Nation's Motorists Pay $41.5 Billion a Year -- $222 Per Motorist To Drive on Roads in Need of Repair, New Report Says

Ends: Report Has State-By-State Data on Extra Vehicle Operating Costs.

Highest Costs Per Motorists Are in New Mexico, Missouri, Louisiana,

California, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Arkansas, Wisconsin,

Vermont and Mississippi.



Apr 02, 2001, 01:00 ET from The Road Information Program

    WASHINGTON, April 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Driving on roads in need of repair
 costs American motorists $41.5 billion a year in additional vehicle operating
 costs -- or $222 per motorist, a nonprofit transportation research group based
 in Washington, D.C. reported today.
     The Road Information Program (TRIP) released the report in early Spring at
 a time when bad roads conditions also result in the formation of potholes.
 TRIP calculated the extra costs motorists pay to drive on roads in need of
 repair based on the condition of the nation's roads. Nationwide, 28 percent,
 of major roads in the country are in poor or mediocre condition and need
 repair.
     "Driving on roads in need of repair results in extra costs in areas such
 as additional tire wear, damage to shock absorbers and wheel alignment and
 extra fuel consumption," said William M. Wilkins, Trip's Executive Director
 "These extra vehicle operating costs are 'hidden taxes' that American
 motorists pay to drive on bad roads."
     The TRIP report, "Extra Vehicle Operating Costs: What Motorists Pay to
 Drive on Roads in Need of Repair," was released today. The report is based on
 TRIP's analysis of Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) data.
     The report analyzed the data on a state-by-state basis. The 10 states with
 the highest extra vehicle operating costs (EVOC) per motorist are New Mexico,
 $432;  Missouri, $388; Louisiana, $387; California, $354; Oklahoma, $351;
 South Dakota, $325; Arkansas, $325; Wisconsin, $319; Vermont, $297; and
 Mississippi, $278.
     Wilkins also pointed out that motorists are especially likely to notice
 these extra costs during the Springtime when potholes begin appearing.
     "When roads are in poor or mediocre condition they are likely to have
 cracks in the pavement that then develop into potholes," Wilkins said. "When
 motorists drive over these potholes, it's going to cost them."
     TRIP's extra vehicle operating costs are calculated based on the amount of
 highway travel that takes place by driving on roads in need of repair and
 applying factors such as the annual expense it takes to operate a vehicle as
 calculated by AAA. It also is based on government studies that show that it
 costs more to operate a vehicle on roads in poor or mediocre condition than it
 would if those roads were in good condition.
     Wilkins pointed out that the reason that a significant percentage of roads
 need repair throughout the nation is that state departments of transportation
 do not have sufficient funding available to make the needed repairs.
     "There has been some improvement in overall road conditions in recent
 years, primarily because of increased transportation funding at the federal
 level and in some states," Wilkins said. "But we still have nearly three out
 of every 10 miles that need repair and that translates into extra vehicle
 costs for motorists."
     "Because bad road conditions are a significant factor in the amount each
 and every driver pays, increased investment in highway transportation
 infrastructure at state and federal levels to help make needed repairs would
 help reduce these extra costs," Wilkins said.
     Wilkins also pointed out that a recently released poll conducted for the
 Federal Highway Administration and the National Partnership for Highway
 Quality found significant public support for the use of more durable materials
 in the resurfacing of roads. The use of durable paving materials was the top
 choice cited by motorists when asked about preferred transportation
 improvements to combat traffic delays.
     "It's crucial to make timely repairs of good quality, since studies have
 shown that it costs a lot less to repair roads in fair condition than roads in
 poor condition," Wilkins said. "Also, the use of more durable paving materials
 can help extend the life of road surfaces."
     One way to reduce repair needs and prevent pothole formation is to
 emphasize improved technology that can help make roads more durable and longer
 lasting.
     "States with aggressive preventive maintenance programs can intercept
 roadway deterioration before potholes develop," said Bill Ballou, President of
 the Foundation for Pavement Preservation. "Preventive maintenance must be done
 on highways in good condition. It's like changing the oil on a vehicle to make
 sure that major damage does not occur."
     Ballou pointed out that when pavement in good condition declines to fair
 or poor condition, then more expensive treatments such as rehabilitation and
 reconstruction are necessary.
 
     Founded in 1971, The Road Information Program (TRIP) of Washington, D.C.,
 is a nonprofit organization that researches, evaluates, and distributes
 economic and technical data on highway transportation issues.
 
 

SOURCE The Road Information Program
    WASHINGTON, April 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Driving on roads in need of repair
 costs American motorists $41.5 billion a year in additional vehicle operating
 costs -- or $222 per motorist, a nonprofit transportation research group based
 in Washington, D.C. reported today.
     The Road Information Program (TRIP) released the report in early Spring at
 a time when bad roads conditions also result in the formation of potholes.
 TRIP calculated the extra costs motorists pay to drive on roads in need of
 repair based on the condition of the nation's roads. Nationwide, 28 percent,
 of major roads in the country are in poor or mediocre condition and need
 repair.
     "Driving on roads in need of repair results in extra costs in areas such
 as additional tire wear, damage to shock absorbers and wheel alignment and
 extra fuel consumption," said William M. Wilkins, Trip's Executive Director
 "These extra vehicle operating costs are 'hidden taxes' that American
 motorists pay to drive on bad roads."
     The TRIP report, "Extra Vehicle Operating Costs: What Motorists Pay to
 Drive on Roads in Need of Repair," was released today. The report is based on
 TRIP's analysis of Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) data.
     The report analyzed the data on a state-by-state basis. The 10 states with
 the highest extra vehicle operating costs (EVOC) per motorist are New Mexico,
 $432;  Missouri, $388; Louisiana, $387; California, $354; Oklahoma, $351;
 South Dakota, $325; Arkansas, $325; Wisconsin, $319; Vermont, $297; and
 Mississippi, $278.
     Wilkins also pointed out that motorists are especially likely to notice
 these extra costs during the Springtime when potholes begin appearing.
     "When roads are in poor or mediocre condition they are likely to have
 cracks in the pavement that then develop into potholes," Wilkins said. "When
 motorists drive over these potholes, it's going to cost them."
     TRIP's extra vehicle operating costs are calculated based on the amount of
 highway travel that takes place by driving on roads in need of repair and
 applying factors such as the annual expense it takes to operate a vehicle as
 calculated by AAA. It also is based on government studies that show that it
 costs more to operate a vehicle on roads in poor or mediocre condition than it
 would if those roads were in good condition.
     Wilkins pointed out that the reason that a significant percentage of roads
 need repair throughout the nation is that state departments of transportation
 do not have sufficient funding available to make the needed repairs.
     "There has been some improvement in overall road conditions in recent
 years, primarily because of increased transportation funding at the federal
 level and in some states," Wilkins said. "But we still have nearly three out
 of every 10 miles that need repair and that translates into extra vehicle
 costs for motorists."
     "Because bad road conditions are a significant factor in the amount each
 and every driver pays, increased investment in highway transportation
 infrastructure at state and federal levels to help make needed repairs would
 help reduce these extra costs," Wilkins said.
     Wilkins also pointed out that a recently released poll conducted for the
 Federal Highway Administration and the National Partnership for Highway
 Quality found significant public support for the use of more durable materials
 in the resurfacing of roads. The use of durable paving materials was the top
 choice cited by motorists when asked about preferred transportation
 improvements to combat traffic delays.
     "It's crucial to make timely repairs of good quality, since studies have
 shown that it costs a lot less to repair roads in fair condition than roads in
 poor condition," Wilkins said. "Also, the use of more durable paving materials
 can help extend the life of road surfaces."
     One way to reduce repair needs and prevent pothole formation is to
 emphasize improved technology that can help make roads more durable and longer
 lasting.
     "States with aggressive preventive maintenance programs can intercept
 roadway deterioration before potholes develop," said Bill Ballou, President of
 the Foundation for Pavement Preservation. "Preventive maintenance must be done
 on highways in good condition. It's like changing the oil on a vehicle to make
 sure that major damage does not occur."
     Ballou pointed out that when pavement in good condition declines to fair
 or poor condition, then more expensive treatments such as rehabilitation and
 reconstruction are necessary.
 
     Founded in 1971, The Road Information Program (TRIP) of Washington, D.C.,
 is a nonprofit organization that researches, evaluates, and distributes
 economic and technical data on highway transportation issues.
 
 SOURCE  The Road Information Program