National 'Bottom Line Report' outlines critical need
to invest in highways, bridges
American Association of State Highway and Transportaton Officials
WASHINGTON, D.C. -
By 2015, governments at all levels will need to more than double their spending on highways and bridges to keep up with increased traffic, freight congestion, the demands of aging highways and bridges, and the growth of the nation’s population. Transit spending would need to quadruple to serve increased ridership.
In exchange, smoother roads, less time lost to congestion, expanded transit service and substantial savings in vehicle owner costs are the benefits Americans can expect.
These findings, among others, are included in the Bottom Line report, released today by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).
In 2006, federal, state and local governments spent $79 billion on highways and bridges. However, investment of $166 billion a year is required, if the number of miles driven increases at an expected rate of 1.4 percent a year. If transit ridership grows yearly by 3.5 percent, investment would have to increase to $59 billion annually. In 2006, transit investment was $13.3 billion.
In addition, the report finds that another $13 billion would be needed annually for areas such as environmental mitigation, highway operations, safety programs and security.
“We are a growing nation, adding 150 million people every 50 years,” said John Horsley, AASHTO Executive Director. “Ninety percent of miles traveled by Americans in this vast country are on highways. To meet the nation’s needs we must preserve the highway and transit systems built over the last century and add capacity to keep America competitive in the world economy and meet growing mobility needs here at home.”
“Americans are riding public transportation at record levels, with 10.7 billion trips taken in 2008, the highest in 52 years.” said William W. Millar, president of the American Public Transportation Association. “If we are to meet this growing demand, as well as meet our
Country’s economic, energy and environmental challenges, the United States must significantly increase public transit investment to the levels recommended in this report.”
Using modeling techniques to project the impacts of highway improvement projects, the Bottom Line Report indicates that roads will be markedly smoother, speed levels will increase by about 5 percent, and hours of delay will decline by 16.5 percent, meaning drivers will save about 12 hours per year they would otherwise spend sitting in traffic. User costs would drop by about $27 per 1000 miles driven, for a savings of more than $400 per car each year.
“The economic analysis used to develop this report clearly shows that the benefits of this investment will exceed the costs. They will pay for themselves in terms of benefits to economic growth, productivity and personal savings of time and money. It’s the kind of value taxpayers have the right to expect.” Horsley said.
The report chronicles many factors that will shape the nation’s travel in the next decades, including:
Prodigious growth in freight, which is expected to triple once the nation rebounds from the economic slowdown. Truck traffic is expected to carry two-thirds of domestic tonnage.
Expansion of the nation’s cities which will require new roads, bridges and mass transit.
Travel growth of a modest 1.4 percent per year, which will increase the 2.9 million miles traveled in 2008 to some 3.3 trillion by the end of the next authorization cycle.
The Bottom Line report can be accessed on the AASHTO website at www.transportation.org.
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The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) is the “Voice of Transportation” representing State Departments of Transportation in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. AASHTO is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association serving as a catalyst for excellence in transportation.