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Hawaii's poor roads cost taxpayers twice


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POSTED: Saturday, May 09, 2009

Honolulu drivers pay an average $688 extra annually for repairs, increased fuel consumption and tire wear due to rough road conditions, a new study finds.

               

     

 

Rough drives

The top five urban regions with a population of 500,000 people or more with “;the highest share of roads”; in poor condition in 2007:

       

» Los Angeles: 64 percent

       

» San Jose, Calif.: 61 percent

       

» San Francisco-Oakland: 61 percent

       

» Honolulu: 61 percent

       

» Concord, Calif.: 54 percent

       

 

       

Source: “;Rough Roads Ahead: Fix Them Now or Pay for It Later,”; by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and TRIP

       

Roads here are among the five worst in the nation for poor pavement, according to the report, “;Rough Roads Ahead: Fix Them Now or Pay for It Later.”; The study looked at pavement conditions on major urban roadways in 20 regions in 2007.

Wayne Yoshioka, director of the city Department of Transportation Services, said roadways have been neglected for 10 years and that we are paying for it now.

“;There wasn't a lot of money going into road maintenance. ... Once the road starts to deteriorate, it accelerates,”; he said. “;We're playing catch-up. Both the city and state have been pouring in resources to address their roadway maintenance issues.”;

Sixty-one percent of major roads and highways in Honolulu maintained by the city and state were considered inadequate. San Jose and San Francisco-Oakland, Calif., had the same percentage, while Los Angeles topped the list at 64 percent.

According to the report, the public ends up paying twice for poor road conditions through higher costs to keep a car running and higher costs to fix the roads.

The report said not enough funding is available to keep up with declining road conditions as more cars are using the roads.

A $4 billion plan to raise fuel and vehicle taxes to pay for highway repairs died in the Legislature this session.

Lawmakers also cut highway maintenance funding by $20 million for the next two years, said state Transportation Director Brennon Morioka. “;With $10 million less each year, we have to find creative ways to keep our roads together,”; he said.

The report was conducted by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation officials and TRIP, a nonprofit organization that works to reduce traffic congestion and improve roads and bridges.

More information is available at www.tripnet.org