Montana Transportation by the Numbers

Posted by Content Coordinator on Friday, March 7th, 2014


Ten Key Transportation Numbers in Montana 


Forty-six percent of Montana’s major locally and state-maintained urban roads are in either poor or mediocre condition. 


$170 million 

Driving on rough roads costs the average urban Montana motorist $484 annually in extra vehicle operating costs, a total of $170 million annually statewide. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear. 


Montana’s traffic fatality rate of 1.72 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is the third highest in the nation. 



On average, 211 people were killed annually in Montana traffic crashes from 2008 to 2012, a total of 1,053 fatalities over the five year period. 


The fatality rate on Montana’s non-interstate rural roads is nearly double that on all other roads in the state (2.25 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 1.26). 

18 % 

A total of 18 percent of Montana bridges are in need of repair, improvement or replacement. Eight percent of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient and ten percent are functionally obsolete. 

43 % 

30 % 

Vehicle miles of travel in Montana increased 43 percent from 1990 to 2012 and are expected to increase another 30 percent by 2030. 

$395 million 

If a lack of adequate revenue into the Federal Highway Trust Fund is not addressed by Congress, funding for highway and transit improvements in Montana could be cut by $395 million for the federal fiscal year beginning October 1, 2014. 


From 2008 to 2012, the federal government provided $3.07 for road improvements in Montana for every dollar paid in federal motor fuel fees. 

$1.00 = $5.20 

The Federal Highway Administration estimates that each dollar spent on road, highway and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 in the form of reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs, and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffic flow.

Executive Summary

Montana’s extensive system of roads, highways and bridges provides the state’s residents, visitors and businesses with a high level of mobility. This transportation system forms the backbone that supports the state’s economy. Montana’s 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 Montana 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 Montana’s 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.  

With a current unemployment rate of 5.2 percent and with the state’s population continuing to grow, Montana 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 Montanans. Meeting Montana’s need to modernize and maintain its system of roads, highways and bridges will require a significant boost in local, state and federal funding. 

Signed into law in July 2012, MAP-21(Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act), has improved several procedures that in the past had delayed projects, MAP-21 does not address long-term funding challenges facing the federal surface transportation program. 

The impact of inadequate federal surface transportation revenues could be felt as early as summer of 2014, when the balance in the Highway Account of the federal Highway Trust Fund is expected to drop below $1 billion, which will trigger delays in the federal reimbursement to states for road, highway and bridge projects. States are expected to respond to this delay in federal reimbursement for road, highway and bridge repairs and improvements by delaying or postponing numerous projects. 

As a further result, nationwide federal funding for highways will be cut by almost 100 percent from the current investment level for the fiscal year starting on October 1, 2014 (FY 2015) unless Congress provides additional transportation revenues. This is due to a cash shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund as projected by the Congressional Budget Office. 

The level of funding and the provisions of the federal surface transportation program have a significant impact on highway and bridge conditions, roadway safety, transit service, quality of life and economic development opportunities in Montana.

Download full version (PDF): Montana Transportation by the Numbers

About TRIP
“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.”

Tags: , ,

Comments are closed.

Follow InfraUSA on Twitter Facebook YouTube Flickr


Show us your infra! Show us your infra!

Video, stills and tales. Share images of the Infra in your community that demands attention. Post your ideas about national Infra issues. Go ahead. Show Us Your Infra!  Upload and instantly share your message.

Polls Polls

Is the administration moving fast enough on Infra issues? Are Americans prepared to pay more taxes for repairs? Should job creation be the guiding determination? Vote now!


What do the experts think? This is where the nation's public policy organizations, trade associations and think tanks weigh in with analysis on Infra issues. Tell them what you think.  Ask questions.  Share a different view.


The Infra Blog offers cutting edge perspective on a broad spectrum of Infra topics. Frequent updates and provocative posts highlight hot button topics -- essential ingredients of a national Infra dialogue.