BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Drivers in Baton Rouge lose nearly $2,300 a year on roads that are deteriorated, congested, and lack certain safety features, a new study by TRIP announced.
Speakers from TRIP, a national transportation research nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., joined local leaders at a press conference Tuesday, Oct. 8 to highlight the report’s findings and discuss possible solutions.
The report examines road and bridge conditions, congestion, economic development, highway safety, and transportation funding in the Baton Rouge area and statewide. The TRIP report also includes data for Lafayette, New Orleans, and Shreveport areas.
The report says 61% of the roads in Baton Rouge are in poor or mediocre condition and due to those poor conditions, Baton Rouge residents spend about $730 per year on vehicle repairs.
“We have an infrastructure problem in Louisiana. I don’t know if you knew that, but we’re letting you know,” said Randy Cangelosi, board chairman for the Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC). “We need a gas tax. You may not like it, but it is a necessity. It is no longer a luxury and we keep putting this off and we’re making things worse. Every year you put this off, it costs more.”
“According to our report, roads and bridges here in Baton Rouge that are deteriorated, congested, and lack some safety features cost each driver $2,300 each year. That amounts to a total of $6.9 billion statewide,” said Carolyn Bonifas Kelly, a spokesperson for the TRIP study.
The report says drivers in Baton Rouge lose $1,011 in lost time and wasted fuel every year sitting in traffic congestion and an additional $550 per year from road safety issues. It also estimates traffic in Baton Rouge is worsening and the average driver in Baton Rouge sits in traffic for 58 hours each year.
The report also says roads in Louisiana are among the most deadly in the country.
“Louisiana’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.54 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2017 is significantly higher than the national average of 1.16,” the report says. That number is the fifth highest in the nation, according to the report.