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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                Contact: Rocky Moretti 202.262.0714 (cell)
Wednesday, March 28, 2018                                                        
Carolyn Bonifas Kelly 703.801.9212 (cell)   
Report available at: tripnet.org                                                     TRIP office 202.466.6706

ROCKFORD MOTORISTS LOSE MORE THAN $1,900 PER YEAR ON ROADS THAT ARE ROUGH, CONGESTED & LACK SOME SAFETY FEATURES - $16.4 BILLION STATEWIDE. LACK OF FUNDING WILL LEAD TO FURTHER DETERIORATION, INCREASED CONGESTION AND HIGHER COSTS TO MOTORISTS
Eds.: The report includes regional pavement conditions, congestion levels, highway safety data, and cost breakdowns for the Chicago, Champaign-Urbana, Metro East, Peoria-Bloomington, Rockford and Springfield urban areas.  Info-graphics for each area can be downloaded here.

Rockford, IL– Roads and bridges that are deteriorated, congested or lack some desirable safety features cost Illinois motorists a total of $16.4 billion statewide annually - $1,935 per driver in the Rockford 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 Illinois, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization.

The TRIP report, Illinois Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout Illinois, more than one-third of major locally and state-maintained urban roads are in poor or mediocre condition and nine percent of locally and state-maintained bridges are structurally deficient. The report also finds that Illinois’ major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, causing significant delays and choking commuting and commerce.

Driving on roads in the Rockford area costs the average driver $1,935 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 Chicago, Champaign-Urbana, Metro East, Peoria-Bloomington, Rockford and Springfield urban areas.  A breakdown of the costs per motorist in each area, along with a statewide total, is below.

The TRIP report finds that 61 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads in the Rockford urban area are in poor or mediocre condition, costing the average motorist an additional $639 each year in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

“This report underscores what happens when there is no comprehensive, long term infrastructure investment program for the United States and State of Illinois,” said Einar Forsman, president and CEO of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.  “Rockford’s major economic assets are its transportation resources and we need to ensure their long term viability.”

Nine percent of Illinois’ bridges are structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components. In the Rockford area, eight percent of bridges are structurally deficient.

“Illinois’ infrastructure is vital to propel the state forward as an economic powerhouse,” said Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Maisch. “From Chicago to the Metro East, this report, which reflects similar numbers to that of Illinois state agencies, reveals the reality of Illinois’ transportation systems from congestion to safety. Knowing where our state stands in these areas is crucial to understanding our state’s needs.”

The Illinois Department of Transportation projects that, under current funding levels, the percentage of state-maintained roads and bridges in need of repairs will increase significantly in the next five years.

Traffic congestion in the Rockford area is worsening, causing 24 annual hours of delay for the average motorist and costing the average driver $573 annually in lost time and wasted fuel.

Traffic crashes in Illinois claimed the lives of 4,947 people between 2012 and 2016. Illinois’ overall traffic fatality rate of 1.01 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is lower than the national average of 1.18.  The fatality rate on Illinois’ non-interstate rural roads is approximately three times higher than on all other roads in the state (2.28 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.78). In the Rockford area, on average, 35 people were killed in traffic crashes in each of the last three years. The financial impact of traffic crashes costs each Rockford driver an average of $723 annually. 

“Illinois is home to the second largest public transportation system in the nation, covering our largest metropolitan area in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs.  Still, mobile sources represent the largest source of air pollution in Illinois, which is further exacerbated through traffic congestion in our urban areas,” said Illinois EPA Director Alec Messina. “We are focused on finding opportunities to fund projects that increase the use of public transportation and reduce congestion and environmental impacts.”

The efficiency and condition of Illinois’ transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy.  Annually, $2.9 trillion in goods are shipped to, from and within Illinois, relying heavily on the state’s network of roads and bridges. Increasingly, companies are looking at the quality of a region’s transportation system when deciding where to re-locate or expand. Regions with congested or poorly maintained roads may see businesses relocate to areas with a smoother, more efficient and more modern transportation system. The design, construction and maintenance of transportation infrastructure in Illinois supports 154,001 full-time jobs across all sectors of the state economy.

“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, Illinois’ transportation system will become increasingly deteriorated and congested, hampering economic growth, safety and quality of life.”