Idaho drivers paying hidden cost for highway conditions
$318 statewide; $597 in Boise urban area
The results of a collaborative national study released last week confirmed what many Americans – including Idahoans – already knew. From coast to coast, and border to border, the condition of our highways continues to deteriorate.
On Friday, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and The Road Information Project (TRIP) released Rough Roads Ahead: Fix Them Now or Pay for It Later. They used information provided by the Federal Highway Administration to produce the exhaustive inventory of the highway conditions.
“Rough Roads Ahead” indicates 33 percent of the nation’s major highways are rated in poor or mediocre condition, costing drivers hundreds of additional dollars annually in vehicle operating costs. (See related story.)
Idaho motorists pay an estimated $318 in added vehicle operating expenses annually because of the state’s highway conditions, according to the report. In the Boise urban area, the additional costs are even higher, about $597.
due to rough roads
The extra highway-related costs in Idaho are considerably higher than what drivers pay in five adjoining states, the report indicates. Washington drivers pay about $266 annually and Wyoming motorists about $230. In Montana, Utah and Oregon, the cost is $195, $176 and $166 respectively.
Compared with other urban areas (populations of 250,000 to 499,000) the $596 that
Treasure Valley drivers pay more to operate their vehicles on deteriorating highways than those in 57 other urban areas (populations of 250,000 to 499,000) The only regions where operating costs are higher are: Santa Rosa, Calif., ($668); Antioch, Calif. ($652); Hemet, Calif. ($650); Jackson, Miss. ($638) and Trenton, N.J., ($620).
The AASHTO/TRIP report indicates 11 percent of Idaho’s highways are in poor condition, the same those in Washington. Oregon, Utah and Wyoming report only 4 percent poor and Montana indicates just 3 percent. About 57 percent of Idaho’s highways are classified “good” by the report; Montana’s are the best at 76 percent and Utah’s is the lowest at 51 percent.
Among 10 randomly selected comparable urban areas, the Treasure Valleys are rated the worst, at 44 percent “poor” and just 20 percent “good.” In contrast, only 5 percent of the urban highways in Eugene are poor and 70 percent are considered good, and in Ogden-Layton (Utah), 4 percent are rated poor and 75 percent are good.
Pavement Conditions by State, 2007