Investment in Transportation Infrastructure in Nevada Would Save Drivers Billions, TRIP Report Says

AASHTO Journal, 5 April 2013

Drivers in Nevada pay a price of $2.1 billion per year for the state’s congested and aging roadways, according to a report released Thursday by transportation nonprofit group TRIP. A stronger investment in the state’s transportation infrastructure would cut down on those costs and increase safety while also providing for more economic opportunities, TRIP’s report says.

According to TRIP, the average Las Vegas area driver spends $1,464 per year on costs associated with congested and deteriorating roadways (through lost time sitting in traffic, wasted fuel, and traffic crashes). For drivers in the Reno/Carson City area, that number jumps to $1,698 per year. In addition, 51 percent of the state’s major locally- and state-maintained urban roads and highways are considered in either poor or mediocre condition. In Las Vegas, that number is a bit higher at 56 percent. However, in Reno/Carson City, that number stands at a high 86 percent. Nevada also experienced the largest increase in vehicle miles traveled of any state during the period of 1990-2011, TRIP said, with a 137 percent increase.

In order to fix these issues, TRIP and Nevada Department of Transportation estimated that about $2 billion is needed to address the backlog of state roads and bridges needing repair. Under current funding levels, that backlog is expected to increase to $3.4 billion by 2025.

“These key transportation numbers in Nevada 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 Nevada will require a significant boost in state and federal funding for road, highway and bridge improvements.”

Nevada Department of Transportation Director Rudy Malfabon said the report sheds light on the need for additional investment in transportation infrastructure in Nevada and across the entire country.

“The TRIP report contains critical information which highlights the benefits of investment in our transportation system,” Malfabon said. “The report provides information which is timely, as the Nevada State Legislature and the U.S. Congress consider the transportation needs of Nevada and the nation.”

TRIP had previously released a report regarding Nevada’s transportation infrastructure in March 2011. The report, “The Top 40 Surface Transportation Projects to Support Economic Growth in Nevada,” identified the most vital transportation projects to aid economic development in the state (see related AASHTO Journal story here).

TRIP’s 22-page report, “Nevada Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility,” is available here. ​​

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