Pennsylvania made another Top 20 list this week, but not in a good way. The Scranton urban area ranks 17th among mid-size U.S. cities in terms of the percentage of roads in poor condition, according to TRIP, a national transportation research organization.
TRIP said 32 percent of the roads in the Scranton area are in poor condition, costing drivers an extra $539 per year in additional vehicle operating expenses.
“Driving on rough roads is more than just a nuisance for drivers,” said PHIA President Tom Lawson. “The deterioration of our transportation system impedes economic growth and robs drivers of hundreds of dollars each year. Without a significant boost in transportation funding at the federal, state and local level, conditions will continue to deteriorate, drivers will continue to pay the price, and our economy will suffer.”
TRIP said pavement conditions are likely to worsen under current state and federal funding. Through 2032, the U.S. faces a $156 billion shortfall in the amount needed to maintain roadways in their current condition, a $374 billion shortfall to make modest improvements in pavement conditions and a $670 billion shortfall to make significant improvements to roadway conditions. Read more
After the transportation funding bill stalled in the House earlier this summer, there was considerable discussion over what the “right” amount of funding would be. Sen. John Rafferty introduced Senate Bill 1, which would have raised $2.5 billion in additional revenue, but by the time the Senate voted 45 to 5 to support the bill, it seemed to be a foregone conclusion that the House would reduce it to something “more acceptable.”
Once the House stripped a half-billion dollars from the original measure, mostly in public transportation funds, there was little to no interest among Democrats in the House or Senate, many of whom come from more urban areas where the larger public transportation systems are. For that matter, Senate Republicans, including Senator Rafferty, said the House bill, as amended, fell short of a reasonable solution, and the measure did not go to the House floor.
But what is the real funding gap today? In 2010, the state Transportation Advisory Committee calculated it at $3.5 billion annually, a figure on which there was little or no disagreement. The TAC also projected that the gap was growing by nearly $1 million per day – about $880,000, to be precise.
So, today – three years later – Pennsylvania has added nearly a billion dollars to the annual funding gap, for a total of $4.5 billion. Given that, Senator Rafferty’s proposal would have made up a little more than half the current gap, while the House-amended measure would have made up less than half. Read more
Cutting highway and bridge work by 25 percent and sustaining that cut in the years ahead would put as many as 9,600 Pennsylvania jobs permanently at risk and cost the state $1.25 billion in lost economic activity over a five-year period, an industry economist told the Senate Transportation Committee this week.
Dr. Alison Premo-Black, chief economist for the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), was invited to testify before the committee based on a report she authored on behalf the Associated Pennsylvania Constructors. It looked at the potential impact of a decrease in the state’s highway and bridge investment from the current $4.3 billion market to $3.8 billion in 2017.
“In this scenario, Pennsylvania contractors will demand fewer materials, equipment and supplies as the overall market opportunities decline and they have fewer projects backlogged,” Black explained.
More than half of the jobs lost would be in sectors other than highway construction, she said. According to the report, nearly 1,000 lost jobs will be in the retail sector, with another 900 related to other administrative and professional services. Nearly eight percent of the job losses could be in the manufacturing sector, and the healthcare industry could lose over 600. Read more
Traffic congestion costs motorists in some parts of Pennsylvania more than $2,900 per year in wasted time and fuel, according to a new report issued by TRIP, a national transportation research organization.
For the second time this month, TRIP released data demonstrating that the condition of the state’s highway system is costing drivers a significant sum of money – more than it would cost to address the transportation funding problem.
This time, TRIP identified the most congested corridors in five regions of the state: Harrisburg/Lancaster/York, Lehigh Valley/Reading, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
The costs are highest in Pittsburgh and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, the report said, coming in at more than $2,900 per year. Lehigh Valley/Reading drivers are snagged for more than $2,600 per year, Philly for $2,300 and Harrisburg for $2,000. Read more
On May 29, The Road Information Program (TRIP) released a study estimating that poor Pennsylvania roadways are costing the state’s residents approximately $9.4 billion annual in the form of additional vehicle operating costs as well as in costs of lost time and wasted fuel due to traffic congestion and traffic crashes.
To view coverage of the press event in Harrisburg, Pa. view the video below.
Roads and bridges that are deficient, congested or lack desirable safety features cost Pennsylvania motorists a total of $9.4 billion per year statewide, due to higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays, according to a report by TRIP, a national transportation research group.
The report, “Future Mobility in Pennsylvania: The Cost of Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility,” finds that 37 percent of the state’s major roads and highways provide motorists with a rough ride, while 42 percent of Pennsylvania bridges show significant deterioration or do not meet current design standards. The state’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, with drivers wasting increasing amounts of time and fuel. And Pennsylvania’s rural non-interstate traffic fatality rate is nearly two-and-a-half times higher than the fatality rate on all other roads in the state.
“As the General Assembly looks at a transportation funding measure, there’s a lot of discussion about the cost,” said PHIA Managing Director Jason Wagner. “The TRIP report quantifies the cost of not addressing this problem, and that cost is almost three times greater than the $3.5 billion annual transportation funding gap. Of even greater concern is the safety threat that a deficient transportation system represents, especially in Pennsylvania’s rural areas.” Read more
PA State Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) Cameras in Work Zones November 2012 Final Report
Cutting funds for transportation without reforming the existing federal surface transportation program would create significant economic consequences, according to a study by the Bipartisan Policy Center.
In metropolitan regions especially, congestion would increase and transit service would decline. The impacts would reverberate nationally because the regions in question account for a substantial percentage of national economic activity and growth, the study said. Read more
The Pennsylvania Highway Information Association (PHIA) is partnering with The Road Information Program (TRIP) in researching Pennsylvania’s most congested corridors. The report is expected to be released by the end of the year and is being conducted in cooperation with the PA Department of Transportation (PENNDOT).
The report will provide information on the most congested corridors in several urban areas throughout the Commonwealth. The focus regions are: Allentown-Reading; Harrisburg-Lancaster-York; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; and Scranton-Wilkes/Barre. The report will provide a description of each corridor, an estimate of the amount and value of fuel and time wasted by commuters traveling on these corridors and a description of the improvements needed to relieve congestion on these routes. Read more