Report shows drivers in region lose $1,900 a year due to poor roads

Congressman Jim Himes, who represents most of Shelton, is highlighting a new report that shows how the average driver in the Bridgeport-Stamford area loses almost $1,900 annually due to roads that are congested, deteriorated and unsafe.

Himes said the report, released Dec. 23 by the national transportation group TRIP, underscores the need for long-term federal transportation investments to create jobs and improve the safety and efficiency of Connecticut's highway and transit networks.

"This report shows how our region's deteriorated, overburdened transportation system continues to drain precious time and money from Fairfield County commuters and businesses,” said Himes, a Democrat elected to his fourth term in November.

“Our transportation infrastructure is the foundation on which we build economic growth and create jobs, and we can't afford to neglect it any longer,” he said. “We need a long-term transportation bill that invests in our crumbling roads, bridges and railways to ensure the safety of our people and make our economy more competitive.”

Many roads in poor condition

Connecticut drivers lose $4.2 billion each year due to the inadequate condition of the state’s roads and bridges, according to the report by TRIP, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit transportation research organization. In the Bridgeport-Stamford area, drivers lose $1,885 annually.

The study also concluded that 41% of Connecticut's major urban roads and highways are in poor condition, and more than one-third of the state's bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

The TRIP report found that traffic congestion in the Bridgeport-Stamford corridor costs each driver 42 hours a year in delays, and $902 annually in lost time and wasted fuel.

Impact on state’s economy

Himes said the efficiency of Connecticut’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is vital to the health of the state’s economy.

The Federal Highway Administration estimates that each dollar invested in road, highway and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 in the form of reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffic flow, according to a release from Himes’ office.

From 2008 to 2012, the federal government provided $1.76 for road improvements in Connecticut for every dollar the state paid in federal motor fees, says the release.

Transportation funding program status

In July 2014, Congress approved an eight-month extension of the federal surface transportation program, which will run through May 31, 2015.

The legislation will also transfer nearly $11 billion into the Highway Trust Fund to preserve existing levels of highway and public transportation investment through the end of next May.

Himes is among those pushing for a longer-term approach. He has co-sponsored legislation that would establish a National Infrastructure Bank, using federal dollars to leverage private investment through loans and guarantees.

Shelton is in two congressional districts

The city of Shelton is divided between two congressional districts.

U.S. Rep. Jim Himes lives in Greenwich and was first elected to Congress in 2008. He represents the Fourth District, which includes most of Fairfield County.

U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro lives in New Haven and was first elected to Congress in 1990. Also a Democrat, DeLauro represents the Third District, which is centered in New Haven County.