FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Report available at: tripnet.org
ROCKFORD MOTORISTS LOSE NEARLY $2,000 PER YEAR ON ROADS THAT ARE ROUGH, CONGESTED & LACK SOME SAFETY FEATURES – $18.3 BILLION STATEWIDE. LACK OF FUNDING WILL LEAD TO FURTHER DETERIORATION, INCREASED CONGESTION AND HIGHER COSTS TO MOTORISTS
Eds.: The report includes regional pavement conditions, bridge conditions, congestion levels, highway safety data, and cost breakdowns for the Chicago, Champaign-Urbana, Metro East, Peoria-Bloomington, Rockford, and Springfield areas and bridge condition and safety data for the Southern Illinois area. 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 $18.3 billion statewide annually – $1,981 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 research nonprofit.
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 two-fifths of major locally and state-maintained roads are in poor or mediocre condition and eight percent of locally and state-maintained bridges (20 feet or more in length) are rated poor/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 $1,981 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 63 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 $680 each year in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.
“This report highlights how expensive it can be for Illinois drivers when the state does not maintain its basic infrastructure,” said Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Maisch. “A stronger transportation system is vital to stronger business and a stronger Illinois. We must act now to improve our economy and quality of life in Illinois through infrastructure investment.”
Eight percent of Illinois’ bridges are rated poor/structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components. In the Rockford area, six percent of bridges are rated poor/structurally deficient.
“Poorly maintained roads are both a financial burden and safety hazard for Illinois motorists,” said Nick Jarmusz, midwest director of public affairs for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “The investments necessary to rebuild our infrastructure would cost a fraction of what drivers are currently paying in the form of additional vehicle expenses, to say nothing of the increased risk of crashes and injuries.”
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 $594 annually in lost time and wasted fuel.
“The data outlined in this report demonstrates the critical transportation and infrastructure issues our state faces,” said Illinois Municipal League (IML) Executive Director Brad Cole. “At the municipal level, IML has gathered project information for billions of dollars of transportation and infrastructure needs. We are excited to partner with organizations like the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce, to get a comprehensive infrastructure plan done now.”
Traffic crashes in Illinois claimed the lives of nearly 5,100 people between 2013 and 2017. Illinois’ overall traffic fatality rate of 1.02 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2017 is lower than the national average of 1.16. The fatality rate on Illinois’ non-interstate rural roads is approximately two-and-a-half times higher than on all other roads in the state (2.09 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.82). In the Rockford area, on average, 35 people were killed in traffic crashes each year from 2015 to 2017. The financial impact of traffic crashes costs each Rockford area driver an average of $707 annually.
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 and from 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 federal, 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.”