TRIP report: One-fourth of Wyoming’s roads substandard, state has high traffic fatality rate
According to the report, without a significant boost in funding, numerous needed transportation projects will not proceed, including a new bridge on the West Belt Loop over the North Platte River in Casper; replacing three bridges on US 26 and US 89 over the Snake River in Teton County; 12 miles of pavement preservation work on I-80 in Sweetwater county; reconstruction of the I-90 interchange in Sheridan; reconstruction and adding lanes to US 287 in Laramie; and the construction of bus garages and transit facilities in Jackson, Rock Springs and Laramie.
A full list of needed projects that would require a significant boost in federal and state funding to proceed is included in the report.
Despite the current economic slump, Wyoming continues to experience growth of population, vehicle travel and economic output.
Since 1990, the state’s population has increased by 17 percent, vehicle travel has increased by 56 percent and gross domestic product, when adjusted for inflation, has increased by 63 percent, resulting in increased demands on Wyoming’s major roads and highways.
The federal surface transportation program, which expires on December 18, 2009, remains a critical source of funding for road and bridge repairs and transit improvements in Wyoming.
According to the report, from 1998 to 2008, Wyoming received $2.56 billion in federal funding for road, highway and bridge improvements, and $58 million for public transit, a total of $2.62 billion.
“While the state has put a combination of federal and state funds to good use in the past, in the coming years, many additional needed projects will remain stranded on the drawing board because of insufficient funding,” said Will Wilkins, executive director of TRIP, in a written statement.
“It is critical that the state adequately fund its transportation system and that Congress produces a timely and adequately funded federal surface transportation program,” Wilkins continued. “Thousands of jobs and the state’s economy are riding on it.”
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