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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          Contact: Rocky Moretti (202) 262-0714
Tuesday, May 19, 2015                                                          Carolyn Bonifas Kelly (703) 801-9212                        
Report available at: www.tripnet.org                                       TRIP office (202) 466-6706

ARKANSAS’ RURAL ROADS HAVE HIGH RATES OF DEFICIENCIES AND HIGH FATALITY RATES; STATE’S RURAL TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM IN NEED OF MODERNIZATION TO BETTER SUPPORT ECONOMIC GROWTH
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here. 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.

 

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 and home to an aging and increasingly diverse population that is heavily reliant on the quality of its transportation system. A new report released today by TRIP 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 rural roads. 

 

Rank

 

 

STATE

Rural

Pavement

in Poor

Condition

STATE

Structurally

Deficient

Rural

Bridges

STATE

 

Rural

Fatality

Rate

Fatality

Rate on

All Other

Roads

1

Michigan

37%

 Pennsylvania

25%

 Connecticut

     3.57

0.59

2

Rhode Island

32%

 Rhode Island

23%

 S. Carolina

     3.40

0.69

3

Hawaii

31%

 Iowa

22%

 Florida

     3.20

0.96

4

Idaho

31%

 South Dakota

21%

 Montana

     3.09

0.76

5

Kansas

30%

 Oklahoma 

19%

 Arizona

     3.01

1.15

6

West Virginia

29%

 Nebraska

18%

 California

     2.83

0.67

7

Oklahoma

27%

 North Dakota

17%

 West Virginia

     2.61

1.08

8

Maine

26%

 Louisiana

16%

 Arkansas

     2.58

0.77

9

Alaska

25%

 Maine

15%

 Georgia

     2.55

0.77

10

New Mexico

25%

 Missouri

15%

 Oklahoma 

     2.52

0.87

11

Connecticut

25%

 N. Hampshire

14%

 Texas

     2.48

1.04

12

Vermont

24%

 Mississippi

14%

 Mississippi

     2.42

0.82

13

Mississippi

22%

 N. Carolina

14%

 Tennessee

     2.38

1.03

14

Washington

22%

 Michigan

13%

 N. Carolina

     2.38

0.67

15

Missouri

21%

 New York

13%

 Massachusetts

     2.32

0.52

16

N. Hampshire

20%

 West Virginia

13%

 Kentucky

     2.24

0.7

17

Virginia

19%

 Wyoming

13%

 Pennsylvania

     2.23

0.88

18

Arkansas

19%

 New Jersey

13%

 North Dakota

     2.19

0.47

19

Wisconsin

18%

 S. Carolina

12%

 South Dakota

     2.19

0.8

20

Pennsylvania

18%

 California

12%

 Kansas

     2.19

0.55

The report found that rural roads and bridges in Aransas’ have significant deficiencies. Nineteen percent of Arkansas’ major rural roads were rated in poor condition in 2013, the 18th highest rate nationally. The report also found that traffic crashes and fatalities on rural roads in Arkansas occur at a rate significantly higher than all other roads in the state. In 2013, non-Interstate rural roads in Arkansas had a traffic fatality rate of 2.58 deaths for every 100 million vehicle miles of travel (VMT), the eighth highest rate nationally and more than three times higher than the traffic fatality rate of 0.77 deaths per 100 million VMT for all other roads in Arkansas.

“Arkansas is a small state with less than three million people. And because our state highway system includes a whopping 16,000 miles, highway funding must reach and serve rural areas as it connects our cities and towns,” said Craig Douglass, interim director of the Arkansas Good Roads/Transportation Council. “In fact, our local economies live and die according to their access to adequate transportation connecting business and industry that puts food on the tables, steel in buildings and engines in the airplanes crisscrossing the country and the world. None of this happens without critical federal funding, complementing what Arkansans pay to maintain the roads we have and build the ones we need.”

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.

“America’s rural transportation network plays a key role in the success and quality of life for U.S. farmers and ranchers,” said Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. “But deteriorated and deficient rural roads and bridges are hindering our nation’s agricultural goods from reaching markets at home and abroad and slowing the pace of economic growth in rural America. Securing the appropriate resources at the local, state and federal levels will allow for the improvements needed to provide a rural transportation system that will keep goods moving, improve quality of life and quicken the pace of economic growth.”

The federal surface transportation program is a critical source of funding for rural roads. However, the current federal surface transportation program is set to expire on May 31, 2015.

“The 61 million people who live in America’s rural heartland deserve a transportation system that is safe, efficient and reliable,” said Kathleen Bower, AAA vice president of public affairs. “It is up to Congress to pass a fully funded, long-term bill to improve our nation’s rural roads before the Highway Trust Fund runs out of money this summer.”

The TRIP report finds that the U.S. needs to adopt transportation policies 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. To accomplish this, the report recommends modernizing and extending key routes to accommodate personal and commercial travel, implementing needed roadway safety improvements, improving public transit access to rural areas, and adequately funding the preservation and maintenance of rural transportation assets.

“America’s rural transportation system enables the farm to market supply chain, supports our tourism and energy industries, and allows for the production of the goods and services that are vital to our nation’s economic health and growth,” said Janet Kavinoky, executive director of Transportation and Infrastructure at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “But years of inadequate transportation funding have left a deficient rural transportation network that does not meet present-day demands. Improving the transportation system will create jobs today and leave a lasting asset for future generations.” 

“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 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.  “But, with long-term federal transportation legislation stuck in political gridlock in Washington, America’s rural communities and economies could face even higher unemployment and decline.  Funding the modernization of our rural transportation system will create jobs and help ensure long-term economic development and quality of life in rural America.”