One Third of the US Roads Are in Ruin

Though many people have in mind the long perfect roads in the United States, which are great for hours and hours of cruising, reality proves different.

A recent report released today by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and TRIP shows that one-third of the nation's major highways, including Interstates, freeways, and major roads, are in poor or mediocre condition. Roads in urban areas, which carry 66 percent of the traffic, are in much worse shape.

Poor roads means higher maintenance costs for the average American motorist who has to pay $400 a year in extra vehicle operating costs. According to the same report, drivers living in urban areas with populations over 250,000 are paying upwards of $750 more annually because of accelerated vehicle deterioration, increased maintenance, additional fuel consumption, and tire wear caused by poor road conditions.

"The American people are paying for rough roads multiple times," said Kirk T. Steudle, Director of the Michigan Department of Transportation, at a news conference held to release the report. "Rough roads lead to diminished safety, higher vehicle operating costs, and more expensive road repairs. It costs $1 to keep a road in good shape for every $7 you would have to spend on reconstruction. It's another drag on the economy."

The report also identifies the metropolitan areas with the worst roads and highways. The number one position is occupied by Los Angeles, followed by San Jose and San Francisco-Oakland. Detroit, on the other hand, occupies the last position.

According to the press release, the report points out that traffic growth has far outpaced highway construction, particularly in major metropolitan areas. The number of miles driven in this country jumped more than 41 percent from 1990 to 2007 – from 2.1 trillion miles in 1990 to 3 trillion in 2007.
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 Download: Rough Roads Ahead (PDF)


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