Poor roadways cost Nevada residents $2.1 billion annually due to congestion, additional vehicle operating costs and lost time, but fixing the state’s infrastructure will cost $2 billion, according to a report released by the research firm TRIP.
The Nevada Department of Transportation has put the cost of infrastructure improvements at $3.4 billion by 2025 under current funding models.
TRIP found more than half of the state’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition. Researchers also found 12 percent of the state’s bridges don’t meet modern standards or have significantly deteriorated; 10 percent are functionally obsolete; and 2 percent of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient.
“These key transportation numbers in Nevada add up to trouble for the state’s residents in terms of deteriorated roads and bridges, reduced traffic safety and constrained economic development,” Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director, said in a statement. “Improving road and bridge conditions, improving traffic safety and providing a transportation system that will support economic development in Nevada will require a significant boost in state and federal funding for road, highway and bridge improvements.”
The state government is aware of the issue. Earlier this year, Nevada DOT released a report that cited a repair backlog of desperately needed infrastructure improvements. The DOT wrote that 23 percent of the state’s roads need major work; $1.9 billion of the organization’s $2 billion in needed repair spend is reserved for repaving and repairing roads.
According to TRIP, $53 billion in goods are sent out of Nevada each year, with $77 billion worth of cargo coming into the state. More than 75 percent of these exports are sent by truck.
In addition to protecting the current flow of commerce and reducing the amount of money lost by Nevada residents, improvements to the state’s infrastructure could help promote investment, TRIP found.
“Increasingly, companies are looking at the quality of a region’s transportation system when deciding where to relocate or expand,” TRIP researchers wrote in the report. “Regions with congested or poorly maintained roads may see businesses relocate to areas with a smoother, more efficient and more modern transportation system.” - Jon Ross