DEFICIENT COLORADO ROADS COST DRIVERS $6.8 BILLION ANNUALLY – AS MUCH AS $2,200 PER DRIVER. COSTS WILL RISE AND CONDITIONS WILL WORSEN WITHOUT INCREASED TRANSPORTATION FUNDING
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.Tweet
Denver, 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 – as much as $2,162 per driver in some urban 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 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 Colorado roads costs the state’s drivers $6.8 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. 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 41 percent of Colorado’s major locally and state-maintained urban roads are in poor condition, while 43 percent are rated in mediocre or fair condition, and the remaining 15 percent are rated in good condition. Driving on deteriorated roads costs Colorado drivers $2.3 billion each year in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
“Business leaders around our state see Colorado trailing states such as Utah and Texas, two of our biggest competitors, on key commerce and tourism opportunities due to outdated, unmaintained and congested roadways,” said Jeff Wasden, president of the Colorado Business Roundtable. “We can no longer kick this can down the road and this report makes that connection in a very real way.”
Increasing levels of traffic congestion cause significant delays in Colorado, particularly in its larger urban areas, choking commuting and commerce. 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.
“Investing in our transportation infrastructure is absolutely critical to creating jobs and fostering a healthy economy,” said Loren Furman, senior vice president of state and federal affairs for the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry. “Transportation is, without a doubt, the number one priority for our members.”
Six percent of Colorado’s bridges are structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components.
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. Traffic crashes in Colorado imposed a total of $4.9 billion in economic costs in 2015. TRIP estimates that traffic crashes in which roadway features were likely a contributing factor imposed $1.6 billion in economic costs in 2015.
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.”