Bad roads cost
isle motorists
$995 each

A report calculates the annual cost
in delays, vehicle wear and injury

Hawaii's substandard roads cost each motorist an average of $995 per year in traffic delays, wear and tear on their vehicles and reduced safety, according to a report released yesterday by a national research organization.


The Road Information Program detailed the following:

» Only 15 percent of Hawaii's state roads are in good condition, compared with a goal of 75 percent.
» 14 percent of Hawaii's bridges were structurally deficient in 2004, with significant deterioration of bridge decks, supports or other major components.
» Vehicle travel on Hawaii's major highways increased 15 percent to 9.3 billion vehicle-miles in 2003 from 8.1 billion vehicle-miles in 1990.
» About 23 percent of Hawaii's urban interstate and other highways are considered congested.
» The typical Hawaii commuter spent an additional 19 hours a year in traffic, on average, in 2000 than in 1990.
» The most heavily used highway is the H-1 freeway, with average daily traffic of 229,939 vehicles.

That is based on a total cost of $677 million a year, says TRIP, a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit organization also known as the Road Information Program.

"Inadequate roads and bridges cost Hawaii motorists millions of dollars every year in wasted time and fuel, injuries and fatalities caused by traffic accidents and wear and tear on their vehicles," says TRIP's report, "Paying the Price for Inadequate Roads in Hawaii."

The group funded by insurance companies, businesses involved in road building, labor and safety organizations advocates more state and federal spending on highway maintenance and repair.

The report comes as state lawmakers consider Gov. Linda Lingle's proposal to spend $72.8 million next year for state highway maintenance and $67.2 million in fiscal year 2007. The current year's highway maintenance budget is $47.3 million.

"We know that our highways are congested, we know that we need to improve our highways, so we're going to take a very aggressive but systematic approach in doing that," said state Transportation Director Rodney Haraga.

The report says two-thirds of Hawaii's roads are substandard, according to 2003 data the state reported to the U.S. Federal Highway Administration.

All states rate their roads as poor, mediocre, fair or good based on pavement conditions. Hawaii rated 13 percent of its roads poor, 53 percent mediocre, 17 percent fair and 13 percent good. The national average is 13 percent poor, 21 percent mediocre, 19 percent fair and 47 percent good.

Hawaii reported last year that 14 percent of its bridges 20 feet or longer were structurally deficient, and 32 percent were functionally obsolete.

TRIP spokeswoman Carolyn Bonifas said yesterday that the organization has not done reports for every state and does not remember the last time it did a study of Hawaii's roads. "If there are states where there is a need in the state for a focus on transportation, it needs to be brought up on a statewide level," she said.

Haraga agrees with the report's findings but said the state has made improvements since 2003, including the resurfacing of Nimitz Highway and Moanalua Freeway and the widening of Fort Weaver Road to six lanes to four. More projects are planned or under way.

the Road Information Program

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