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Driving On Unkempt Streets May Be Costing Houstonians More Than They Think

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

(Wendy Siegle, KUHF News Houston)  Driving along Broadway in southeast Houston can be tense. Potholes, uneven pavement, and jarring dips in the road lie in ambush on every block. Whether your car will be able to dodge all the hazardous obstacles or come out on the other side with a busted suspension is anyone’s guess. Perhaps that’s too harsh of an assessment, but roads like Broadway are one of the reasons Houstonians shell out an average of $438 a year in additional operating costs, according to a recent report by the national transportation research group TRIP. “That’s money you would not be spending if the roads were all in good condition,” said Frank Moretti, TRIP's director of policy and research.

Listen to full story here.

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Report: Chronic Underinvestment In Texas Roads Will Cost Big In The Future

Friday, October 01, 2010

(Wendy Siegle, KUHF News Houston) Times are tough for America’s roads. States are facing budget shortfalls of more than $127 billion for 2010-2011, leaving transportation agencies with limited funding for maintenance and improvement projects. It seems streets will remain neglected for a while yet. But what’s the price of postponing all that much needed work on our roadways? Here in Texas, members from the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) recently prepared a report for state lawmakers to answer that question.

The document notes the projected costs to Texas’ economy, businesses, and to Texans themselves. According to TTI, if the state continues its current spending plan, the cost to Texas’ economy from deteriorating mobility is more than $1.1 trillion over the next 25 years. Other findings include:

  • Loss of Jobs: “If Texas cannot maintain current mobility levels and, instead, continues to spend at planned levels, an estimated 288,000 jobs could be lost by 2035.”
  • Loss of businesses: “Deteriorating infrastructure and decreasing mobility reduces the ability of Texas to compete, both in terms of product cost and the ability to attract and retain a qualified workforce”
  • Maintenance Versus Reconstruction: “Reconstruction costs can be more than three times the cost of 25 years of maintenance. Plus, proper maintenance can extend the life of a roadway by as much as 18 years.”
  • Increased Congestion: “By 2035, delay will cause the average commuter to spend almost 140 hours stuck in traffic compared to 38 hours in 2010.”

LINK: Full Report.

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Houston's Metro To Make Cutbacks In Light Of Reduced Budget

Friday, September 24, 2010

(Wendy Siegle, KUHF - Houston) The Metropolitan Transit Authority in Houston posted its 2011 budget online today. It will be presented to the board in a public hearing on Monday. The proposed budget shows a 31 percent decrease from the 2010 spending plan. That's a difference of a whopping 430-million dollars.

Still, despite the drastic reduction, officials say customers won't feel the pinch: fares won't increase and services will remain intact. But Metro will have to do some significant trimming somewhere if it plans to stop operating in a deficit and on less than a billion dollars in the next fiscal year. But where to cut?

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