Driving on deficient roads costs Seattle-area drivers an average $1,845 per year and Spokane-area drivers an average $1,423 per year, says a new report. Roads and bridges that are deficient, congested or lack desirable safety features cost Washington motorists a total of $6.5 billion statewide due to higher vehicle operating costs, traffic accidents and congestion-related delays according to a study released this week by TRIP, a national transportation research group. The report concludes that increased investment in transportation improvements at the local, state and federal levels is needed to help relieve congestion, improve road and bridge conditions, boost safety, and support long-term economic growth. When asked by KOMO News, the state Department of Transportation agreed that more money was needed. But that money doesn’t appear to be coming from the legislature any time soon. Despite more than a year of work and discussion, lawmakers are likely to adjourn the 2014 legislative session this week without a new statewide transportation investment package. Given this new data and the clearly demonstrated need for new investment, the lack of progress in Olympia this year is a huge missed opportunity. The costs of doing nothing are far too high.
Check out the full TRIP report. Or to get a little more on what the media is saying, here are stories from KIRO TV and KPLU public radio. More on the WashACE blog as well.