FUNDING: Ohio’s lack of investment is worsening

Closing the transportation investment gap would keep Ohio’s economy growing, save jobs and protect personal income

Funding News TRIP October 22, 2012
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New data released by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and TRIP show the deteriorating conditions of the surface transportation infrastructure system in Ohio is worsening, and drivers and businesses continue to feel the impact. Closing the investment gap in the state’s surface transportation infrastructure will grow Ohio’s economy, save jobs and protect personal income.

 

“Failing to invest in Ohio’s roads, bridges and transit systems has a dramatic negative impact on the state and national economy,” said Andrew Herrmann, P.E., president of ASCE. “This data underscores the need for state and national policy makers to make smart, long-term investments in infrastructure.”

 

By 2020, ASCE projects the consequences of these conditions will cost the U.S. economy $897 billion in lost Gross Domestic Product and $28 billion in exports as transportation costs rise. The recent surface transportation bill adopted by Congress addresses spending in only the next two years, and it doesn’t fill the current funding gap.

 

“While addressing Ohio’s need for a safe, efficient and well-maintained transportation system will require a significant boost in investment, failing to act will result in even greater costs,” said Will Wilkins, executive director of TRIP. “Smart investments in transportation policies relieve traffic congestion, improve road and bridge conditions and enhance economic productivity.”

 

Due to the underinvestment in transportation in the Great Lakes region, data from ASCE shows that by 2020 productivity losses will cause the region to underperform by $104 billion and 102,000 jobs will be lost, resulting in a drop in personal income of almost $108 billion if no action is taken.

 

“Ohio’s roads, bridges and transit systems keep our economy moving,” said Chris Runyan, president, Ohio Contractors Association. “Investing in key projects not only improves highway conditions in our state, but also creates good-paying jobs.”

 

The latest information from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) shows pavement has severe deterioration in Ohio, and the effects of the conditions are acute:

 

 

§ Vehicle travel on Ohio’s highways increased by 29% from 1990 to 2010. Ohio’s population grew by 7% between 1990 and 2010;

 

§ 45% of Ohio’s major urban highways are congested, and 42% of Ohio’s major urban roads are in poor or mediocre condition;

 

§ Driving on roads in need of repair costs Ohio motorists $2.5 billion a year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs—an average of $315 per motorist; and

 

§ 24% of Ohio’s bridges (6,381) are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

 

 

“Our highways, roads and bridges are real economic drivers for the state,” said Kevin Carpenter, director at WD Transportation, an interdisciplinary engineering firm that provides services for Ohio government agencies, municipalities and counties. “Having worked on over 100 infrastructure projects in Ohio, I’ve seen first-hand the benefits of investing in our transportation system.”

 

Bad roads mean big problems for businesses in Ohio considering 78% of the $563 billion worth of commodities delivered annually from sites in Ohio is transported by trucks on the state’s highways, and an additional 12% is delivered by parcel, U.S. Postal Service or courier, which use multiple modes, including highways.

 

“Investing in high-quality roads and bridges is important to our state’s quality of life,” said David Pritchard, civil engineer and consultant. “Our roads and bridges connect businesses to commerce and people to their loved ones as they move across our state and throughout the country.”

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