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TRIP report: California drivers losing $61 billion annually on roads
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TRIP report: California drivers losing $61 billion annually on roads

California drivers are losing $61 billion annually on the state’s roadways, according to a recent report from TRIP, a national transportation research group.

The report, titled “California Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility”, looked at pavement conditions, congestion levels, highway safety data, and cost breakdowns for several areas in California.

Findings from the report show that roads and bridges across California are deteriorated, congested, and lacking in important safety features, leading to that $61 billion figure – costing as much as $2,995 per driver in certain urban areas. That total factors in higher vehicle operating costs (VOC), traffic crashes, and congestion-related delays.

More than two-thirds of locally and state maintained roads are in poor and mediocre condition, according to the TRIP report. It is also placing the safety of California drivers at risk.

According to the report, traffic crashes in the state have cost the lives of 15,730 people in the last five years. “Traffic crashes in which roadway features were likely a contributing factor imposed $9.8 billion in economic costs on California drivers in 2016,” stated a TRIP release.

As a way to counteract the infrastructure maintenance challenges for California roadways, the state legislature passed Senate Bill 1 (SB1), the “Road Repair and Accountability Act”, which would use an increased gasoline and diesel tax, as well as a transportation investment fee and fee on zero emission vehicles to generate $5 billion in new revenue annually, to help pay for maintenance of the state’s roads, bridges, and related infrastructure.

This bill was met with opposition and a state ballot initiative – Proposition 6 – has been set for November to repeal the measure. ATSSA’s government relations team and members of the CAL-ATSSA chapter have mobilized grassroots efforts to combat this repeal, to ensure that California has the funding it needs to repair roadways and roadway infrastructure, which will ultimately save lives.

“The ATSSA state government relations program provides its members an opportunity to engage with state lawmakers on issues that matter to them. CAL-ATSSA’s engagement on SB1 over the past year is a perfect example of how the program can provide a platform for an ATSSA chapter to make their voice heard and participate in the law making process,” said ATSSA Director of State Government Relations Ashley Wieland.

If successful, the effort will also benefit ATSSA member companies by ensuring additional roadway safety infrastructure funding on California roadways.  

“Driving on deficient California roads comes with a $61 billion yearly price tag for the state’s motorists. Adequate funding for the state’s transportation system would allow for smoother roads, more efficient mobility, enhanced safety, and economic growth opportunities while saving California’s drivers time and money,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director, in a release.

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