Home > US News > America’s roads are falling apart

America’s roads are falling apart


By Deborah Gage | Sep 28, 2010 | 16 Comments

report released this month by TRIP, a non-profit in Washington, D.C., whose backers include insurance companies, labor unions and other businesses with an interest in transportation.

TRIP says that about a quarter of major U.S. urban roads are in sub-standard or poor condition, while only a third are in good condition. State budget deficits, the end of federal stimulus money and the lack of a long-term federal surface transportation program from Congress may make the bad roads worse.

Just about every major city in California made TRIP’s list of top 20 worst urban areas in the nation for roads — starting with San Jose, which is home to Silicon Valley. San Jose residents also pay the most to maintain their cars — $756 per year, on average, compared to an average of $402 nationally.

One thing that’s tearing up our roads is trucks. Vehicle travel was up 39 percent between 1990 and 2008, but truck travel was up by 49 percent. Government isn’t spending enough to maintain and repair roads — $14 billion per year, compared to the $26.6 billion that the Department of Transportation says is required to stay even and the $39 billion needed to get ahead. Such efforts would also create jobs.

TRIP suggests that roads be fixed while they’re still relatively healthy, which means better construction, better materials and more preventive care.

Here’s their list of 20 worst cities for travel by car. Get the full report here.

Rank Urban Area Pct. Poor
1 San Jose, California 64%
2 Los Angeles, California 63%
3 Honolulu, Hawaii 62%
4 Concord, California 58%
5 San Francisco-Oakland, California 58%
6 New Orleans, Louisiana 55%
7 New York-Newark, NY/NJ 53%
8 San Diego, California 50%
9 Indio-Palm Springs, California 47%
10 Baltimore, Maryland 46%
11 Kansas City, Missouri / Kansas 45%
12 Riverside-San Bernardino, California 44%
13 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 42%
14 Sacramento, California 42%
15 Omaha, Nebraska 42%
16 San Antonio, Texas 39%
17 Detroit, Michigan 38%
18 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 37%
19 Tulsa, Oklahoma 36%
20 Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas 34%

pothole on 2d avenue in NY City
(The picture is of a pothole on Second Avenue in New York City — another city that’s on the list.)

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