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One in Four Major New York Roads Rated Poor: TRIP

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New York road conditions.

Nearly half of major locally and state-maintained roads are in poor or mediocre condition, 10 percent of locally and state-maintained bridges (20 feet or more in length) are rated poor/structurally deficient, and 5,019 people lost their lives on the state’s roads from 2015-2019.

These statistics are included in the TRIP report “New York Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility.” The report includes statewide and regional pavement and bridge conditions, congestion data, highway safety data, and cost breakdowns for the Albany-Schenectady-Troy, Binghamton, Buffalo-Niagara Falls, New York-Newark-Jersey City, Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, Rochester, Syracuse and Utica urban areas.

According to TRIP, driving on deficient roads costs New York State motorists a total of $28 billion each year in the form of extra vehicle operating costs (VOC) as a result of driving on roads in need of repair, lost time and fuel due to congestion-related delays, and the costs of traffic crashes in which the lack of adequate roadway safety features—although not the primary factor—likely were a contributing factor.

Roads and bridges that are deteriorated, congested or lack some desirable safety features cost New York motorists as much as $3,192 per driver in some urban areas.

The TRIP report finds that 26 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads in New York State are in poor condition and another 19 percent are in mediocre condition, costing the state’s motorists an additional $7.7 billion each year in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

“These latest findings by TRIP shed more light on the continued need to address the countless roads and bridges causing businesses and employees time and money,” said Melvin Norris, senior director of government affairs for The Business Council of New York State, Inc., in a prepared statement. “These careful studies can be used as a roadmap to finally address and solve these problems altogether. We are hopeful that the federal infrastructure package will help in solving this ongoing problem.”

Statewide, 10 percent of New York’ bridges are rated poor/structurally deficient with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components. Fifty-four percent of the state’s bridges are rated in fair condition and the remaining 36 percent are in good condition.

Congested roads choke commuting and commerce and cost New York drivers $15.4 billion each year in the form of lost time and wasted fuel. In the most congested urban areas, drivers lose up to $2,107 and as many as 92 hours per year due to traffic congestion. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, vehicle travel in New York dropped by as much as 45 percent in April 2020 compared to vehicle travel during the same month the previous year, but rebounded to eight percent below October 2019 levels by October 2021.

Annual investment in roads, highways, and bridges by the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) increased by 37 percent from 2018 to 2021 from approximately $4.3 billion to $6 billion, according to the report. The level of NYSDOT highway investment is likely to increase further as a result of the five-year federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), signed into law in November 2021, which will increase annual federal funding for New York roads, highways and bridges by 52 percent from an average of approximately $1.8 billion annually to $2.7 billion.  Federal funds currently provide 38 percent of the revenue used by NYSDOT to fund highway and bridge improvements.

Source: TRIP

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