Years of Under Investment
Years of under-investment are taking a toll on our system and on our lives.
In 2006 America invested $92 billion in highway and transit capital improvements, but one congressional study says this is a drop in the bucket – and we need to spend three times as much annually as we do today to significantly improve the highway, transit, passenger rail and freight system.
- More than 37,000 lives were lost on the nation’s roads in 2008. Although this is the lowest number of traffic fatalities since 1961, it is still unacceptable and can be further lowered by making needed roadway safety improvements.
Increased costs to motorists
- The American public pays for poor road conditions twice – first through additional vehicle operating costs and then in higher repair and reconstruction costs. For the average driver, rough roads add $335 annually to typical vehicle operating costs. In urban areas with high concentrations of rough roads, extra vehicle operating costs can be as high as $746 annually.
- Maintaining a road in good condition is easier and less expensive than repairing one in poor condition. Spending $1 to keep a road in good condition precludes spending $7 to reconstruct it once it has fallen into poor condition. In addition to ride quality, smooth roads improve fuel efficiency, reduce vehicle wear and tear, improve driver safety, and last longer. Rough Roads Ahead
Increased costs to taxpayers due to rising construction costs
- The costs of materials used for road, highway, and bridge construction have increased by 55 percent over the last five years, further stretching the already thin and underfunded transportation budgets at the federal, state, and local level. The current level of national transportation investment would need to double in order to significantly improve the country's highway, transit, passenger rail, and freight systems.
- Due to decades of underfunding, the nation’s highway system had a backlog of investment requirements totaling $430 billion by 2006. With the extensive increases in construction costs, the backlog is considerably higher today. An overall estimate of the combined highway and bridge backlog is that, as of 2008, it had increased to about $490 billion.