GCA releases report by TRIP highlighting the poor condition of New York's roads and bridges


New York, NY – The General Contractors Association of New York (GCA NY) joined a coalition of transportation and infrastructure advocates and national transportation research group TRIP for the release of their new report, Conditions and Safety of New York’s Roads and Bridges,” which highlights the dire conditions of New York’s roadways and bridges and the monetary burden to each driver annually.  Joining GCA NY and TRIP for the unveiling of the report on the steps of New York City Hall were New York City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez and Chair of the NYC Council Committee on Transportation and John Corlett from the American Automobile Association of Northeast (AAA Northeast).

The TRIP report examines road and bridge conditions, traffic safety, economic development and transportation funding in New York State. In addition to statewide information and data pertaining to New York City, the report also provides regional pavement and bridge condition and highway safety data for Albany, Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse and outlines how increased investment in transportation improvements at the local, state and federal levels could improve road and bridge conditions, enhance safety, relieve traffic congestion and support long-term economic growth in New York.

Among the key findings of the report include:

About 37 percent of major locally and state-maintained urban roads and highways are in poor condition.

Only 20 percent of the state’s major urban roads are in good condition.

Driving on rough roads costs all New York State motorists a total of $6.3 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs (VOC).

The average driver in the NYC urban area loses $694 each year as a result of driving on rough roads.

Extra costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

Nearly 40 percent of locally and state-maintained bridges in New York show significant deterioration or do not meet current design standards.

In the New York City urban area, nine percent of bridges are structurally deficient and 48 percent are functionally obsolete.

The endorsement of a 2014 report by the Oregon State Department of Transportation that cited the loss of economic activity and GDP from not preserving their roads and bridges.

“Investing in our transportation network will forever be intertwined with economic development and unfortunately, that connection is too often overlooked,” said Felice Farber, Director of External Affairs for the General Contractors Association of New York.  “Our elected officials must understand not only the financial drain that poorly maintained roads and bridges have on regional economies through additional vehicle operating costs and lost productivity, but the tremendous benefits associated with roadway and bridge investments.  Those benefits include an average monetary benefit of $5.20 for every dollar spent on roadway and bridge investments, increased safety and improved traffic flow which all contribute to a more competitive and flourishing economy.”

"Our infrastructure is in dire need of attention. Every year New Yorkers spend close to $700 maintaining their vehicles after they get beat up by the hundreds of potholes and unsafe conditions throughout our city and state. Not only do we need more funding from Albany for infrastructure improvement, we need to ensure that funding is allocated based on the needs of our city and others like ours." said New York City Council Transportation Chairman Ydanis Rodriguez.

Roadway improvements can play a pivotal role in reducing the number traffic fatalities with an average of 663 traffic fatalities occurring annually in the New York City urban area.  Such improvements include removing or shielding obstacles, adding or improving medians, improved lighting, adding rumble strips, wider lanes, wider and paved shoulders, and better road markings and traffic signals. 

The efficiency and condition of New York’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy.  Annually, $550 billion in goods are shipped from sites in New York and another $597 billion in goods are shipped to sites in the state, mostly by truck.

“These conditions are only going to get worse if greater funding is not made available at the local, state and federal levels,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Without additional transportation funds, the state’s pavement and bridge conditions will continue to decline, needed safety improvements will not be made, congestion will worsen and the state will lose out on opportunities for economic growth.”

“It’s easy to take our transportation system for granted, but the truth is that it requires continuous investment,” said John Corlett, Legislative Committee Chairman for AAA New York State. “Unfortunately, drivers see the consequences of infrastructure neglect when they encounter the hundreds of thousands of potholes tearing up New York roads. In fact, AAA handles a flat tire call once every four minutes in the New York metro area.  All levels of government need to invest in infrastructure in a long-term, fiscally responsible manner, starting with federal officials, who must pass a highway bill that avoids gimmickry or kick-the-can policies.”


About the GCA

The General Contractors Association of New York represents the unionized heavy construction industry in New York City that constructs New York’s building foundations and public works infrastructure.  The GCA’s 225 member contractors employ over 20,000 hardworking professionals throughout New York State.

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.