LA’s Deficient Roads Cost Drivers $3K Per Year: Highest in California

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Roads and bridges that are deteriorated, congested or lack some safety features cost California motorists a total of $61 billion annually due to higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays, according to a new report released by TRIP, a national transportation research organization.

The report also stated that the efficiency and condition of California’s transportation system, in particular its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Nearly $3 trillion in goods are shipped to and from sites in California, mostly by trucks, relying on the state’s freeways and bridges.

Adequate investment in transportation improvements at the local, state and federal levels is needed, says TRIP. The report noted that last year’s enactment of SB 1—The Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017—created $5.2 billion annually in state revenues for road and other infrastructure improvements. Noting that SB 1 is in danger of repeal by Proposition 6 on the November ballot, the report states: “The elimination of SB 1 revenues would reduce funds available in California for transportation projects to improve road, highway and bridge conditions, improve traffic safety … improve public transit and relieve traffic congestion.”

California Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility finds that throughout California, more than two-thirds of major locally and state-maintained roads are in poor or mediocre condition. 1,603 of California’s locally and state-maintained bridges (20 feet or longer) are structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components, and more than half of California’s bridges are at least 50 years old. In addition, California’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, causing significant delays and choking commuting and commerce.

TRIP calculated the cost to the average motorist in the state’s largest urban areas in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC) as a result of driving on rough roads, the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to traffic congestion, and the financial cost of traffic crashes. Of the 12 urban areas studied, the Los Angeles region fared the worse. Driving on Los Angeles-area roads costs the average driver $2,995 a year in extra vehicle operating costs.

“Until we invest in bringing our infrastructure into good repair, we will see these costs continue to climb,” said Hasan Ikhrata, executive director of the Southern California Association of Governments. “The poor conditions of our roads and bridges create losses not just for the economy, but for overall quality of life.”

In its conclusion, the report said, “If California is unable to maintain its current level of transportation investment, the cost to the public of deficient roads, traffic congestion, and a lack of adequate roadway safety will increase and economic development opportunities and quality of life in the Golden State will be diminished.”

Southern California’s regional reports are available here.

Southern California Partnership for Jobs supports infrastructure investment. We advocated for the passage of SB 1, a new transportation funding source that is becoming ever more critical for California. We oppose any efforts to repeal SB 1 that would rob our communities of vital road safety and transportation improvement funds.

No on Prop 6: Stop the Attack on Bridge and Road Safety.

Source: TRIP

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