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New Data Shows Poor Road Conditions Hinder Economic Growth in North Carolina

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Media Contact(s):
Jim Jennings, (703) 295-6406, 540-272-1452 cell, jjennings@asceorg

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Business voices call for smart investment in infrastructure

New data released today by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and TRIP show the deteriorating conditions of the surface transportation infrastructure system in North Carolina is worsening, and families and businesses continue to feel the impact. Closing the investment gap in the state’s surface transportation infrastructure will grow North Carolina’s economy, save jobs and protect personal income.

“Failing to invest in North Carolina’s roads, bridges and transit systems has a dramatic negative impact on the state and national economy,” said Gregory E. DiLoreto, P.E., president of ASCE. “This data underscores the need for state and national policymakers to make smart, long-term investments in infrastructure.”

By 2020, ASCE projects the consequences of these conditions will cost the U.S. economy $897 billion in lost Gross Domestic Product and $28 billion in exports as transportation costs rise. The recent surface transportation bill adopted by Congress addresses spending in only the next two years, and it fails to fill the current funding gap.
“While addressing North Carolina’s need for a safe, efficient and well-maintained transportation system will require a significant boost in investment, failing to act will result in even greater costs,” said Will Wilkins, executive director of TRIP. “Smart investments in transportation policies relieve traffic congestion, improve road and bridge conditions and enhance economic productivity.”
Due to the underinvestment in transportation in the Southeast, data from ASCE shows that by 2020 productivity losses will cause the region to underperform by $73 billion and 70,000 jobs will be lost resulting in a drop in personal income of almost $74 billion if no action is taken.

“Our state needs comprehensive, long-term solutions to meet the transportation and infrastructure demands of today and tomorrow,” said Lew Ebert, President and Chief Executive Officer of the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce. “With the projected business and population growth, we need to get serious solving our infrastructure challenges to retain current investments and attract new jobs, new investments and expansions.”

“North Carolina’s roads, bridges and transit systems are critical links to ensuring a healthy economy,” said James Rispoli, North Carolina resident and President and Chief Executive Officer with Project Time & Cost, Inc., a project management company. “State and local investment in key projects not only improves highway conditions in our state, but also creates good paying jobs.”
The latest information from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) shows pavement has severe deterioration in North Carolina, and the effects of the conditions are acute:

  • Vehicle travel on North Carolina’s highways increased by 63 percent from 1990 to 2010. The state’s population grew by 44 percent between 1990 and 2010.
  • Fifty-four percent of North Carolina's major urban highways are congested, and 44 percent of North Carolina's major urban roads are in poor or mediocre condition.
  • Driving on roads in need of repair costs North Carolina motorists $2.1 billion a year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs - an average of $326 per driver.
  • Twenty-seven percent of North Carolina's bridges (4,937) are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.


“Making smart investments in high quality roads and bridges is important to our state’s quality of life,” said David Peterson Structures Project Manager, RK&K Engineers, LLP, a transportation engineering firm specializing in design-build projects. “Our roads and bridges connect both businesses and families to commerce as they move across our state and throughout the country.”

Bad roads mean big problems for businesses in North Carolina considering 86 percent of the $364 billion worth of commodities delivered annually from sites in North Carolina is transported by trucks on the state’s highways, and an additional 8 percent is delivered by parcel, U.S. Postal Service or courier, which use multiple modes, including highways.

“Our highways, roads and bridges are real economic drivers for the state,” Gayle N. Anderson, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce said. “We need to maintain high quality infrastructure so good companies will want to do business here.”
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About ASCE
Founded in 1852, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) represents more than 140,000 members of the civil engineering profession worldwide and is America's oldest national engineering society. To learn more visit www.asce.org/failuretoact.
About TRIP
Founded in 1971, TRIP is a nonprofit organization that researches, evaluates and distributes economic and technical data on surface transportation issues. TRIP promotes transportation policies that relieve traffic congestion, improve road and bridge conditions, improve air quality, make surface travel safer and enhance economic productivity. To learn more visit www.tripnet.org.