Better Roads Staff
Stuck in traffic
Delayed reauthorization costs keep adding up with no relief in sight
By John Latta
Traffic congestion and the delays it causes are costing the nation’s construction firms an estimated $23 billion each year, according to a new analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America.
“There is no relief from traffic in sight,” association officials warned.
“Traffic tie-ups nationwide are sapping productivity, delaying construction projects and raising costs for construction firms of all types,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer.
The new analysis was based on responses from nearly 1,200 construction firms the association surveyed in late April and May. Sandherr said that a “staggering” 93 percent of firms reported that traffic and congestion were affecting their operations. Meanwhile, nearly two-thirds of firms lose at least one day of productivity per worker per year due to traffic congestion, equaling 3.7 million days of lost productivity industry-wide each year.
“As larger projects get put on the backburner, traffic stagnates, construction firms have less work and equipment plants see orders drop,” Sandherr said. “It is hard to think of a better way to undermine the stimulus than failing to pass a surface transportation bill.”
The survey reveals some stunning numbers.
Two-thirds of transportation contractors report states are issuing an average of 17 fewer bid lettings this year worth 30 percent less than last year because of the lack of the transportation bill. As a result,
60 percent of those firms report they are buying an average of $2.95 million less in equipment this year.
70 percent of firms are making an average of 26 percent less in revenue.
63 percent of transportation construction firms report they are hiring an average of 77 fewer workers this year because of the lack of a six-year bill.
Construction firms reported that traffic tie-ups delay the average construction project at least one day, while one-in-three firms report traffic adds a minimum of three days to the length of the average project.
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