The Cost of Doing Nothing - Not Chicken Feed

July 16, 2012

 

The cost of doing nothing about funding Texas highways is probably higher than you think. There are a host of hidden costs - lost time traffic delays, reduced safety, higher prices for goods that take longer to deliver, vehicle damage and more.

 

A&M's Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) says motorists in urban Texas are spending on average 37 hours extra in traffic delays every year. The Cost of Doing Nothing is high. Texas community leaders and businesses are uniting to send a message to members of the Legislature that it is time to invest in highways again. Part of this effort is a new website called InfrastructureTexas.Org and it is about the need to invest in our future. The effort was initiated by the Texas Good Roads/Transportation Association.

 

Here are some of the key points they make:

 

When the state fails to invest in highways, the cost is shifted to you in the form of wasted time struck in traffic, damage to your vehicle, accelerated tire wear, and increased likelihood of being in a serious accident. Texas Good Roads says that these costs to each family are much higher than any highway funding increases proposed by state leaders.

 

SAFETY

Every Texan pays an average of $948 annually in accident-related costs, according to TRIP, a national transportation research group.

 

Texans pay $6.5 billion statewide due to serious accidents caused by older roads which do not meet current safety design standards. This includes lost productivity, lost earnings, medical costs and emergency services.

 

 

HOUSEHOLD COSTS

Each Texas driver pays an average of $343 a year in additional repair costs due to poorly maintained roads. The total is $5.3 billion a year statewide.

 

TTI calculates the cost of traffic congestion is $1,500 a year for the average Texas household. They predict it could be $5,000 a year in 20 years.

 

THE TEXAS ECONOMY

Congestion costs the Texas Economy $10.8 Billion per year. By 2025, A&M's TTI says that will be almost $30 Billion.

 

Underfunding highways increases the cost of everything you purchase. From the groceries off the shelf to the good you buy online, transportation costs are a big cost factor in the price.

 

SAVING MONEY

It may be a little counter intuitive but raising highway investments will save you money. Everyone with a vehicle knows that prevention costs less than repairs. By investing in highways the cost to each household will go down.

 

Texas households currently invest $232 per year for their roads according to research done by TTI for the blue-ribbon 2030 Committee. THAT'S ALL. But when you add it to the other costs identified here it comes to a whooping cost to you of $6,095 a year in total vehicle use and maintenance costs.

 

An additional $174 in taxes and fees for construction and maintenance will reduce your net total vehicle cost to $4,825 a year, saving you $1,096 year after year. An additional $279 in fees for construction and maintenance saves you about $1,588 a year. And $402 more in fees for construction and maintenance reduces your total costs $2,041 (TTI calculations for 2030 Committee).

 

The message is simply: SAVE MONEY. INVEST IN TEXAS HIGHWAYS.

 

You can see more of the Cost of Doing Nothing information at: INFRASTRUCTURE TEXAS.