According to a new report, roads and bridges that are deficient, congested or lack safety features cost California motorists a total of $53.6 billion every year — with parts of Southern California racking up the highest costs at more than $2,800 per driver.
The costs impact drivers in the form of additional vehicle operating fees, congestion-related delays and traffic crashes. But increased investment in transportation improvements at the lo- cal, state and federal levels would provide relief, says TRIP, a national nonprofit transportation group.
The report, California Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and
Efficient Mobility, examines road and bridge conditions, congestion, economic development, highway safety, and transportation funding.
TRIP calculated the cost to motorists of insufficient roads in the state’s major metropolitan areas. For the Southern California region, drivers in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana zone get hit with the heftiest costs in the state at $2,826 annually. The TRIP report finds that 83% of major roads in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana urban area are in poor or mediocre condition, costing the average motorist an additional $892 each year in extra vehicle operating costs (including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.) San Diego-area motorists fair a little better with an average cost of $1,858. The report finds that 67% of major roads in the San Diego urban area are in poor or mediocre condition, costing motorists $722 each year in extra vehicle operating costs.
The efficiency and condition of California’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. TRIP warns that costs will rise and transportation woes will worsen without increased funding. Increased investment in transportation improvements at the local, state and federal levels could relieve traffic congestion, improve road, bridge and transit conditions, boost safety, and support long- term economic growth in California, says the group.
“These conditions are only going to get worse if greater fund- ing is not made available at the state and local levels,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Without adequate investment, California’s transportation system will become increasingly deteriorated and congested, hampering economic growth and the quality of life of the state’s residents.”