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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                            Contact: Carolyn Bonifas Kelly 703.801.9212 (cell)
Thursday, February 23, 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 Bowling Green, Lexington, Louisville, Northern Kentucky and Owensboro urban areas.  Info-graphics for each area can be downloaded here.

Louisville, KY – Roads and bridges that are deficient, congested or lack some desirable safety features cost Kentucky motorists a total of $4 billion statewide annually - $1,899 per driver in the Louisville 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 Kentucky, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization.

The TRIP report, “Kentucky Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout Kentucky, 16 percent of major, locally and state-maintained urban roads are in poor condition and eight percent of Kentucky’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 3,500 people were killed in crashes on Kentucky’s roads from 2011 to 2015.

Driving on Louisville area roads costs the average driver $1,899 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 Bowling Green, Lexington, Louisville, Northern Kentucky and Owensboro urban areas. A breakdown of the costs per motorist in each area along with a statewide total is below.

The TRIP report finds that 48 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads in the Louisville urban area are in poor or mediocre condition, costing the average motorist an additional $519 each year in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

“Mayor Fischer and Metro Council made a major financial commitment to our transportation infrastructure in last year’s budget,” said John Callihan, director of transportation for the Louisville Metro Government.  “The TRIP report identifies the challenges of the current situation and our Metro’s MOVE Louisville transportation plan presents a vision for where we want to be. Additional funding is needed to address those challenges and move us towards that vision.”

Traffic congestion in the Louisville area is worsening, causing 43 annual hours of delay for the average motorist and costing each driver $1,048 annually in lost time and wasted fuel.

Eight percent of Kentucky’s bridges are structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components. In the Louisville urban area, nine percent of bridges are structurally deficient.

Traffic crashes in Kentucky claimed the lives of 3,538 people between 2011 and 2015. Kentucky’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.56 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is the fourth highest in the nation and significantly higher than the national average of 1.13. In the Louisville urban area, on average, 84 people were killed in traffic crashes in each of the last three years. 

The efficiency and condition of Kentucky’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy.  Annually, $502 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Kentucky, mostly by truck. Seventy-six percent of the goods shipped annually to and from sites in Kentucky are carried by trucks and another 13 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, Kentucky’s transportation system will become increasingly deteriorated and congested, hampering economic growth and quality of life of the state’s residents.”