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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                            Contact: Carolyn Bonifas Kelly 703.801.9212 (cell)
Wednesday, March 1, 2017                                      Rocky Moretti 202.262.0714 (cell)
Report available at:
tripnet.org                                TRIP office 202.466.6706


Eds.: The report includes regional pavement conditions, congestion levels, highway safety data, and cost breakdowns for the Colorado Springs, Denver, Northern Colorado, Grand Junction and Pueblo urban areas.  Info-graphics for each area can be downloaded here.

Grand Junction, CO – Roads and bridges that are deteriorated, congested or lack some desirable safety features cost Colorado motorists a total of $6.8 billion statewide annually - $1,264 per driver in the Grand Junction urban area - 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 Colorado, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization.

The TRIP report, Colorado Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout Colorado, 41 percent of major, locally and state-maintained urban roads are in poor condition and six percent of Colorado’s locally and state-maintained bridges are structurally deficient. The state’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, with drivers wasting significant amounts of time and fuel each year. And, more than 2,400 people were killed in crashes on Colorado’s roads from 2011 to 2015.

Driving on Grand Junction area roads costs the average driver $1,264 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. The TRIP report calculates the cost to motorists of insufficient roads in the Colorado Springs, Denver, Northern Colorado, Grand Junction and Pueblo urban areas. A breakdown of the costs per motorist in each area along with a statewide total is below.

The TRIP report finds that 76 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads in the Grand Junction urban area are in poor or mediocre condition, costing the average motorist an additional $629 each year in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

“We at the Grand Junction Economic Partnership recognize that a functioning transportation system has a direct correlation to economic development,” said Kristi Pollard, executive director of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership. “With its central location, and access to I-70 and US 50, Colorado’s Grand Valley is a natural epicenter of connectivity, poised for faster and less expensive transportation and distribution throughout the U.S. and Canada. Our ability to remain competitive economically depends in large part on the preservation of that system. The TRIP report calls attention to the need to make transportation funding a policy priority so that communities like ours can continue to thrive.”  

Traffic congestion in the Grand Junction area is worsening, causing 10 annual hours of delay for the average motorist and costing each driver $212 annually in lost time and wasted fuel.

Six percent of Colorado’s bridges are structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components. In the Grand Junction urban area, three percent of bridges are structurally deficient.

“The condition of our transportation network in western Colorado is a critically important contributor to our economic vitality,” said Christian Reece, executive director of Club 20. “Our needs may be different from the more urban areas of the state, but no less significant. The findings of this report highlight the need for our policymakers to make transportation funding a top priority this year.” 

Traffic crashes in Colorado claimed the lives of 2,434 people between 2011 and 2015. Colorado’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.08 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is lower than the national average of 1.13. In the Grand Junction urban area, on average, 19 people were killed in traffic crashes in each of the last three years. 

The efficiency and condition of Colorado’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy.  Annually, $323 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Colorado, mostly by truck. Seventy-five percent of the goods shipped annually to and from sites in Colorado are carried by trucks and another 21 percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.

“These conditions are only going to get worse, increasing the additional costs to motorists, if greater investment is not made available at the state and local levels of government,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Without adequate funding, Colorado’s transportation system will become increasingly deteriorated and congested, hampering economic growth and quality of life of the state’s residents.”