As The Seattle Times editorializes today, transportation negotiations are underway in the legislature and the need for a new comprehensive investment package – the first in a decade – is clear. As the Times writes:
At this point, lawmakers should not need to be reminded why a package is needed. But just in case, smart investments are necessary because poor freight mobility remains a threat to the region’s trade-dependent economy; without new revenue dedicated to maintenance, 60 percent of roads will fall into the category of “poor or very poor” in the next decade, jeopardizing safety; and worsening congestion in the Puget Sound region is a soul-sucking hell.
Let’s say that again, because it’s important, 60 percent of roads in poor condition or worse if Washington doesn’t take action on new transportation investment. That’s not a problem for some of us, it’s a problem in every part of the state. Research conducted by The Boston Consulting Group just last fall outlines the consequences of inaction:
If Washington doesn’t increase its investment in the preservation and maintenance of roads and bridges and make improvements in key economic corridors, by 2026:
- Overall congestion statewide will rise to 109 million hours per year, costing drivers $940 annually.
- Sixty percent of state highway pavement will be rated in “poor” condition or worse, costing drivers $1,040 per year in vehicle maintenance costs.
- Forty percent of bridges will be functionally obsolete or structurally deficient.
- Preservation and maintenance of existing highways will be nine times more expensive, escalating to $2.7 million per mile.
- Trade volumes at the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma will be flat or declining.
That’s the risk. The reward is equally great. In fact, a $7 billion investment would generate a $42 billion return over 30 years. That’s a six-fold return. Here’s a look at the ROI:
Better roads. Better bridges. More economic growth. It’s time for action to get Washington moving.