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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                               Contact: Carolyn Bonifas Kelly 703.801.9212 (cell)
Thursday, June 21, 2018                                                              Rocky Moretti 202.262.0714 (cell)
Report available at: tripnet.org                                                     TRIP office 202.466.6706

CLEVELAND-AKRON MOTORISTS LOSE NEARLY $2,200 PER YEAR ON ROADS THAT ARE ROUGH, CONGESTED & LACK SOME SAFETY FEATURES - $12 BILLION STATEWIDE. INCREASED INVESTMENT HAS ALLOWED SOME CLEVELAND-AKRON TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS TO MOVE FORWARD, BUT MANY REMAIN STALLED DUE TO LACK OF FUNDING
Eds.: The report includes regional pavement conditions, congestion levels, highway safety data, and cost breakdowns for the Cincinnati, Cleveland-Akron, Columbus, Dayton and Toledo urban areas and lists of transportation projects in each area that have adequate funding to proceed by 2023, and projects that lack funding to proceed. Info-graphics for each area and statewide can be downloaded here

Cleveland, OH– Roads and bridges that are deteriorated, congested or lack some desirable safety features cost Ohio motorists a total of $12 billion statewide annually - $2,180 per driver in the Cleveland-Akron 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 Ohio, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation research organization.

The TRIP report, Modernizing Ohio’s Transportation System: Progress and Challenges in Providing Safe, Efficient and Well-Maintained Roads, Highways and Bridges,” finds that throughout Ohio, approximately one-third of major locally and state-maintained urban roads are in poor or mediocre condition, seven percent of locally and state-maintained bridges are structurally deficient, and increasing congestion is causing significant delays for commuters and businesses. TRIP’s report examines the impact of additional funds provided largely by the use of Ohio Turnpike bond proceeds, and documents the state’s significant short-term and long-term transportation funding shortfalls. It includes lists of needed transportation projects in the state’s largest urban areas that have adequate funding to proceed by 2023, and needed projects in each area that lack funding to proceed.

Driving on deficient roads in the Cleveland-Akron area costs the average driver $2,180 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 Cincinnati, Cleveland-Akron, Columbus, Dayton and Toledo urban areas. A breakdown of the costs per motorist in each area along with a statewide total is below.

While the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) was able to invest $2 billion in the state’s transportation system in 2017 and $2.35 billion in 2018, investment is set to drop to $1.85 billion in 2019 and to $1.7 billion in 2021. ODOT estimates it will face a transportation funding shortfall of $14 billion through 2040. Additional investment has allowed the state to move forward with needed transportation projects, but many projects remain stalled due to a lack of available funding. The chart below details projects in the Cleveland-Akron area that have adequate funding to proceed by 2023, and projects that lack funding to proceed prior to 2023.

The TRIP report finds that 49 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads in the Cleveland-Akron urban area are in poor condition and 21 percent are in mediocre condition, costing the average motorist an additional $873 each year in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear. Statewide, 23 percent of major urban roads are in poor condition and 12 percent are in mediocre condition.

“Ohio’s infrastructure has a huge impact on economic development and quality of life. The adequacy of infrastructure funding for our highway transportation system must be revisited by state and federal decision makers,” said Daniel P. Troy, Lake County commissioner and president of the County Commissioner Association of Ohio. “Counties are responsible for 60 percent of all bridges in Ohio, and we also maintain almost 29,000 county road miles. The federal government last adjusted the federal motor vehicle fuel tax in 1993, and Ohio last adjusted its fuel tax in 2005. The TRIP report underlines the significant maintenance needs here in Northeast Ohio. There are 10,356 miles of roadway in our NOACA region, and according to data from the agency’s Asset Management Program, an investment of $7 billion would be needed to bring this region’s roads and bridges to a standard definition of state of good repair. We must encourage action NOW to insure proper repair and reinvestment in our transportation system.”

Traffic congestion in the Cleveland-Akron area is worsening, costing the average driver $1,001 annually in lost time and wasted fuel. The average motorist in the Cleveland-Akron area loses 37 hours each year – nearly one full working week - stuck in traffic congestion.

Seven percent of Ohio’s bridges are structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components.

Traffic crashes in Ohio claimed the lives of 5,360 people between 2012 and 2016- an average of 1,072 fatalities per year. The fatality rate on Ohio’s non-interstate rural roads in 2016 was approximately two-and-a-half times higher than on all other roads in the state (1.84 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.71).

The efficiency and condition of Ohio’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy.  Annually, $1.1 trillion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Ohio, 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.

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