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Thursday, July 10, 2014
Report: 32% of Hawaii Rural Roads in Poor Condition
By News Release @ 4:25 PM :: 3644 Views :: Hawaii Statistics

HAWAII’S RURAL ROADS & BRIDGES HAVE AMONG HIGHEST RATES OF ROAD AND BRIDGE DEFICIENCIES AND TRAFFIC FATALITIES; STATE’S RURAL TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM IN NEED OF MODERNIZATION TO BETTER SUPPORT ECONOMIC GROWTH

News Release from Tripnet.org July 10, 2014

Washington, D.C. - America’s rural heartland is home to nearly 50 million people, and its natural resources provide the energy, food and fiber that support the nation’s economy and way of life. But, a new report finds that the nation’s rural transportation system, which is critical to the nation’s booming agriculture, energy and tourism sectors, is in need of modernization to address deficient roads and bridges, high crash rates and inadequate connectivity and capacity. The report, “Rural Connections:

Challenges and Opportunities in America’s Heartland,” was released today by TRIP, a national non-profit transportation research group based in Washington, D.C. It defines Rural America as counties that lack an urban area of at least 50,000 in population or lack a large commuting flow to an urban county.

 

 

 

STATE

Percent Rural Roads in Poor Condition

 

 

 

STATE

 

Percent Deficient Rural Bridges

 

 

 

STATE

Fatality Rate Rural/All Other Roads

1

Connecticut

35

Pennsylvania

25%

South Carolina

3.99 / 0.68

2

Rhode Island

33

Rhode Island

25%

Florida

3.35 / 0.95

3

West Virginia

33

Iowa

22%

West Virginia

2.8 / 0.99

4

Hawaii

32

South Dakota

21%

Texas

2.76 / 1.03

5

Michigan

32

Oklahoma

20%

Arkansas

2.71 / 0.87

6

Kansas

30

Hawaii

19%

Tennessee

2.68 / 0.95

7

Oklahoma

29

Nebraska

19%

Arizona

2.66 / 1.11

8

Maine

28

North Dakota

17%

Kentucky

2.64 / 0.78

9

Mississippi

25

Maine

16%

California

2.61 / 0.63

10

Arkansas

23

Louisiana

16%

Pennsylvania

2.6 / 0.91

11

Missouri

23

Missouri

15%

Oklahoma

2.52 / 0.92

12

Washington

22

New Hampshire

15%

Hawaii

2.48 / 0.89

13

New Mexico

21

Mississippi

14%

North Carolina

2.44 / 0.64

14

Alabama

21

North Carolina

14%

Montana

2.4 / 0.95

15

Vermont

21

New Jersey

14%

North Dakota

2.33 / 0.77

16

Alaska

20

Wyoming

14%

Kansas

2.26 / 0.74

17

New Hampshire

18

New York

14%

South Dakota

2.21 / 0.74

18

Virginia

18

Michigan

14%

Ohio

2.15 / 0.63

19

Wisconsin

17

West Virginia

13%

New York

2.13 / 0.59

20

Pennsylvania

17

California

13%

Indiana

2.09 / 0.56

The report found that rural roads and bridges in Hawaii have significant deficiencies and a high rate of traffic fatalities. In 2012, 32 percent of Hawaii’s major rural roads were rated in poor condition, the fourth highest rate nationally. In 2013, 19 percent of Hawaii’s rural bridges were rated as structurally deficient, which is the sixth highest rate in the nation.

“Hawaii recognizes that it has deferred road and bridge maintenance issues” said Jon Young, executive director of the Hawaii Asphalt Paving Industry (HAPI). “The current state and county administrations are proactively working on closing this gap. For example the City and County of Honolulu (City) has consultants that regularly perform inspections of their bridges and based on the findings of these inspections, projects are prepared and submitted for rehabilitation funding. In addition, the City has maintained its aggressive 5-year paving program. Prior to the program, the annual budget for road work was $77 million. In the first year of the program, the budget was increased to $120 million and now in the second year the budget has once again increased to $132 million.”

The traffic fatality rate on Hawaii’s non-Interstate rural roads was 2.48 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2012, the 12th highest in the nation and more than two-and-a-half-times higher than the fatality rate of 0.89 on all other roads in the state.

“More than 46 million Americans live in rural and less densely populated areas of the country where their primary mode of transportation is a personal vehicle,” stated Kathleen Bower, AAA Vice President, Public Affairs. “Motorists expect and deserve safe, well maintained roads and bridges no matter if they are traveling on the Interstates or rural roads. Congress must act quickly to provide a sustainable solution for the federal Highway Trust Fund to ensure that states can continue to make necessary infrastructure investments that will benefit all travelers.”

America’s rural transportation system is an integral component to the success and quality of life for U.S. farmers and ranchers,” said Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. “Adequate roads and bridges are necessary to deliver our agricultural bounty to markets at home and abroad. As we see additional growth and opportunities in rural America, we must work together to take advantage of those opportunities and to ensure that infrastructure supports and enhances our rural communities.”

The federal surface transportation program is a critical source of funding for rural roads. But a lack of adequate funding of the federal program may result in a significant cut in federal funding for the country’s roads, highways and bridges. The impact of inadequate federal surface transportation revenues could be felt as early as this summer, when the balance in the Highway Account of the federal Highway Trust Fund is expected to drop below $1 billion, which will trigger delays in the federal reimbursement to states for road, highway and bridge projects, which would likely result in states delaying numerous projects.

Nationwide federal funding for highways is expected to be cut by almost 100 percent from the current investment level for the fiscal year starting October 1, 2014 (FY 2015) unless Congress provides additional transportation revenues. This is due to a cash shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund as projected by the Congressional Budget Office. In Hawaii, this could mean a cut of $195 million for highway and transit improvements if a lack of adequate revenue into the Federal Highway Trust Fund is not addressed by Congress.

“So many of our industry’s manufacturing facilities and their workers are located in rural America, where they depend on safe and efficient roads for their livelihoods,” said Rick Patek, group president of Astec Industries and 2014 chairman of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM).

“As Congress weighs how to extend the Highway Trust Fund, they would be well-advised to read this report and consider the effects of their actions on rural roads.”

The TRIP report finds that the U.S. needs to adopt transportation policies that will improve rural transportation connectivity, safety and conditions to provide the nation’s small communities and rural areas with safe and efficient access to support quality of life and enhance economic productivity. To accomplish this, the report recommends modernizing and extending key routes to accommodate personal and commercial travel, implementing needed roadway safety improvements, improving public transit access to rural areas, and adequately funding the preservation and maintenance of rural transportation assets.

“The safety and quality of life in America’s small communities and rural areas and the health of the nation’s economy ride on our rural transportation system,” said Will Wilkins, executive director of TRIP. “This backbone of the heartland allows mobility and connectivity for millions of rural Americans. The nation’s rural roads provide crucial links from farm to market, move manufactured and energy products, and provide access to countless tourist and recreational destinations. But, with long-term federal transportation legislation stuck in political gridlock in Washington, America’s rural communities and economies could face even higher unemployment and decline. Funding the modernization of our rural transportation system will create jobs and help ensure long-term economic development and quality of life in rural America.”

-30-

 

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