AASHTO Journal, 1 March 2013
In order to boost safety and save drivers from congestion and up to thousands of dollars in annual vehicle repair costs, additional investment in transportation infrastructure is necessary, according to a report released Thursday by the nonprofit organization TRIP.
The report also found that Maryland’s deteriorating transportation infrastructure is costing state taxpayers about $6.2 billion per year due to additional vehicle operating cost, lost time and wasted fuel during congestion, and traffic crashes. Baltimore area drivers, TRIP says, spend $1,781 due to those factors each year. Drivers in the Washington, D.C. area lose almost $2,200 per year because of those problems.
“These key transportation numbers in Maryland add up to trouble for the state’s residents in terms of deteriorated roads and bridges, reduced traffic safety, and constrained economic development,” said TRIP Executive Director Will Wilkins in a statement. “Improving road and bridge conditions, improving traffic safety, and providing a transportation system that will support economic development in Maryland will require a significant boost in state and federal funding for road, highway, and bridge improvements.”
“The findings of the TRIP report emphasize, once again, the need for further transportation investment in Maryland,” said Acting Transportation Secretary Darrell B. Mobley. “A blue-ribbon commission on transportation funding in Maryland has recommended obtaining $800 million annually in additional revenue. This new revenue could be evenly split between highways and transit to significantly address our state’s immediate statewide transportation shortfalls.”
TRIP found that more than 40 percent of Maryland’s major locally and state-maintained roads and highways are in poor or mediocre condition. About two-thirds of the roads in the Baltimore area and 62 percent in the Washington urban area are in poor or mediocre condition. About 25 percent of the state’s bridges were identified as needing repair, improvement, or replacement. Seven percent of Maryland’s bridges are structurally deficient, the TRIP report says, while 17 percent have been identified as functionally obsolete.
These issues are only likely to worsen in the future if nothing is done, as the number of vehicle miles traveled by Maryland drivers is expected to increase 20 percent by 2030 (as it already increased 39 percent from 1990 to 2011).
TRIP’s 19-page report, “Maryland Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility,” is available at TRIPnet.org.