Massachusetts’ extensive system of roads, bridges, highways and public transit provides the state’s residents, visitors and businesses with a high level of mobility. This transportation system, which also includes pedestrian and bicycle facilities, forms the backbone that supports the state’s economy. Massachusetts’ surface transportation system enables the state’s residents and visitors to travel to work and school, visit family and friends, and frequent tourist and recreation attractions while providing its businesses with reliable access to customers, materials, suppliers and employees.
As Massachusetts looks to retain its businesses, maintain its level of economic competitiveness and achieve further economic growth, the state will need to maintain and modernize its roads, highways and bridges by improving the physical condition of its transportation network and enhancing the system’s ability to provide efficient and reliable mobility for motorists and businesses. Making needed improvements to Massachusetts’ roads, highways and bridges could also provide a significant boost to the state’s economy by creating jobs in the short term and stimulating long term economic growth as a result of enhanced mobility and access.
Massachusetts must improve its system of roads, highways and bridges to foster economic growth and keep businesses in the state. In addition to economic growth, transportation improvements are needed to ensure safe, reliable mobility and quality of life for all residents. Meeting Massachusetts’ need to modernize and maintain its system of roads, highways and bridges will require a significant boost in local, state and federal funding.
Last year the Massachusetts legislature approved the Transportation Finance Act of 2013 which is anticipated to provide an additional $600 million annually for improvements to the state’s roads, bridges, rails and public transit systems. This infusion of additional funding has allowed the Bay State to move forward with numerous projects for improvements to the state’s roads, highways, bridges, rail lines and public transit systems, but falls $400 million short of the estimated $1 billion in additional annual transportation investment needed in the state.
The federal government is another critical source of funding for Massachusetts’ surface transportation system. Congress recently approved an eight-month extension of the federal surface transportation program, MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act), which provides the state with road, highway, bridge and transit funding through May 31, 2015.
Meeting Massachusetts’ need to further improve and modernize its system of roads, rails and public transit will for require that the recent state funding boost is maintained and that a long-term, reliably funded, federal surface transportation program is approved.
An inadequate transportation system costs Massachusetts residents a total of $8.3 billion every year in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC), congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.
- TRIP estimates that Massachusetts roadways that lack some desirable safety features, have inadequate capacity to meet travel demands or have poor pavement conditions cost the state’s residents approximately $8.3 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear), the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to traffic congestion, and the financial cost of traffic crashes.
- TRIP has calculated the average cost to drivers in the state’s largest urban areas as a result of driving on roads that are deteriorated, congested and lacking some desirable safety features. The chart below details the costs to drivers in the Boston, Springfield and Worcester urban areas.
Founded in 1971, TRIP ® of Washington, DC, is a nonprofit organization that researches, evaluates and distributes economic and technical data on surface transportation issues. TRIP is sponsored by insurance companies, equipment manufacturers, distributors and suppliers; businesses involved in highway and transit engineering and construction; labor unions; and organizations concerned with efficient and safe surface transportation.