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Study says road conditions costing local drivers nearly $1,900 yearly

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

A newly-released report by a Washington DC-based research group suggests poor road and bridge conditions and traffic congestion make a significant financial impact on Buffalo-area drivers. That report was used as part of a call to Albany to provide increased - and more fair - funding for road repairs statewide.

The group TRIP says poor roads and bridges cost New Yorkers a total $24.9 billion statewide. Locally, it breaks down to about $1,873 dollars per driver, paying for wear on cars, extra fuel consumed and damage from crashes in which road conditions are a factor.

"The report found that in the Buffalo area, the major roads people drive on, the roads people are driving on once they leave their neighborhood, 14 percent of those roads have pavements in poor condition and 33 percent of them have pavements that are in mediocre condition," said Rocky Moretti of TRIP. "That's critical because we know repairing roads when they're in poor condition is significantly more costly than when they're in mediocre or even in fair condition."

Moretti said in addition, nearly 40 percent of New York State's bridges are deteriorated or do not meet modern design standards. TRIP's full report can be found here.

The report was detailed during a news conference inside the repair shop at the AAA of Western and Central New York's Car Care center in Clarence. In addition to revealing TRIP's findings, speakers called to Albany for increased funding for road repairs across the state. More money, but also a more fair distribution.

"All of our roads, bridges and transportation in New York State are important and therefore should receive equal funding, which is not the case in the new executive budget downstate and the MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority)," said Town of Clarence Highway Superintendent James Dussing. "We're looking for increased funding for roads and bridges and we're looking for parity."

"Western New York receives less than nine percent of statewide DOT funding. But our region is home to a higher percentage of state and locally owned roads and bridges," said Grant Loomis, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Buffalo Niagara Partnership.

Also coming at a higher percentage are the number of roadside repairs needed by local drivers because of road conditions. 

"If you consider the emergency road service calls that we handle, across New York State for 2015 alone, we handled more than 200,000 flat tire calls. In Western and Central New York, it was about 60,000 calls  for flat tires," said Elizabeth Carey, Public and Government Affairs Manager for the AAA of Western and Central New York. "

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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