Rock Products

OCT 2014

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Page 11 of 67 ROCK products • OCTOBER 2014 10 IN THE KNOW IN THE KNOW I N D U S T R Y N E W S Roads and bridges that are deficient, congested or lack desirable safety features cost California motorists a total of $44 billion statewide annu‐ ally – nearly $2,500 per driver in the Los Angeles urban area – due to higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion‐related de‐ lays. Increased investment in trans‐ portation improvements at the local, state and federal levels could relieve traffic congestion, improve road and bridge conditions, boost safety, and support long‐term economic growth in California, according to a new re‐ port released by TRIP, a Washington, D.C.‐based national transportation organization. The TRIP report, "California Trans‐ portation by the Numbers: Meeting the State's Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility," finds that throughout Cali‐ fornia, 34 percent of major urban roads and highways are in poor con‐ dition. More than a quarter of Cali‐ fornia's bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. The state's major urban roads are be‐ coming increasingly congested, with drivers wasting significant amounts of time and fuel each year. Driving on deficient roads costs each Los Angeles area driver $2,458 per year in the form of extra vehicle op‐ erating costs (VOC) as a result of driving on roads in need of repair, lost time and fuel due to congestion‐ related delays, and the cost of traffic crashes in which roadway features likely were a contributing factor. The TRIP report finds that a total of 65 percent of major roads in the Los Angeles urban area are rated in poor condition and an additional 24 per‐ cent are rated in mediocre condition, costing the average Los Angeles mo‐ torist an additional $955 each year in extra vehicle operating costs, includ‐ ing accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and in‐ creased fuel consumption and tire wear. Traffic congestion in the area is worsening, causing 61 annual hours of delay for the average Los Angeles motorist and costing each driver $1,300 annually in lost time and wasted fuel. "Our goal is to responsibly manage the state's valuable infrastructure – starting with our new 'fix it first' pol‐ icy – because every dollar invested in maintenance saves taxpayers from future repairs that are ten times more expensive," said Caltrans Direc‐ tor Malcolm Dougherty. "California motorists are currently enjoying highways that are in the best condi‐ tion in more than a decade, and sta‐ ble transportation funding would allow us to continue to provide safe and sustainable transportation infra‐ structure that enhances California's economy and livability." A total of 28 percent of California's bridges show significant deteriora‐ tion or do not meet modern design standards. Eleven percent of Califor‐ nia's bridges are structurally defi‐ cient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components. An additional 17 percent of the state's bridges are functionally obsolete; they no longer meet modern design standards, often because of narrow lanes, inadequate clearances or poor alignment. "California's roads and highways are among the most heavily traveled in the nation and this report reflects the fact that our transportation system is simply worn out," said Will Kempton, executive director of Transportation California. "Unfortunately, local and state agencies don't have adequate resources to keep these facilities in good condition. However, it would be cheaper to pay to fix our aging sys‐ tem than paying the extra costs of driving on rough roads, and the longer we delay, the more expensive the cost of repair will be." Traffic crashes in California claimed the lives of 14,878 people between 2008 and 2012. California's non‐in‐ terstate rural roads are particularly deadly, with a fatality rate in 2012 of 2.61 traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel, more than four times the fatality rate of 0.63 on all other roads and highways in the state. California's overall traffic fatal‐ ity rate of 0.88 fatalities per 100 mil‐ lion vehicle miles of travel is lower than the national average of 1.13. The federal surface transportation pro‐ gram is a critical source of funding in California. From 2008 to 2012, the fed‐ eral government provided $1.32 for road improvements in California for every dollar the state paid in federal motor fees. Congress recently ap‐ proved an eight‐month extension of the federal surface transportation pro‐ gram, which will now run through May 31, 2015. The recent legislation will also transfer nearly $11 billion into the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) to preserve existing levels of highway and public transportation investment through the end of May 2015. "These conditions are only going to get worse if greater funding is not made available at the state and fed‐ eral levels," said Will Wilkins, TRIP's executive director. "Congress can help by approving a long‐term federal sur‐ face transportation program that pro‐ vides adequate funding levels, based on a reliable funding source. If not, California is going to see its future federal funding threatened, resulting in in fewer road and bridge repair projects, loss of jobs and a burden on the state's economy." Deficient Roadways Costing Los Angeles Area Drivers FAST FACT Roads and bridges that are deficient, congested or lack desirable safety features cost California motorists a total of $44 billion annually.

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