A new report says bad road conditions in Syracuse is costing area drivers hundreds of dollars per year. The report “New York Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility”, prepared by TRIP, a national transportation research group, is calling for more investment in transportation improvements.
Roads and bridges that are deteriorated, congested or lack some desirable safety features cost each Syracuse area driver $1,560 per year – a total of $24.8 billion statewide – due to higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays, the report says. Adequate investment in transportation improvements at the local, state and federal levels is needed to relieve traffic congestion, improve road, bridge and transit conditions, boost safety, and support long-term economic growth in New York, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national nonprofit transportation research organization.
The TRIP report finds that in the Syracuse area, more than two-fifths of major locally and state-maintained roads are in poor or mediocre condition and 12 percent of locally and state-maintained bridges (20 feet or longer) are in poor condition. The report also finds that the Syracuse area’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, causing significant delays and choking commuting and commerce.
The TRIP report finds that 22 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads in the Syracuse area are in poor condition and another 19 percent are rated in mediocre condition, costing the average motorist an additional $429 each year in extra vehicle operating costs. These costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear. Driving on rough roads costs the state’s drivers a total of $7 billion each year.
Traffic congestion in the Syracuse area is worsening, causing 22 annual hours of delay for the average motorist and costing the average driver $538 each year in lost time and wasted fuel. New York drivers lose a total of $13 billion annually in the form of lost time and wasted fuel due to congestion.
“Many New Yorkers know the poor road conditions in our state lead to wear and tear on our cars and wallets; but now we have irrefutable evidence of the real cost of failing roads and bridges that continue to be ignored,” said Gib Gagnon, chairman of Rebuild NY Now. “Every dollar of deferred maintenance on our roads and bridges will cost taxpayers an additional four to five dollars in future repairs. These shocking figures are no longer ‘hidden costs.’ They are an alarming call to action to our representatives around the State. Simply patching our roads and bridges will not do the job; now is the time to rebuild our economy and infrastructure for a better New York.”
In the Syracuse area, 12 percent (135 of 1,111) bridges are in poor condition, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components and another 60 percent (670 of 1,111) are rated in fair condition, indicating some deterioration to major components of the bridge. This includes all bridges that are 20 feet or more in length. More than half – 52 percent – of New York’s bridges are at least 50 years old.
In the Syracuse area, on average, 53 people were killed in traffic crashes each year from 2014 to 2016. The financial impact of traffic crashes costs each Syracuse area driver an average of $593 annually – a total of $4.8 billion statewide. New York’s overall traffic fatality rate of 0.83 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is lower than the national average of 1.18. The fatality rate on New York’s non-interstate rural roads is approximately three and a half times higher than on all other roads in the state (2.11 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.60).
The efficiency and condition of New York’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Annually, $1.3 trillion in goods are shipped to and from sites in New York, mostly by trucks, relying heavily on the state’s network of roads and bridges. Increasingly, companies are looking at the quality of a region’s transportation system when deciding where to re-locate or expand. Regions with congested or poorly maintained roads may see businesses relocate to areas with a smoother, more efficient and more modern transportation system. Approximately 3.5 million full-time jobs in New York in key industries like tourism, retail sales, agriculture and manufacturing are completely dependent on the state’s transportation network.
“Driving on deficient roads comes with a $1,560 yearly price tag for Syracuse motorists – $24.8 billion statewide,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Adequate funding for the state’s transportation system would allow for smoother roads, more efficient mobility, enhanced safety, and economic growth opportunities while saving New York’s drivers time and money.”