New Report Looks at Cost of Deficient Roads to Missourians

May 1, 2015

Fuel Pump
Credit Tate Nations / Flickr

A new report by a national transportation research group looks at the cost to Missourians of deficient and congested roadways.

In the Springfield area, the report by TRIP finds that 44 percent of major roads in the Springfield urban area are in poor or mediocre condition, costing the average Springfield motorist an extra $455 per year. 

Across Missouri it found that 22 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads are in poor condition.  Twenty-three percent of bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.  TRIP’s Rocky Moretti said the report looks at what are the most critical numbers for transportation.

"The report finds that residents here in Missouri are spending an additional $4.5 billion annually for deficient roads and bridges," he said.

He said those numbers include the costs of driving on rough roads, the cost of delays caused by traffic congestion and the cost of traffic crashes where, to some extent, the level of roadway safety features contributed to the seriousness of the crash.

The MO Department of Transportation recently introduced the 325 System Plan that will kick in when the state’s transportation budget drops to $325 million—expected to be in 2017.  When that happens, many of the state’s roads will receive only routine maintenance.

MODOT’s regional engineer Becky Baltz said if Missouri can’t match federal funds, those funds will be lost.

"When we go to the gas pump, we are paying a federal tax, and we are paying a state tax.  We're not going to be able to get that federal money back to Missouri because we can't make that state match," she said.

The TRIP report states that without a substantial boost in federal, state and local highway funding, Missouri’s ability to improve the condition of its transportation system and enhance economic development opportunities  in the state will be hampered.

Meanwhile, the Missouri Senate has given first round approval to a bill that would increase the state's tax on gasoline by 1.5 cents per gallon and the tax on diesel fuel by 3.5 cents per gallon.