Time to talk transportation

Did you know that driving on deficient roads costs each Buffalo area driver $1,493 per year in the form of extra vehicle operating costs?

Could you think of a better way to spend that $1,493? …I can.

More than 90 percent of Americans believe that investing in transportation infrastructure should be a priority. [Source: Luntz, Maslansky Strategic Research, 2009]

april 23 blog photo of cars

Why? Because transportation doesn’t just get us from point A to point B.

Our transportation network fuels our entire economy. It facilitates commerce, the movement of freight and our ability to compete on a national and global economic stage. Transportation creates jobs and shapes our communities.

In few places is transportation more important than Buffalo Niagara.

We live on the third busiest international border crossing in the United States. More than $80 billion in trade crosses Buffalo Niagara’s international bridges onto our local highway and rail networks.

What would happen if we could no longer fund the maintenance and construction of our transportation infrastructure?

It’s estimated that in 2014, the primary source of funding for federal infrastructure projects (the Highway Trust Fund,) is set to run out by August. That’s not just a danger for our infrastructure, it’s a threat to every business and resident in Western New York.

Transportation infographic 1 jobsInvestment in roads, rail, ports and air is critical because:

  • 43 million tons move through our transportation infrastructure daily (Source)
  • Every $1 billion invested in transportation infrastructure creates between 27,800 and 34,800 jobs (Source: DOT 2008)
  • American households spend 17.6% of their budgets on transportation (Source: APTA)
  • One third of America’s major roads are in poor condition (Source: ASCE)

The issue is especially relevant in our state and county. According to figures from the American Society of Civil Engineers:

  • 60% of roads in New York State are in poor or mediocre condition
  • Nearly one in five bridges in Erie County is classified as functionally obsolete
  • New York State ranks first in the nation in costs to repair or replace deficient highway bridges – $9.3 billion

It’s clear that we need to develop strengthened dedicated means of funding transportation for our region, quickly.

That’s where the Transportation Summit comes in. We will be hosting the first ever Buffalo Niagara Transportation Summit starting at 8 a.m. on May 2, 2014.

Through this event, we will establish regional priorities for our transportation and infrastructure issues.

The Transportation Summit will bring together elected officials, statewide transportation organizations, developers and experts in logistics, manufacturing and transportation to raise awareness about the urgency of our transportation funding issues.

The event will feature several high-ranking speakers and panelists such as:

gregnadeu
Greg Nadeau, Deputy Administration of the Federal Highway Administration

  • Greg Nadeau (Deputy Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration)
  • Janet Kavinoky (Executive Director of Transportation & Infrastructure for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce)
  • Marilyn Shazor (Region 2 Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration)
  • Karen Rae (NYS Assistant Secretary of Transportation, NYS Governor’s Office)

Topics will revolve around creative means of increasing funding for transportation, gaining more local control over projects as well as ways to make project delivery more efficient and cost effective.

Interested in taking an active role in creating short or long-term solutions to our regions serious transportation and infrastructure problems?

Register today to join the discussion and have your voice be heard! 

Dan Leonard, AICP Headshot

About Dan Leonard, AICP

Senior Director, Economic Development