BATAVIA, Ohio, April 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Releasing a new report that finds poor road conditions cost Ohio motorists and businesses billions annually, a broad business coalition launched a statewide push for new federal transportation investments and legislation. The Ohio Chamber of Commerce, Ohio Contractors Association, Transportation Construction Coalition and Americans for Transportation Mobility, said during Columbus and Cincinnati-area news conferences that Congress should pass the long-delayed federal highway and transit bill that funds most road, bridge and transit improvements in the U.S.
The report, titled "Future Mobility in Ohio: Meeting the State's Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility" was prepared by the national research group TRIP. The report finds that deficient roadways cost the average Ohio motorist up to $933 a year and rob the state's highway users of $6.5 billion annually. The business groups noted that without the improvements that would come from a new federal transportation bill, employers in Ohio will have a hard time competing and succeeding.
"The data in the new report underscores how businesses in Ohio need well-maintained transportation systems to be successful," said Janet Kavinoky, vice president of the Americans for Transportation Mobility, a coalition of national business and labor organizations. "Improving roads, maintaining bridges, and expanding transit options will save the state's employers billions and help create thousands of new jobs."
According to the TRIP analysis more than one in four of the state's roads are in equally bad shape. The report also found that 24 percent of the state's bridges were either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Additionally, 45 percent of the state's highways and freeways are considered congested during peak travel times, forcing commuters in Ohio to waste up to $451 a year just on traffic delays.
Additionally, the report found that poor road conditions are affecting Ohio businesses by adding operating costs and delaying shipping schedules. For example, businesses ship $563 billion in goods from sites in Ohio and another $493 billion in goods are shipped to Ohio each year. Seventy-eight percent of the goods shipped from the state are carried by truck and another 12 percent are handled by shipping services like UPS and the U.S. Postal Service.
"Today's business culture demands that an area have well-maintained and efficient roads, highways and bridges if it is to remain economically competitive," said Carolyn Bonifas, TRIP's associated director of research and communication and a co-author of the report. "Consequently, the quality of a region's transportation system has become a key component in a business' ability to compete locally, nationally and globally."
"This essential investment in our country's infrastructure is a critical element to our future that would have an immediate and long-term positive impact on American jobs and our global competitiveness," said Stu Levenick, group president for Caterpillar, which is building a new distribution facility in Dayton. "Congress has an opportunity to set America on a new course, put people back to work and improve the efficiency of our nation's transportation system.
"In addition to the jobs it would create, a multi-year highway bill represents an investment commitment that will provide the country with the physical infrastructure we need to enhance and sustain America's competitiveness in the global economy. Our nation and our industry can't afford further delay, so we urge the President and Congress to work together to achieve a long-term solution this year."
At the news conferences, coalition representatives urged Ohioans to contact their local member of Congress to ask them to make infrastructure investment a priority by passing a new six-year surface transportation bill.
"We can either let Ohio businesses spend their money on coping with traffic and unreliable roads or expand their operations and payroll," said Chris Runyan, president of the Ohio Contractors Association, who spoke on behalf of the Transportation Construction Coalition. "The sad fact is Washington's gridlock is jamming up too many of Ohio's businesses."
Runyan noted that the last federal transportation bill, which sets federal funding levels and policy for the nation's highways and transit systems, expired Sept. 30, 2009. Congress has since passed short-term measures to ensure states continue to receive federal transportation funds. Runyan said that without a multi-year bill it will be difficult for state officials to plan for and invest in major, long-term highway, public transportation and bridge improvement projects.
The campaign will include billboard advertisements in Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Toledo. Runyan added that, as part of the campaign, employers statewide will reach out to their Representatives and Senators, urging them to act quickly on new transportation legislation. For more information about the state of the nation's highways and transit systems, or about the campaign to pass the new surface transportation bill, please visit www.moveOhiogoods.org.
SOURCE Transportation Construction Coalition and Americans for Transportation Mobility