The Cost of Driving On Missouri Roads
Missouri roads that are deteriorated, congested or lack desirable safety features cost Missouri drivers a total of $8 billion dollars statewide annually. Motorists in the Kansas City area are spending $1873 per driver because of these issues, and those driving around Springfield or Columbia - Jefferson City are spending around $1500. This according to a new report published by TRIP, "A National Transportation Research Nonprofit."
The TRIP report calls for increased investment and improvements in roads at the local, state and federal level. Increased investment and improvements will improve road conditions, boost safety and support long-term economic growth in the State.
The report, "Missouri Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State's need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility" finds the following problems with Missouri's roads:
- More than half of major locally and state-maintained roads are in poor or mediocre condition.
- 9% of locally and state-maintained bridges are rated poor / structurally deficient.
- Missouri's major urban roads are congested which causes delays, which costs commuters and businesses using the roads money.
“The TRIP report confirms what we know about the deficiencies in the condition of our transportation system in Missouri – there are not enough resources to properly maintain it,” said Patrick McKenna, director of the Missouri Department of Transportation in the TRIP report's press release. “Missouri’s basic infrastructure condition will continue to get worse until the proper funding is addressed.”
This isn't to say the Missouri Department of Transportation isn't doing it's job. The TRIP report press release cites a rating by the Reason Foundation that ranked Missouri second in the nation in highway performance and cost-effectiveness. In other words, overall for what MoDOT spends on our roads, we have really good roads.
The Reason Foundation did find some of the same problems the TRIP report has highlighted. Such as structurally deficient bridges and congestion. And both reports also talk about Missouri's fatality rate. 4,431 people have died in crashes on Missouri roads between 2014 and 2018.
The Reason Foundation said Missouri could improve it's ranking to number one by reducing the number of structurally deficient bridges and lowering the overall fatality rate.
Pulling the TRIP report together with the data and ranking from the Reason Foundation Missouri's roads aren't in that bad shape. Yet deteriorating road conditions, crashes, and congestion in Missouri's urban areas add costs to driving and car ownership. In the TRIP press release Dave Kearby, TRIP’s executive director argues “Without adequate funding, Missouri’s transportation system will become increasingly deteriorated and congested, hampering economic growth, safety and quality of life.”