New report cites crumbling roads nationwide; NY, California worst

Transportation research group TRIP released a new study today showing that some of the nation’s most cash strapped states also have some of the most degraded roads. According to the study, 53% of urban roads in the New York City / Newark urban area are in poor condition, costing area drivers $640 each year in additional vehicle operating costs. Drivers in California’s major urban areas also spend $600 to $756 per year to operate their vehicles because of the potholes, deficient roadways and poor pavement in California’s urban communities.

The findings were released today in a report called, “Hold the Wheel Steady: America’s Roughest Rides and Strategies to Make our Roads Smoother.” Which examines urban pavement conditions, transportation funding and economic development. TRIP contends that nationwide, 24 percent of major metropolitan roads – interstates, freeways and other critical local routes – have pavements in poor condition, resulting in rough rides and costing the average urban motorist $402 annually in additional vehicle operating costs.

“With state and local governments facing looming budget deficits and without a long-term federal surface transportation program in place, road conditions are projected to get even worse in the future,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director.

The FHWA found that every $1 billion invested in highway construction would support approximately 27,800 jobs, including approximately 9,500 in the construction sector, approximately 4,300 jobs in industries supporting the construction sector, and approximately 14,000 other jobs induced in non-construction related sectors of the economy.

Congress is currently debating over the long-range federal surface transportation program as the current program was originally scheduled to expire on September 30, 2009. Following five short-term extensions by Congress, the legislation now expires on December 31, 2010.

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