login | about us | contact us

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                           Contact: Rocky Moretti (202) 262-0714 (cell) 
JUNE 27, 2017 AT 6:00 A.M. EDT                             Carolyn Bonifas Kelly (703) 801-9212          
Report available at:
tripnet.org                                TRIP office (202) 466-6706

Eds: This report contains data for all 50 states for the percentage of rural roads in poor condition, the percent of deficient rural bridges, rural traffic fatality rates and the number of rural traffic fatalities. Click here for infographics.

Washington, D.C. – America’s rural transportation system is in need of repairs and modernization to support economic growth in the nation’s Heartland, which is a critical source of energy, food and fiber. Rural America is home to an aging and increasingly diverse population that is heavily reliant on the quality of its transportation system. This is according to a new report released today by TRIP. The report, Rural Connections: Challenges and Opportunities in America’s Heartland, evaluates the safety and condition of the nation’s rural roads and bridges and finds that the nation’s rural transportation system is in need of improvements to address deficient roads and bridges, high crash rates, and inadequate connectivity and capacity. TRIP is a national non-profit transportation research group based in Washington, D.C. The chart below shows the states with the highest rate of rural pavements in poor condition, states with the highest share of structurally deficient rural bridges and those with the highest fatality rates on non-Interstate, rural roads.

The report finds that 13 percent of New York’s rural bridges are rated as structurally deficient, the 13th highest rate in the nation. Eleven percent of New York’s rural roads are rated in poor condition and 20 percent are rated in mediocre condition. The rate of traffic fatalities on New York’s non-Interstate, rural roads – 1.65 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel – is nearly two and a half times higher than the fatality rate on all other roads in the state.

"Another year, another report from TRIP showing New York State near the bottom nationally when it comes to the safety and condition of our roads and bridges,” said Heather C. Briccetti, Esq., president and CEO of The Business Council of New York State, Inc. "Fortunately, this year’s budget maintained the hard-fought parity between upstate roads and bridges and the downstate MTA achieved in 2016. TRIP’s report shows New York’s leaders must continue to prioritize road and bridge improvements if we’re going to better our woeful standing relative to other states.”

The quality of life in America’s small communities and rural areas, and the health of the nation’s rural economy, is highly reliant on the quality of the nation’s transportation system, particularly its roads, highways and bridges. America’s rural transportation system provides the first and last link in the supply chain from farm to market while supporting the tourism industry and enabling the production of energy, food and fiber. Rural Americans are more reliant on the quality of their transportation system than their urban counterparts.

“New York’s roads and bridges are essential for getting goods to market and moving farm machinery from field to field,” said David Fisher, president of the New York Farm Bureau. “However, the poor condition of many bridges in the state has New York Farm Bureau concerned about their reliability. Without access to a safe, convenient way to travel, our farms and rural economy suffer. It is important that continued investment be made at the local, state and federal levels to ensure we have a strong infrastructure that can support our business and consumer needs.”

Rural America is home to the vast majority of tourist destinations, many of which rely on good access. “Crumbling bridges, poorly maintained roads and congested highways discourage travel, threatening the entire U.S. economy," said Erik Hansen, vice president of government relations for the U.S. Travel Association. "Lawmakers have signaled their interest in finding solutions for America's surface transportation, as evidenced in passage of the FAST Act and the formation of the NACTTI advisory board. However, far more is needed--and fast--to finish the job." 

The TRIP report finds that the U.S. needs to implement transportation improvements that will improve rural transportation connectivity, safety and conditions to provide the nation’s small communities and rural areas with safe and efficient access to support quality of life and enhance economic productivity.  The nation’s ability to address its rural transportation challenges will be greatly enhanced if Congress is able to provide a long-term, dedicated, user-based revenue stream capable of fully funding the federal surface transportation program.

“Rural roads are far too often overlooked. With fatality rates rising nationally, repairing and maintaining the nation’s roads must be a top priority for elected officials at all levels of government,” said John A. Corlett, AAA New York State’s Legislative Committee Chairman. “By investing in improvements for today and tomorrow, we can deliver a safer and more reliable infrastructure for drivers.”

“The safety and quality of life in America’s small communities and rural areas and the health of the nation’s economy ride on our rural transportation system. The nation’s rural roads and bridges provide crucial links from farm to market, move manufactured and energy products, and provide access to countless tourism, social and recreational destinations,” said Will Wilkins, executive director of TRIP.  “Fixing the federal Highway Trust Fund with a long-term, sustainable source of revenue that supports the transportation investment needed will be crucial to the modernization of our rural transportation system.”