In search of some miles

News AASHTO Journal June 21, 2002
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New roadway under construction using federal funds in 2000 totaled 1,072 miles, or an average of 21 miles per state, according

New roadway under construction using federal funds in 2000 totaled 1,072 miles, or an average of 21 miles per state, according to recently released data from the Federal Highway Administration.


A look at the 26,796 miles of multi-year federal-aid roadway projects initiated since 1996 shows that 83% preserve the current system, while only 17% add any capacity through such steps as new lanes or lane widening.


"States have not been able to invest enough in new capacity to keep up with traffic growth," said American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials Executive Director John Horsley. "It will require more resources to meet both preservation and new capacity needs--and it takes too long to get these projects through the approval process."


Census data released earlier this month indicate that on average commuters spent an extra six minutes per day traveling to and from work in 2000, compared with times recorded in the 1990 census. Stated in terms of individual time, this increased commuting duration means Americans are adding more than one full, 24-hour day a year to commutes that absorb nearly nine days a year for the average working person.


Nationwide commute times in 1980 averaged 21.7 minutes, in 1990, 22.4 minutes, and in 2000, 25.5 minutes.



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