FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
HARTFORD MOTORISTS LOSE NEARLY $2,400 PER YEAR ON ROADS THAT ARE ROUGH, CONGESTED & LACK SOME SAFETY FEATURES – $6.1 BILLION STATEWIDE. COSTS WILL RISE AND CONDITIONS WILL WORSEN WITHOUT INCREASED FUNDING
Eds.: The report includes regional pavement conditions, congestion levels, highway safety data, and cost breakdowns for the Bridgeport-Stamford, Hartford and New Haven urban areas.
Hartford, CT – Roads and bridges that are deteriorated, congested or lack some desirable safety features cost Connecticut motorists a total of $6.1 billion statewide annually – $2,355 per driver in the Hartford urban area – due to higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays. Increased investment in transportation improvements at the local and state levels could relieve traffic congestion, improve road, bridge and transit conditions, boost safety, and support long-term economic growth in Connecticut, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization.
The TRIP report, “Connecticut Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout Connecticut, nearly four-fifths of major, locally and state-maintained roads are in poor or mediocre condition and eight percent of Connecticut’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 1,200 people were killed on the state’s roads from 2011 to 2015.
Driving on Hartford area roads costs the average driver $2,355 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 the lack of adequate roadway safety features likely were a contributing factor. The TRIP report calculates the cost to motorists of insufficient roads in the Bridgeport-Stamford, Hartford and New Haven urban areas. A breakdown of the costs per motorist in each area along with a statewide total is below.
|Connecticut||$2.2 Billion||$2.4 Billion||$1.5 Billion||$6.1 Billion|
The TRIP report finds that 77 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads in the Hartford urban area are in poor or mediocre condition, costing the average motorist an additional $816 each year in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
“A generation ago, shortsighted and sporadic decisions were made that grossly underfunded our infrastructure and crippled our current transportation system,” said Representative Chris Perone, chief transportation financial officer for Connecticut House Democrats. “A strong economy is fueled by an efficient transportation system and making that happen needs to remain a priority.”
Traffic congestion in the Hartford area is worsening, causing 45 annual hours of delay for the average motorist and costing each driver $1,038 annually in lost time and wasted fuel.
“Our roads and bridges are decaying and the money in the state’s Special Transportation Fund (STF) is drying up. We are standing on the precipice of tragedy,” said Representative Tony Guerrera, house chair of the Connecticut Legislature’s Transportation Committee. “According to the TRIP report, a majority of our roads are in poor or mediocre condition. With electronic tolls we could have a dedicated revenue stream to lock away in the STF and ensure funding for our roads and bridges for decades to come.”
Eight percent of Connecticut’s bridges are structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components. In the Hartford urban area, eight percent of bridges are structurally deficient.
“Maintaining and improving our roads and bridges does not just save motorists time and money, it saves lives” says Amy Parmenter, AAA spokesperson in Greater Hartford. “With that in mind, AAA stands shoulder to shoulder with TRIP in asking our lawmakers to support sustainable investment in our transportation infrastructure – and to ensure money earmarked for such purposes cannot be diverted for any other use.”
Traffic crashes in Connecticut claimed the lives of 1,246 people between 2011 and 2015, an average of 249 fatalities per year. While Connecticut’s overall traffic fatality rate of 0.84 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is lower than the national average of 1.13, the state’s rural roads have a traffic fatality rate that is nearly double the fatality rate on all other roads in the state. In the Hartford urban area, on average, 66 people were killed in traffic crashes each year from 2013 to 2015.
The efficiency and condition of Connecticut’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Annually, $489 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Connecticut, mostly by truck. Eighty-six percent of the goods shipped annually to and from sites in Connecticut are carried by trucks and another 11 percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.
“The condition of Connecticut’s transportation system will worsen in the future without additional funding, leading to even higher costs for drivers,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “In order to promote economic growth, foster quality of life and get drivers safety and efficiently to their destination, Connecticut will need to make transportation funding a top priority.”