Crumbling, crowded and unsafe roads and bridges cost Kansas motorists $2.7 billion a year, according to a report released Thursday by a transportation study group.
That breaks down to nearly $1,600 a year for every driver in Johnson and Wyandotte counties.
That comes in the form of vehicle operating costs on rough roads, congestion-related delays and traffic crashes, the report said.
That is a consequence, in part, of the diversion of $2.4 billion and counting from the Kansas Department of Transportation to the general fund to stanch revenue shortfalls, according to TRIP, a Washington-based research group sponsored by businesses and organizations concerned with transportation issues.
TRIP says it does not take a position on specific legislative or executive actions, but it says the diversion of state funds away from transportation could increase to $3.4 billion by fiscal 2019, further straining the roads and bridges infrastructure.
“We’re certainly pointing out this is a consequence,” Rocky Moretti, director of research and policy for TRIP, said in a visit Thursday to Overland Park.
The study included state roads as well as roads cared for by local governments. It included data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Texas A&M Transportation Institute, the Federal Highway Administration and KDoT.
Among the findings:
▪ Thirty-seven percent of Kansas’ major urban roads are in poor or mediocre condition.
▪ Nine percent of Kansas bridges are structurally deficient.
▪ Congestion costs time and fuel. Drivers in Johnson and Wyandotte counties waste 39 hours a year.
▪ Every $1 in deferred maintenance will cost $4 or $5 in future repairs.
▪ Traffic crashes in which the roadway was likely a contributing factor cost Kansas motorists $730 million a year in lost productivity, insurance and other expenses.
Tracey Osborne, president of the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce, said that 92 percent of Kansans surveyed think highways should be a priority for lawmakers. She said the chamber has long opposed the diversion of transportation money to other funds.