A new report issued by The Road Information Project (TRIP), a national transportation think-tank, highlights the cost to Maryland citizens of the Free State’s continued failure to invest in its surface transportation network.
According to the report, “with the state’s population continuing to grow, Maryland must improve its systems of roads, bridges, and public transit to foster economic growth, keep business in the state, and ensure the safe, reliable mobility needed to improve the quality of life for all residents.”
Among its key findings:
- 44% of the major roads in Maryland are classified as in poor or mediocre condition.
- 26% of the state’s bridges are either “structurally deficient” or “functionally obsolete.”
- 55% of Maryland’s urban highways are severely congested during peak travel times — eighth highest rate in the nation.
Most alarmingly, the report finds that the poor condition of Maryland roads is costing Maryland drivers big-time: To the tune of about $7 billion a year in unecessary injuries from traffic accidents, lost time due to congestion-related delays, wasted fuel, and additional vehicle operating costs. In the Washington area, that comes out to about $2,296 per motorist, per year, that is being lost due to a failure to invest in our most basic transportation infrastructure. (FYI – the cost to each of us from a 10-cent-per-gallon increase in the state gas tax is only about $40 to $50 per year, depending on how much you drive!)
Former Montgomery County Executive Douglas Duncan, who chairs the Suburban Maryland Transportation Alliance, said it best: “After decades of under-investment, we are out of time, out of money, and out of excuses. The time to fix this is now, and that means finding new revenues and making sure they are spent on our failing transportation system. ” Amen.
The TRIP report lists some of the key projects that would significantly improve traffic conditions, but are not currently funded for construction: New transit lines like the Purple Line and Corridor Cities Transitway, improvements to the I-95/I-495 interchange, widening sections of I-70 and I-270 to add new lanes, and a host of other road, intersection, bridge and transit projects throughout the region.
Bottom line: None of these projects can be funded today without a significant increase in transportation funding. Read the full report: TRIP Report.