A new report released on Wednesday says that deficient roads cost the average Des Moines area driver nearly $1,400 each year in additional vehicle operating costs, lost time, and wasted fuel due to congestion, and traffic accidents.

 

The report was released by TRIP, a national nonprofit transportation research group based in Washington, D.C.  TRIP has already released similar reports for a number of states this year.

 

Other key stats in the report include:

  • More than 40 percent of Iowa's major locally and state-maintained roads are in poor or mediocre condition.

  • The state has the third-highest percentage of deficient bridges in the nation, behind only Pennsylvania and Oklahoma.

  • From 2007 to 2011, an average of 395 people were killed annually in Iowa traffic accidents. The state's traffic fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is 1.23, higher than the national average of 1.11. The fatality rate on non-interstate rural roads was 1.81.

A commission formed by Gov. Terry Branstad in 2011 recommended an increase in the state's gasoline tax to help offset a critical road funding shortfall of $215 million per year.

 

The tax is currently 21 cents per gallon for gas, 22.5 cents on diesel and 19 cents on ethanol-blended fuels. The commission called for an increase of 8 to 10 cents per gallon, which would raise an additional $184 million to $230 million per year.

 

"The (TRIP) report's findings underscore the fact that the cost of bad roads has a significantly more adverse economic impact on the driving public than any increase in user fees," said David Scott, executive director of the Iowa Good Roads Association, in a press release associated with the report.

 

To see a Business Record story on the gas tax, click here.