.

TRIPís report identifies the top 20 urban regions--with populations greater than 500,000--having the greatest share of major road and highway pavements in poor condition, and the top 20 urban regions where motorists pay the highest vehicle operating cost because of roads in poor condition. Driving on roads in disrepair increases consumer costs by accelerating vehicle deterioration and depreciation, increasing the frequency of needed maintenance, and increasing fuel consumption and tire wear. The report also provides urban pavement conditions and extra vehicle operating costs for urban regions with populations between 250,000 and 500,000.

ìWith state and local governments facing looming budget deficits and without a long-term federal surface-transportation program in place, road conditions are projected to get even worse in the future,î says TRIP Executive Director Will Wilkins. ìRepairing rough urban roads could ease the burden on drivers and provide a smoother ride while creating jobs and boosting the economy.î

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 nonconstruction sectors of the economy.

According to the Department of Transportation, through 2025, the country faces a $189 billion shortfall in the money needed to maintain urban roadways at their current condition; and a $375 billion shortfall exists for making significant urban roadway improvements. State transportation funding is threatened by the continuing fiscal crisis in state budgets, which in FY2010 prompted a $74.4 billion reduction in overall state spending. Statesí financial needs continue to far surpass expenditures, with the National Governors Association projecting total state shortfalls for 2010 ñ 2011 of more than $127 billion.

According to the report, transportation agencies can reduce pavement life-cycle costs by adopting a pavement preservation approach that emphasizes making early initial repairs to surfaces while they are still in good condition and the use of higher-quality paving materials, which reduces the cost of keeping roads smooth by delaying the need for costly reconstruction.