A report released today by TRIP, a national transportation research group, found that rural roads and bridges in North Carolina are among the most dangerous in the nation. According to the TRIP report, in 2013, traffic fatalities occurred on rural roads in the state at a rate of 2.38 deaths for every 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT), the 14th-highest rate nationally. To make matters worse, North Carolina had the 13th-highest rate of structurally-deficient rural bridges in 2014, with 14 percent of rural bridges in need of major repairs.
The report highlights the safety disparity between rural and non-rural roads in North Carolina, as drivers are three and a half times more likely to suffer a fatal traffic accident on rural roads than on all other roads in the state. And coming at a time when transportation investments are a hot topic of conversation at the General Assembly, the results emphasize the dire need for our state’s leaders – both in government and the private sector – to find real solutions to fund our current and future statewide transportation needs.
“This TRIP Report underscores the critical nature of meeting North Carolina’s need for a safe and efficient transportation network as additional demands are placed on the current system,” said NC Chamber President and CEO Lew Ebert. “Our state is facing a crisis and the business community is not only concerned about the impact of inadequate federal surface transportation revenues but also inadequate transportation infrastructure funding at the state level. The statewide business community relies on a strong transportation network and supply chain to move their products efficiently in and out of the state marketplace. Now is the time to secure a diversified, stable and economically efficient revenue model to meet North Carolina’s long-term transportation needs. North Carolina cannot afford to wait.”
I encourage you to visit www.nccantaffordtowait.com and let your elected leaders know that North Carolina must be proactive to ensure the safety of our entire transportation network. Listen to the NC Chamber’s new radio ad about North Carolina’s need to act now to solve the transportation funding crisis.
Gary J. Salamido
Vice President, Government Affairs
North Carolina Chamber