TRIP Finds Bad Roads, Bridges Cost Massachusetts Drivers $8.3 billion a Year

AASHTO Journal, 24 October 2014

A new report from the research and infrastructure advocacy group TRIP estimates Massachusetts drivers are paying $8.3 billion annually in costs stemming from deficient roads and bridges, and called for more “significant investment” in transportation improvements at local, state and federal levels.

TRIP, which stands for The Road Information Program, said the costs could be up to $1,913 per driver each year from congestion delays, extra vehicle repairs and traffic crashes linked to bad infrastructure.

It said putting money into upgrades would ease congestion as it improves road and bridge conditions, boost safety and support long-term economic growth.

TRIP issued the report Oct. 21, just two weeks before Massachusetts voters would decide a ballot question that could undo a transportation revenue measure enacted in 2013. The ballot question is whether to repeal the earlier law that allows motor fuel taxes to rise with inflation.

Among its finding, TRIP said “52 percent of Massachusetts’ bridges show significant deterioration or do not meet modern design standards,” including 43 percent that are functionally obsolete – meaning “they do not meet modern design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment.”

Here is the full 22-page report.

“The TRIP report is the latest study documenting the desperate conditions of the state’s roads and bridges which pose public safety risks as well as major costs for Massachusetts drivers,” said Michael J. Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.

As to the ballot question, Widmer said, “Indexing of the gas tax was one of the key recommendations of the Transportation Finance Commission in order to raise the funds to maintain our roads and bridges and public transit systems.”

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