No one wants to do nothing and watch as our roads and bridges continue to age, making driving conditions unsafe and costing drivers thousands in repairs. However, doing nothing is a very real possibility if Hartford leaders do not act now to secure a long-term funding solution for the state's road repairs.
This plan will raise funds for road repairs by borrowing $65 million within the state's bonding cap over the next 30 years. While this plan provides a short-term source of funding for transportation infrastructure, it does not ensure funding past the 30 year point.
Further, the funds raised in this plan will still need to be paid back by Connecticut taxpayers eventually, in addition to the millions in accrued interest over the 30 year time period. This money will come from the pockets of all Connecticut taxpayers, including people who don't use highways and bridges, rather than coming from those who actually use the roads such as out-of-state drivers.
The need for investment is clear. This isn’t only a transportation funding crisis, but a public safety crisis, an economic crisis, and a quality of life crisis.
Cost of Inaction
Every $1 of deferred maintenance on roads and bridges has been found to cost an additional $4-$5 in needed future repairs.
Traffic crashes in Connecticut imposed a total of $4.4 billion in economic costs in 2015. TRIP estimates that traffic crashes in which roadway features were likely a contributing factor imposed $1.5 billion in economic costs in 2015.
Driving on deficient roads costs Connecticut motorists a total of $6.1 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs, congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.
Drivers in the state’s largest urban areas incur annual costs as a result of driving on deficient roads as follows: Bridgeport-Stamford - $2,378; Hartford - $2,355; New Haven - $2,190.
Worsening congestion robs drivers of time and fuel. Annual time wasted in congestion for drivers in the state’s largest urban areas is: Bridgeport-Stamford, 49 hours; Hartford, 45 hours; and, New Haven, 40 hours.
Public Health and Safety
Nearly four out of five miles on Connecticut’s major roads are in either poor or mediocre condition, with 57 percent rated in poor condition and 22 percent rated in mediocre condition.
Eight percent of Connecticut’s bridges (338 out of 4,214) are structurally deficient.
34 years ago, on June 28, 1983, the Mianus River Bridge on Interstate 95 in Greenwich, Connecticut collapsed, killing three drivers because of underinvestment in transportation infrastructure.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports there were 253 fatal motor vehicle crashes, resulting in 266 fatalities, in Connecticut during 2015. Motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death and permanently disabling injuries for Americans under age 21.
Economic and Business Impact
The Federal Highway Administration estimates that each dollar spent on road, highway and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 in the form of reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs, and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffic flow.
Inter-state truck shipments along Connecticut’s highway and bridge network are vital to the economic growth of the state. Connecticut businesses shipped a total of $231.1 billion in freight in 2015. Of this total, 79 percent was shipped via truck. Truck traffic alone is expected to increase by 77 percent by 2045, reaching $322.5 billion in value.
As much as $2.3 billion in financial services and $893 million in insurance services were exported from Connecticut in 2014, with 41,700 finance and insurance sector jobs tied to trade. The ability for employees of Hartford firms to travel to New York, Boston, or internationally, is significantly improved by a strong transportation system.
Tourist destinations would be useless without a transportation system enabling access to tourist locations and businesses. During high-peak tourism travel times, congestion and poor road conditions can deter travel to popular tourist areas.