Rough and congested roads and bridges that lack some safety features are costing Kansas City drivers nearly $2,000 a year, according to a report released Wednesday by a Washington-based transportation research group.
A lack of funding for repairs will lead to further deterioration, increased congestion and higher costs to drivers, the report said.
The report, released by the research group TRIP at a news conference at Union Station, found that Missouri’s deteriorating and congested roads and bridges cost motorists a total of $7.8 billion annually.
TRIP made its announcement as Missouri voters face a decision on whether to increase the state gas tax by 10 cents per gallon to help pay for road and bridge repairs and to fund the Missouri Highway Patrol.
Titling the report “Missouri Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility,” the group said more than half the major roads in the state are in poor or mediocre condition. About 13 percent of the bridges are structurally deficient. Delays are increasing as roads become more congested in the major metro areas.
Driving on Kansas City-area roads costs the average driver $1,989 per year in higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and lost time and fuel due to congestion-related delays.
This compares to $1,477 per driver in the Columbia-Jefferson City area, $1,576 per driver in the Springfield area and $2,031 in the St. Louis area.
Other findings in the report for the Kansas City area:
▪ Fifty-three percent of major local and state-maintained roads are in poor or mediocre condition. This cost the average driver an additional $667 each year.
▪ At least 155 of 2,925 bridges are structurally deficient.
▪ Traffic congestion is getting worse. An estimated 41 hours is lost each year for the average driver. That translates to an average cost of $988 per driver in lost time and wasted fuel each year.
▪ Traffic crashes cost Kansas City area drivers an average of $334 annually.
▪ An average of 160 people were killed in traffic crashes each year from 2014 to 2016 in the Kansas City area.
“Adequate funding for the state’s transportation system would allow for smoother roads, more efficient mobility, enhanced safety, and economic growth opportunities while saving Missouri’s drivers time and money,” Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director, said in a release.