New Report Shows Deficient Roadways Cost Missouri Drivers As Much As $1,500 Annually
Roads and bridges that are deficient, congested or lack desirable safety features cost Missouri motorists a total of $4.5 billion statewide annually - as much as $1,500 per driver - 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 and bridge 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 organization.
The TRIP report, "Missouri Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State's Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility," finds that throughout Missouri, 22 percent of major locally and state-maintained major roads are in poor condition. Twenty-three percent of Missouri's bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. The state's major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, with drivers wasting significant amounts of time and fuel each year. And, more than 4,000 people were killed in crashes on the state's roads in the last five years.
Driving on deficient roads costs Missouri driver as much as $1,500 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. The TRIP report calculated the cost to motorists of insufficient roads in Jefferson City, Kansas City, Springfield and St. Louis.
Twenty-two percent of Missouri's major roads and highways have pavements in poor condition, while an additional 48 percent of the state's major roads are rated in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 30 percent are rated in good condition.
"Missouri has the seventh largest highway system in the nation, but ranks 46th in revenue spent per mile," said MoDOT Chief Financial Officer Roberta Broeker. "That kind of under-investment has consequences, including an impact to safety and economic growth. While we are committed to do the best we can with limited resources, we know the condition of our system will deteriorate without additional investment."
A total of 23 percent of Missouri's bridges show significant deterioration or do not meet modern design standards. Thirteen percent of Missouri's bridges are structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components. An additional 10 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.
Missouri's overall traffic fatality rate of 1.09 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is the same as the national average. Traffic crashes in Missouri claimed the lives of 4,068 people between 2009 and 2013. The state's rural roads have a significantly higher rate of fatal vehicle crashes, with a traffic fatality rate of 1.96 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel, nearly triple the 0.68 fatality on all other roads in the state.
The efficiency and condition of Missouri's transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state's economy. Annually, $226 billion in goods are shipped from sites in Missouri and another $234 billion in goods are shipped to sites in Missouri, mostly by truck.
The Federal surface transportation program is a critical source of funding in Missouri. From 2009 to 2013, the federal government provided $1.31 for road improvements in Missouri for every dollar the state paid in federal motor fuel fees. In July 2014 Congress approved an eight-month extension of the federal surface transportation program, which will now run through May 31, 2015. The legislation also transfers 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 get worse if greater funding is not made available at the local, state and federal levels," said Will Wilkins, TRIP's executive director. "Without additional transportation funding Missouri's transportation system will become increasingly deteriorated and congested, the state will miss out on opportunities for economic growth and quality of life will suffer."