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The Future of Alabama's Roads

For Some Chambers County Roads, It’s “Back to the Stone Age”

Earlier this month, multiple pieces of large equipment ascended on CR 139 in Abanda, AL. Instead of paving the aged and deteriorated road, the equipment was there to return the road back to gravel.

CR 139 is located off of Alabama 77 in the northwest corner of Chambers County in the Abanda community. County Engineer Josh Harvill notes that the paved portion had only one residence and a very low traffic volume compared to other paved roads within the County. Based on a recent presentation by Harvill, Chambers County has approximately 139 miles of roads that are in need of significant improvements or reconstruction. He estimates that it would take about $17 Million to address all 139 miles.

Chambers County, like most counties in Alabama, relies heavily on Federal funding to maintain its system of roads and bridges. Counties in Alabama currently receive $533,000 in federal funding that requires a 20% local match for obligation. However, only certain roads are classified at a high enough level to receive those funds. Out of the 139 miles of failing roads within Chambers County, 87 miles (or 63%) are not eligible for federal funds. Chambers County has a total of 435 mile of paved roads, 176 miles of which are not eligible for federal funding.

“With the federal funds, we can resurface about 3.5 miles a year. We have 259 miles of routes eligilbe for federal funds, so at that rate it would take 74 years just to resurface our federal routes” said Harvill.

chambers county 4

Chambers County Superintendent Mike Meadows, Commission Chair Joe Blanks, and Assistant County Engineer Daniel Lundy inspect the 3 day project of turning CR 139 back to gravel.

“I know that the citizens of Abanda would rather drive on a gravel road than to continue driving around the pot holes on top of pot holes,” said Chambers County Commission Chairman Joe Blanks. The Chambers County Commission recently adopted a resurfacing plan for the next 10 years which did not include CR 139. “Due to the deficiency in road funding, we prioritized our paving plan based on safety, traffic, and residences in addition to looking at each road’s condition, so I don’t know if CR 139 would have ever been paved,” said Blanks.

Chambers County is not the first County in Alabama to be forced to go “back to gravel”. Harvill noted that several counties in Alabama and other states such as Minnesota, South Dakota, and Michigan, have been forced to turn the asphalt roads back to gravel in order to provide a better level of service for the traveling public. Once a road deteriorates to a level similar to CR 139, the County’s maintenance options become limited and more expensive. The longer a paved surface deteriorates before a new surface is applied, the more expensive it is to resurface.

chambers county 5

Commissioner Joe Blanks after the project was completed.

“The Commission and I are very confident that we can take roads such as CR 139 and maintain them at a much higher level of service as a gravel road than we were able to as a paved road,” said Harvill.

There are national studies that prove it is more efficient to maintain a road as gravel for low traffic volumes. Harvill explained that there are several other routes that are being considered for the “back to gravel” process, but noted that it would take a resolution by the Commission for each route before the process would move forward. “It will never be as good as pavement, but with the funding crisis that we are up against, it is the best alternative for some of our most rural roads, ” said Commissioner Blanks.

Residents in Abanda agreed with Commissioner Blanks.

“We’re happy to see the county crews in our community,” said Lynn Coker. “Obviously, we’d rather see them paving, but I’m satisfied with the work they’ve done. Its much better than what it was.”

Mr. Ed Estes, a resident of CR 39 (directly across Alabama 77 from CR 139), went one step further, “I’ve been dodging pot holes long enough, I would be happy to see the County use the same process on my road.”

Legislative Committee to Look at Gas Tax; DRIVE Alabama Promotes Road Survey

By Mary Sell via The Times Daily

MONTGOMERY — A series of public meetings are set for January to discuss a possible gas tax increase that would fund state road projects.

Details about any specific proposal are not available.

Alabama Department of Transportation spokesman Tony Harris said the department is providing information to the Legislature’s Permanent Joint Transportation Committee about funding needs.

“We will reach a point without new revenue of becoming a maintenance-only organization, and even then it will be difficult to keep up with all the needs,” Harris said.

The state’s gas tax was last raised by 5 cents in 1992, bringing it to 16 cents. That’s split between ALDOT and cities and counties, Harris said.

Since 1992, construction inflation costs have jumped.

“Our cost of doing business is up about 250 percent in that span of time,” Harris said.

Rep. Mac McCutcheon, R-Capshaw, is chairman of the Permanent Joint Transportation Committee and organized the meetings. He didn’t return calls.

In the Legislature’s second special session in September, McCutcheon introduced a bill to increase the tax by 5 cents per gallon, and then adjust the tax up or down by 2 cents each year, depending on consumer prices and other factors. That bill died.

Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, is on the joint transportation committee but said he hasn’t made up his mind about supporting a tax increase.

“I’m still willing to look at it, but there are a lot of questions that have to be answered before I could ever support it,” Orr said.

He wants to know more about how new revenue would be spread around the state, and he has questions about efficiencies within ALDOT.

“I’m very reluctant at this stage to be favorable and certainly want to hear from constituents,” he said.

Harris said in the past five years, ALDOT has shed 400 employees.

Gov. Robert Bentley has signaled he is supportive of a gas tax increase, but the push isn’t coming from his office.

Bentley spokeswoman Jennifer Ardis last week said no new revenue proposals are being discussed in the governor’s office. He is meeting with agency directors and the finance department on developing his 2017 General Fund budget recommendations.

Rep. Lynn Greer, R-Rogersville, is chairman of the House Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure Committee, where the gas tax would likely first need approval.

“I’d be willing to look at it,” Greer said about an increase. “We’re collecting fewer dollars now.”

According to ALDOT, a driver of a Honda Accord in 1994 traveled 12,000 miles, half of them highway miles and half city, consumed 508 gallons of gas and paid $185 in state gas taxes.

Because of improved fuel efficiency, the driver of a 2013 Accord was paying $142 in taxes for 389 gallons of gas. By 2025, the number is projected to be $80 for 220 gallons.

Rachel Adams, spokeswoman for Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, said Friday maintaining and improving state roads and bridges is crucial to the state’s growth and economy, “and most agree that it needs to be addressed in some manner.”

Survey

A group called DRIVE Alabama is asking people to take a two-question survey ranking the three most important road or bridge projects in their counties.

“No one understands the daily impact of poor road and bridge infrastructure like the people who have to drive those roads every day,” said Sonny Brasfield, executive director of the Association of County Commissions of Alabama. “It’s critical that Alabamians’ voices are loud and clear in any discussions about additional revenue to ensure those funds are prioritized in the most efficient manner.”

The survey can be found at www.drivealabama.org/about/survey/. Comments can be sent to drivealabama@gmail.com, or made by phone at 334-521-2419.

 

 

Mary Sell covers state government for The TimesDaily. She can be reached at msell@timesdaily.com. Follow on Twitter @DD_MarySell.

Five Public Meetings Planned to Discuss Road and Bridge Revenue

By Mike Cason via al.com

A legislative committee plans to hold five regional meetings in January about a possible proposal to increase the state gasoline tax to support road construction and maintenance.

Rep. Mac McCutcheon, chairman of the Permanent Joint Transportation Committee, said the committee will meet in Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa as it considers whether to propose raising the state gasoline tax for the first time in 24 years.

McCutcheon, a Republican from Huntsville, said there’s not yet a final draft of a bill. He said the purpose of the meetings is to collect facts and figures about road projects and determine the level of need.

“I want to make sure we’re sensitive to needs and we’re not just trying to use low fuel prices to get more revenue,” McCutcheon said.

The legislative session begins Feb. 2.

Gov. Robert Bentley last week told the Alabama Asphalt Pavement Association that he would support an increase in the gasoline tax.

The state gasoline tax hasn’t changed since 1992, when the Legislature raised it by a nickel, to 16 cents a gallon.

“We’re operating and trying to build and repair roads on 1992 revenue,” McCutcheon said.

Also, improved vehicle fuel efficiency means that drivers pay less per mile than they did two decades ago because the tax is based on volume, not price.

Sen. Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, vice chairman of the Joint Transportation Committee, said that trend is bound to continue.

The Obama administration has issued standards requiring cars and light duty trucks to get the equivalent of 54.5 miles per gallon by model year 2025.

“We eventually have got to do something,” Dial said.

There is some support in the business community for raising the gas tax.

Business Council of Alabama President William Canary said the BCA “believes that it is past time for Alabama to address this growing problem with a reasonable long-term solution that puts Alabama’s transportation infrastructure back in working order and allows us to invest in our future.”

“Specifically, we support a solution to fix our roads and bridges and invest in Alabama’s future that includes reforms and is dedicated to road and bridge construction and maintenance,” Canary said in a statement.

Tom Layfield, executive director of the Alabama Road Builders Association, said if the gasoline tax had been indexed for inflation in 1992, it would be 11 cents higher today.

“It’s coming up on 24 years since the last time we addressed transportation infrastructure funding,” Layfield said.

“We have so much less purchasing power today than we did in 1992.”

A system of well-maintained roads with adequate capacity promotes safety and saves valuable time for drivers, Layfield said.

It’s also an important factor in attracting employers, he said.

The Association of County Commissions of Alabama is providing information about what it believes is the need for more money to fix county roads and bridges through a website, Drive Alabama.

Most of the gasoline tax goes to the state Road and Bridge Fund and is used to match federal dollars for road construction and maintenance.

Counties and cities also receive a share earmarked for roads.

In addition to the 16-cent tax, the state collects an inspection fee of 2 cents per gallon that goes to the Department of Agriculture and Industries, which inspects gasoline pumps.

Also, about 310 cities and 27 counties levy their own gasoline taxes.

Counties can levy a gasoline tax if the Legislature approves a local bill. Most of the county gasoline taxes are 1 cents to 3 cents a gallon. Baldwin County is the highest at 5 cents, according to a Department of Revenue report on city and county gas taxes.

County gas tax revenues support roads, and several counties also use them to support education.

Most city gasoline taxes are 1 cents or 2 cents a gallon, although some are higher, including Mobile and Montgomery, which each collect 4 cents.

Ken Smith, executive director of the Alabama League of Municipalities, said the gasoline tax is a license fee that supports city general funds.

The federal gasoline tax, last raised in 1993, is 18.4 cents a gallon.

McCutcheon said the meeting schedule should be ready by Thursday.

DRIVE-Along County Road Tour Kicks off in Lee and Chambers Counties

By Rosanna Smith via WSFA

LEE COUNTY, AL (WSFA) – On Wednesday, the statewide DRIVE-Along County Road Tour kicked off.The goal of this tour is to emphasize the critical need for transportation infrastructure improvements to state leaders.

The Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program, also known as ATRIP, was introduced by Governor Bentley in 2012 as a bold infrastructure initiative aimed at investing over $1 billion into Alabama’s local roads and bridges.

Now that the ATRIP program is nearing its end, many county officials and engineers worry that the momentum gained will be stopped in its tracks.

Engineers with Lee and Chambers counties escorted state and county leaders on a tour of both deficient and recently improved road and bridge sites. For Lee County the $18.98 million improvements delivered over a 5-year period is equivalent to over 17 years of normal federal allocations received.

For Chambers the $13 million in improvements delivered in Chambers County over a 3-year period is equivalent to 20+ years of normal federal allocations received by the county.

Although this is a big win for both counties, with more than 50 percent of local roads not eligible for federal funds, without reoccurring or increased source of funding, they will not be able to maintain or improve those existing road ways.

“Lee County right now has enough money, based on the system we have and the cost to maintain it. We only have enough money to put us on a 57-year resurfacing system. Roads aren’t designed to last that long,” said Justin Hardee, Lee County Engineer.

“It’s obvious that we are at a point where something must be done. We are going to have to make some adjustments to our fuel tax so we can provide enough funding to fix this,” said Senator Gerald Dial.

“At this point in time, if we don’t get more revenue we are going to have to continue delaying the projects that are already in bad shape,” said Josh Harvill, Chambers County Engineer.

This tour will continue through 2016.

DRIVE Alabama, who hosted this tour, is a coalition of community leaders and citizens led by county engineers from Alabama’s 67 counties speaking in one voice to bring attention to the growing infrastructure needs across the state.

Local Politicians Tour Roads and Bridges in Lee and Chambers Counties

By Chris Jurkiewicz via The Auburn Plainsman

Local politicians tour roads and bridges in Lee and Chambers counties – The Auburn Plainsman

Many of Alabama’s roads and highways do not receive the necessary maintenance or improvement in relation to the increasing amount of traffic they sustain.”DRIVE Alabama is a coalition of community leaders, elected officials, and everyday citizens who are committed to developing a transportation and infrastructure vision that will meet Alabama’s 21st century mobility needs,” according to their website. “The coalition was the brainchild of Alabama’s 67 county engineers who recognized the urgent need to educate the public about the current state of Alabama’s county roads and bridges.”The purpose of DRIVE Alabama is to raise awareness of the infrastructure of Alabama, and hopefully generate the funds to improve roads, which impacts the quality of life in Alabama.

The Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (ATRIP) was introduced by Gov. Robert Bentley in 2012 as a one-time investment of federal funds into the infrastructure of Alabama.

In Lee County alone, a combined total of $38 million in ATRIP and county funds has been allotted for 41 miles of road pavement resurfacing and 15 bridge projects. However, many smaller local and county roads are exempt from ATRIP funds because of their classification, leaving many areas still in need of maintenance or improvement.

County engineers lament the rising costs of materials and lack of funds to maintain roads, and consequentially their inability to serve public citizens.

ATRIP has funded many significant projects within Lee County, according to Justin Hardee, Lee County engineer.

“The first road they see in the morning and the last road they see after working at their job to get money they don’t want to have to pay more taxes on is the road that they live on,” Hardee said.

While a portion of the state gasoline tax is given to counties to pay for the maintenance and improvement of county roads, the funds cannot keep up when it costs $600,000 to pave 1,100 feet of road.

“What most people don’t understand is that for every dollar you put into infrastructure, you get a five to one return benefit,” said Josh Harvill, Chambers County engineer.

Alabama Sen. Gerald Dial it is important to maintain roads throughout the county.

“It’s obvious we’re at the point where something has to be done … these roads are important, these people they travel this road every day, they pay their fuel taxes and they want something done on it, and we are going to have to make some adjustments in our fuel taxes,” Dial said.

He said people’s safety is most important when maintaining the roads.

“It won’t solve all the problems, we have to address them and we have to prioritize them so that people, number one, feel safe and number two, have adequate transportation methods that aren’t damaging their vehicles,” Dial said.

I-10 Bridge, Northern Beltline Among Alabama Beneficiaries of Federal Transportation Bill

By Howard Koiplowitz via al.com

Two major Alabama transportation projects in Mobile and Birmingham will be the state’s biggest beneficiaries of a $300 billion federal transportation bill that passed Congress on Thursday.

Under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, or FAST, the I-10 Bridge project in Mobile can potentially receive up to $500 million in federal funds, while the Northern Beltline project in Birmingham will receive federal funding through the bill.

The FAST Act marks the first time in 10 years that Congress passed a long-term transportation funding bill. The five-year bill means that states can plan more efficiently for transportation projects. Alabama’s share of Federal Transportation Authority funding will increase from $53 million to $81 million because of the legislation, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

“While this is not a perfect bill, it is an important piece of legislation that provides the certainty and consistency the American people need for long-term transportation projects,” U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions,  R-Ala., said in a statement. He said it was “great news” for Mobile and Birmingham that the I-10 Bridge and Northern Beltline projects are addressed in the transportation bill. The bridge project, to be constructed over the Mobile River, is expected to ease congestion while the Northern Beltline would connect Birmingham’s eastern and western suburbs and will stimulate economic growth in the area, according to the Alabama Department of Transportation.

The bill includes authorization for a new funding stream that could benefit the I-10 Bridge. The project would have to apply for funding, and could get between $100 million and $500 million if selected, according to a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Fairhope, whose district includes the project area.

Byrne said in a statement that the bill is “conservative,” in part because it didn’t include a Democratic provision to raise the gas tax. He said its passage was “long overdue.”

“The bill is a huge step forward in our efforts to build a new I-10 bridge in Mobile and to make other highway improvements in Southwest Alabama, like Highway 98 in north Mobile County and Highway 45 in Washington County,” he said.

The transportation bill also extends authorization for the Appalachian Highway Development System, which includes the Northern Beltline, a $5.4 billion project that is expected to take 40 years to complete, according to ALDOT. The Beltline broke ground in 2013.

Of the nine members of Alabama’s congressional delegation, only Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and Reps. Gary Palmer, R-Hoover, and Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, voted against the bill.

Shelby and Brooks said although they support transportation funding, they believed the bill wasn’t fiscally prudent.

“While I support advancing a long-term transportation bill to provide stability and certainty, it should be done in a fiscally responsible manner.  Unfortunately, this bill uses budgetary gimmicks and fails to include necessary reforms,” Shelby said.

Brooks said: “This transportation bill worsens America’s five-year deficit by at least $33.1 billion.  As such, it is financially reckless and irresponsible.”

Meanwhile U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Birmingham, said the transportation improvements also have economic benefits.

“By making smart, strategic investments in our aging infrastructure, Congress will create more good-paying jobs for Americans. In order to continue to compete in today’s global economy we must have a first class transportation system that creates jobs, attracts industry, and enables American companies to better transport goods,” she said in a statement. “[Thursday’s] passage of the FAST Act was an important step towards achieving those goals.”

Rep. Mac McCutcheon to Tour Road and Bridge Sites in Lee, Chambers Counties

***PRESS ADVISORY***
November 30, 2015

Contact:     Terri Sharpley Reynolds
(o) 334-263-7594  (c) 205-500-6484
treynolds@alabamacounties.org

Drive Alabama Logo header copy
Rep. Mac McCutcheon to Tour Deficient Road and Bridge Sites in Lee, Chambers Counties
DRIVE Alabama Emphasizes Critical Need for Transportation Infrastructure Improvements to State Leaders

 

Montgomery, Ala. – The DRIVE Alabama campaign will kick-off its statewide DRIVE-Along County Road Tour on WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2015 at 9:15 a.m. at The Hotel at Auburn University when county engineers from Lee and Chambers counties escort Rep. Mac McCutcheon, Chairman of the Alabama

Joint Transportation Committee, on a tour of both deficient and recently improved road and bridge sites in Lee and Chambers counties.

The road tour follows the Alabama Joint Transportation Committee meeting – scheduled for tomorrow, December 1 at 10:00 a.m. – where state leaders are expected to discuss the need for additional transportation and infrastructure dollars ahead of the upcoming 2016 legislative session.

Following the DRIVE-Along County Road Tour, Representative McCutcheon will join Senator Gerald Dial as a presenter at the Association of County Commissions of Alabama’s (ACCA) annual Legislative Conference at the Hotel at Auburn University. Details below.

NOTE: Members of the media are invited to participate in the DRIVE-Along County Road Tour and attend the ACCA Legislative Conference. State Senators, State Representatives, and County Commissioners from Lee and Chambers counties have also been invited to participate.

WHAT:              DRIVE-Along County Road Tour (Lee and Chambers Counties) followed by the ACCA Legislative Conference.

WHERE:           The Hotel at Auburn University, 241 South College Street, Auburn, AL

WHEN:             Wednesday, December 2, 2015

9:00 a.m.

Members of media meet in the main lobby of the Hotel at Auburn University to depart for County Road Tour. Van will leave promptly at 9:15 a.m.*
*If van fills up, tour participants should be prepared to drive their own vehicles.

9:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.
Tour various road and bridge sites in Lee and Chambers counties. More details about the tour schedule will be released tomorrow morning.
To arrange to meet the tour at a particular site location: Contact Terri Reynolds at 205-500-6484 or treynolds@alabamacounties.org.

11:30 a.m.
Rep. McCutcheon, county engineers, and ACCA leaders will be available to answer additional questions from the media at the Hotel at Auburn University

1:45 p.m.
Sen. Dial to speak on Indexing Alabama’s Road and Bridge Revenue at ACCA Legislative Conference

2:45 p.m.
Rep. McCutcheon to give Preview of the 2016 Legislative Session at ACCA Legislative Conference

#     #     #

DRIVE Alabama is a coalition of community leaders and citizens led by county engineers from Alabama’s 67 counties speaking in one voice to bring attention to the growing infrastructure needs across the state of Alabama. To learn more about DRIVE Alabama, please visit www.drivealabama.org or look for the campaign on social media.

      

 

Buckle Up: Alabama Ranks in Top Five Most Deadly States for Drivers

By Aaron Miller via Yahoo! Travel

Everyone knows driving is dangerous, if not from the gory low-budget movies they showed in drivers ed, then from the incessant phone calls you got from your parents the moment you turned 16. But just how dangerous, exactly? Turns out it varies wildly, depending on where you live.

Better safe than sorry – be sure to exercise caution when driving in states with a higher risk for car accidents. (Photo by iStock. Design by Erik Mace for Yahoo Travel.)

To get an overarching look at how deadly the roads are in all 50 states, plus D.C., we combined government data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Highway Administration. (Check out the table at the end to see the raw numbers for yourself.) Here’s every state, ranked by how likely you are to be killed in a car crash, plus some other terrifying factoids. Hint: be careful when you’re out walking around in Florida.

Related: The Worst D*mn Freeways in America

Credit: Flickr/Elvert Barnes

51. Washington, DC
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/32,322
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: 1/14,053
Total population: 646,449
Total licensed drivers: 405,555
Total number of deaths in 2013: 20
How is it possible that the city topping our Worst D*mn Freeways in America ranking comes in as the least likely place to die in a car? Well, probably because the freeways are so d*mn awful, people drive less: with an average of 8,697 miles per driver per year, people stay away from the the known horrors of the streets.

50. Massachusetts
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/20,530
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: 1/11,421
Total population: 6,692,824
Total licensed drivers: 4,765,586
Total number of deaths in 2013: 326
With just 1.05 vehicles per licensed driver, Massachusetts has among the fewest cars per capita in the country.

49. New Jersey
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/16,419
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: 1/7,772
Total population: 8,899,339
Total licensed drivers: 6,081,386
Total number of deaths in 2013: 542
This one really shouldn’t be all that surprising, given the number of people who take trains into N.Y.C. every day.

Related: Gridlock Alert! Waze Reveals the U.S. Cities With the Worst Traffic

48. New York
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/16,390
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: 1/8,860
Total population: 19,651,127
Total licensed drivers: 11,210,723
Total number of deaths in 2013: 1,199
The average New York driver actually drives a little bit more (12,154 miles) than the national average each year, though only 70% of all New Yorkers over the age of 16 actually have a license, and there’s less than one car per licensed driver.

47. Rhode Island
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/16,177
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: 1/9,144
Total population: 1,051,511
Total licensed drivers: 749,232
Total number of deaths in 2013: 65
Despite low overall numbers, a majority of fatal accidents in Rhode Island are single-car collisions.

Credit: Flickr/Howard Ignatius

46. Washington
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/15,989
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: 1/8,032
Total population: 6,971,406
Total licensed drivers: 5,301,630
Total number of deaths in 2013: 436
Nearly 96% of Washington’s of-age population has a license, but they don’t drive all that much, averaging 8,949 miles per car.

Credit: Flickr/Alan Stark (edited)

45. Alaska
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/14,414
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: 1/6,870
Total population: 735,132
Total licensed drivers: 528,873
Total number of deaths in 2013: 51
How many miles does the average Alaskan vehicle see in a year? It’s 6,169. Of course, that could also be the height in inches of annual snowfall, so there’s a reasonably correlative relationship here.

Related: 10 Things You Should Never Do On a Road Trip

44. Minnesota
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/14,006
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: 1/6,523
Total population: 5,420,380
Total licensed drivers: 3,330,725
Total number of deaths in 2013: 387
Despite having more roads than all but four states, Minnesotans are among the least likely to get their licenses. Those that do, though, rack up over 17,000 mile per year, and are among the most likely to slam into someone else.

43. Hawaii
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/13,765
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: 1/6,951
Total population: 1,404,054
Total licensed drivers: 915,033
Total number of deaths in 2013: 102
Hawaii has the fewest miles of road of any state in the union, and it’s also among the roughest. Unsurprisingly, Hawaii has the fewest miles of road per fatal crash (48) of any state.

42. Utah
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/13,186
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: 1/6,778
Total population: 2,900,872
Total licensed drivers: 1,661,219
Total number of deaths in 2013: 220
With 16,256 miles per driver, you might expect Utah to have more than 46,254 miles of road. Then again, one of the prime allures of the state is what you can do without roads.

Credit: Flickr/ilirjan rrumbullaku

41. Connecticut
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/13,029
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: 1/6,672
Total population: 3,596,080
Total licensed drivers: 2,534,090
Total number of deaths in 2013: 276
Most adults in Connecticut have a license, and while they drive almost as much as the national average, one out of every 7,615 registered vehicles will be involved in a fatal accident each year.

40. Illinois
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/12,999
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: 1/6,390
Total population: 12,882,135
Total licensed drivers: 8,261,582
Total number of deaths in 2013: 991
Even with the fourth most roads in the country, Illinoisans (Illini?) are actually pretty good about not putting themselves in life-threatening situations.

39. California
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/12,778
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: 1/6,063
Total population: 38,332,521
Total licensed drivers: 24,390,236
Total number of deaths in 2013: 3,000
You’re not actually better off in the car in California, but with a 1/43,363 chance of getting killed by a car even if you’re not in a moving vehicle, it kinda seems like it sometimes.

38. Maryland
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/12,750
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: 1/6,480
Total population: 5,928,814
Total licensed drivers: 4,140,105
Total number of deaths in 2013: 465
Cars in Maryland see 14,787 miles each year, despite having just 32,422 miles of road in the state. That probably speaks to the nightmare of commuting from the outskirts of D.C. more than anything else, but there’s still less than one car per driver for the entire state.

37. Oregon
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/12,556
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: 1/6,189
Total population: 3,930,065
Total licensed drivers: 2,773,373
Total number of deaths in 2013: 313
Oregon likes to consider itself a bicycle-friendly state, and with just 55 fatalities among people not inside a moving vehicle, there might very well be something to that.

Credit: Flickr/Dustin Jamison

36. Ohio
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/11,700
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: 1/5,374
Total population: 11,570,808
Total licensed drivers: 8,030,421
Total number of deaths in 2013: 989
Interestingly, Ohio tied for the highest average number of vehicles per collision, with 1.62. In other words, people in Ohio are statistically less likely to hit stationary objects.

35. Virginia
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/11,163
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: 1/5,813
Total population: 8,260,405
Total licensed drivers: 5,602,765
Total number of deaths in 2013: 740
The average Virginian drives over 14,400 miles each year, though less than 85% of those eligible actually hold a license.

34. Colorado
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/10,953
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: 1/5,295
Total population: 5,258,367
Total licensed drivers: 3,837,488
Total number of deaths in 2013: 481
Only three states have more deaths per collision than Colorado, though the reasons for that could be anything from high rates of SUV usage to carpooling.

33. Nevada
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/10,649
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: ¼,947
Total population: 2,790,136
Total licensed drivers: 1,756,095
Total number of deaths in 2013: 262
According to the statistics, there are two things you really don’t want to be in Nevada: a pedestrian or a driver. Both have abnormally high death rates, while overall accidents and passenger deaths are pretty average.

32. Wisconsin
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/10,576
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: ¼,925
Total population: 5,742,713
Total licensed drivers: 4,171,427
Total number of deaths in 2013: 543
In somewhat of a paradox, Wisconsin ranks right up there with the best states for fewestdeaths per fatality accident, but it’s also one of the states with the most cars involvedper collision.

Credit: Flickr/Peter Miller

31. Pennsylvania
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/10,574
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: 1/5,095
Total population: 12,773,801
Total licensed drivers: 8,896,590
Total number of deaths in 2013: 1,208
Pennsylvania is a vastly different state between its eastern and western halves, and while numbers would probably paint a very different picture between the two, our data doesn’t break down like that, and the state averages out to middle of the pack.

30. Michigan
Probability of dying in a car crash: 1/10,449
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: 1/5,069
Total population: 9,895,622
Total licensed drivers: 6,986,587
Total number of deaths in 2013: 947
Michigan is nearly 30% smaller than Pennsylvania by population, and while the statistics bear that out across most categories, Michiganders actually drive almost as many total miles as their Big Ten neighbors.

29. New Hampshire
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/9,803
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: 1/5,805
Total population: 1,323,459
Total licensed drivers: 1,061,433
Total number of deaths in 2013: 135
A total of 97.6% of all legal-age New Hampshirites hold a valid driver’s license. They combine for among the fewest cars involved per accident of any state. Which means a lot of single car accidents, and collisions with stationary objects. Go figure?

28. Iowa
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/9,749
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: ¼,867
Total population: 3,090,416
Total licensed drivers: 2,143,665
Total number of deaths in 2013: 317
Iowans have more cars per driver than all but three other states, but despite being so car-heavy, it’s the third safest state for pedestrians.

27. Delaware
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/9,351
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: ¼,208
Total population: 925,749
Total licensed drivers: 723,657
Total number of deaths in 2013: 99
All things considered, Delaware is relatively safe for drivers, though it’s one of the more dangerous states for pedestrian traffic.

Credit: Flickr/Corey Templeton

26. Maine
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/9,161
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: ¼,901
Total population: 1,328,302
Total licensed drivers: 1,011,385
Total number of deaths in 2013: 145
Ninety-two percent of Maine’s residents hold a license, averaging just under 14,000 miles per year.

25. Vermont
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/9,082
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: ¼,973
Total population: 636,630
Total licensed drivers: 543,057
Total number of deaths in 2013: 69
Amazingly, Vermont has more licensed drivers than residents over the age of 16. It also has a disproportionately large number of passenger fatalities along its 14,266 miles of road.

24. Nebraska
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/8,856
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: ¼,089
Total population: 1,868,516
Total licensed drivers: 1,374,529
Total number of deaths in 2013: 211
Nebraska’s pedestrians are among the safest in the country, with fewer than one out of every 100,000 residents struck each year.

23. Georgia
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/8,475
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: 1/3,987
Total population: 9,992,167
Total licensed drivers: 6,607,016
Total number of deaths in 2013: 1,179
Georgians put, on average, 14,055 miles on each car every year. Just two states top that, which makes Georgia’s fatal crash-per-mile rate actually fairly good.

22. Indiana
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/8,392
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: ¼,004
Total population: 6,570,902
Total licensed drivers: 4,500,403
Total number of deaths in 2013: 783
Indiana’s drivers actually average more miles per year than Georgia’s, but they own more cars, too, with nearly one and a quarter per driver.

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Credit: Flickr/Lane Pearman

21. Kansas
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/8,268
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: ¼,093
Total population: 2,893,957
Total licensed drivers: 2,017,759
Total number of deaths in 2013: 350
Only Texas, California, and Illinois have more miles of road than Kansas, which is a major reason why Kansas has just one death for every 402 miles.

20. Florida
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/8,123
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: 1/3.972
Total population: 19,552,860
Total licensed drivers: 13,670,441
Total number of deaths in 2013: 2,407
If you’re not in a moving vehicle, you have a 1 in 29,627 chance of being killed by a car in Florida. The 660 people to meet such a fate in 2013 were by far the most in the U.S.

19. Missouri
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/7,984
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: 1/3,835
Total population: 6,044,171
Total licensed drivers: 4,280,438
Total number of deaths in 2013: 757
Just over 1,000 cars were involved in a deadly crash in Missouri, according to the government.

18. Texas
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/7,820
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: 1/3,586
Total population: 26,448,193
Total licensed drivers: 15,447,273
Total number of deaths in 2013: 3382
With over 330,000 miles of roads, Texas has nearly double that of California, the second-closest state.

17. Arizona
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/7,805
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: 1/3,327
Total population: 6,626,624
Total licensed drivers: 4,791,450
Total number of deaths in 2013: 849
With a one in 32,805 chance, Arizona is second only to Florida in pedestrian deaths.

Credit: Flickr/Matthew Paulson

16. North Carolina
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/7,640
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: 1/3,814
Total population: 9,848,060
Total licensed drivers: 6,822,902
Total number of deaths in 2013: 1,289
North Carolina’s rate of one deadly crash per million miles driven isn’t really all that bad.

15. Idaho
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/7,533
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: 1/3,723
Total population: 1,612,136
Total licensed drivers: 1,111,485
Total number of deaths in 2013: 214
There are just over 48,000 miles of roads in Idaho, which means there’s just one death for every 225 miles; that’s among the better rates in the Union.

14. Kentucky
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/6,889
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: 1/3,464
Total population: 4,395,295
Total licensed drivers: 3,019,283
Total number of deaths in 2013: 638
The average car in Kentucky sees fewer than 12,000 miles per year, while the average driver sees more than 15,500.

13. New Mexico
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/6,727
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: 1/3,122
Total population: 2,085,287
Total licensed drivers: 1,456,500
Total number of deaths in 2013: 310
On average, there are more people killed per crash in New Mexico than most other states.

12. Wyoming
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/6,697
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: 1/3,468
Total population: 582,658
Total licensed drivers: 421,473
Total number of deaths in 2013: 87
The average driver in Wyoming puts an incredible 22,087 miles on their vehicles every year. Note the emphasis on vehicles — they also have nearly two cars per driver, second most of any state.

Credit: Flickr/roofdesigner

11. Louisiana
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/6,580
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: 1/3,262
Total population: 4,625,470
Total licensed drivers: 3,278,143
Total number of deaths in 2013: 703
There’s no one area where Louisiana stands out. It’s just one large paved sea of sub par.

10. Tennessee
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/6,529
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: 1/3,170
Total population: 6,495,978
Total licensed drivers: 4,605,100
Total number of deaths in 2013: 995
Tennessee has 1.18 registered vehicles on the road for every licensed driver, which means one out of every 3,894 cars will be involved in a fatal collision.

9. South Dakota
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/6,258
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: ½,854
Total population: 844,877
Total licensed drivers: 603,643
Total number of deaths in 2013: 135
Despite the high death rate, SD actually has the fewest fatal accidents per mile, with just one incident per 682 miles of roadway.

8. South Carolina
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/6,225
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: 1/3,175
Total population: 4,744,839
Total licensed drivers: 3,536,404
Total number of deaths in 2013: 767
Nearly 93% of South Carolinians hold a license, but that’s not much solace to pedestrians, who fare only marginally better than Arizona and Florida.

7. Arkansas
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/6,127
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: 1/3,038
Total population: 2,959,373
Total licensed drivers: 2,097,201
Total number of deaths in 2013: 483
At 13,852, Arkansans put more miles on each vehicle than all but five other states.

Credit: Flickr/George Thomas

6. Oklahoma
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/5,679
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: ½,547
Total population: 3,850,568
Total licensed drivers: 2,418,307
Total number of deaths in 2013: 678
Cause, meet effect: Oklahoma has a crash-per-mile rate that’s roughly in line with the other states in the top 10, but because OK drivers put so many miles on their car, they’re the second most likely to die in a crash. Simply put, it’s because the average Oklahoman drives so much every year that death rate for drivers is the second highest in the country.

5. Alabama
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/5,673
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: ½,889
Total population: 4,833,722
Total licensed drivers: 3,859,403
Total number of deaths in 2013: 852
Along with Virginia, Alabama is unusual in having more licensed drivers than residents over the age of 16.

4. West Virginia
Probability of dying in a car crash:
1/5,585
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: ½,840
Total population: 1,854,304
Total licensed drivers: 1,177,136
Total number of deaths in 2013: 332
Only Texas, New York, and Washington D.C. have lower rates of licensed drivers.

3. North Dakota
Probability of dying in a car crash:
¼,888
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: ½,436
Total population: 723,393
Total licensed drivers: 513,838
Total number of deaths in 2013: 148
Good news and bad news for North Dakotans: pedestrians are far less likely to get hit in ND than any other state, and it’s not even close. That said, drivers are most likely to die here, with one out of every 4,392 running out of luck, and one out of every 2,390 being involved in a crash that claimed a life.

2. Mississippi
Probability of dying in a car crash:
¼,880
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: ½,516
Total population: 2,991,207
Total licensed drivers: 1,968,907
Total number of deaths in 2013: 613
Mississippians put 18,692 miles on the average vehicle, which is the most in the U.S. by a wide margin. Then again, only Maryland, New York, and D.C. have fewer cars per driver.

Credit: Flickr/Jimmy Emerson, DVM

1. Montana
Probability of dying in a car crash:
¼,433
Probability of being involved in a fatal car crash: ½,302
Total population: 1,015,165
Total licensed drivers: 766,716
Total number of deaths in 2013: 229
Montana has the most cars per driver at just over two, and the second-highest number of deaths per fatality crash, behind New Mexico. Yet somehow, with just 1.31 vehicles involved per collision, it’s the state where drivers are most likely to hit stationary objects. And yes, that also means it’s on par with Florida for hitting pedestrians.

Credit: Aaron Miller/Thrillist

About the data
The data used here is from both the NHTSA’s Fatal Accident Reporting System, and the FHWA.

The ranking itself is actually very basic: it’s the total population of each state divided by the number of people killed in automotive accidents for the given year (2013).

The rest of the data involved, however, is where things get interesting:

Being involved in a fatal crash: The NHTSA keeps such thorough accounts of every fatality accident that we know exactly how many people were in each vehicle for every single crash. Since surviving such an incident is inarguably a horrific and traumatizing experience, dividing the total population by the number of crashes is a sobering way to realize just how fragile life can be.

Being involved, as a driver: Simply put, the more you drive, the higher your chances of being involved in an incident. We took the population of licensed drivers and divided by the total number of accidents.

Dying in a crash, as a driver: Similar to being involved in a crash, because the NHTSA actually notes who was injured or killed while sitting where in a vehicle, we were able to calculate the odds of dying as a driver by dividing the licensed population by the number of people who died while driving.

Dying while you’re not even in a moving vehicle: This includes pedestrians, bicyclists, people inside buildings that get driven into, and parked cars. Basically, anyone who’s not out in traffic in a vehicle. As you might expect, it’s the total population divided by the number of people who were struck and killed.

There are some problems with the data: While the statistics clearly show a trend toward safer urban driving, they are skewed in areas with well-developed mass transit. The percentage of people who have a license and don’t drive is not accounted for in the data, and would potentially skew a few areas where car use is less prevalent.

Closing thoughts
It’s more than a little somber to realize that every one of these numbers was caused by the death of someone’s spouse, parent, or child. Still, the data is fairly conclusive that rural driving is far more likely to kill you than urban driving — and the FHWA has the specific breakdowns of this on its site. This data didn’t look into exactly why that is, but issues like proximity to first-rate medical care and vehicle speed — since you’re not crawling along in traffic — are likely greater factors in rural areas.

Interestingly, the number of vehicles per crash doesn’t appear to bear significant correlation to how many people die in each crash. Presumably, that number is more dependent on other factors (weather, intoxication, time of day), than it is on the violence of the collision itself.

DRIVE Alabama Website Highlights Local ATRIP Projects and Infrastructure Needs

By Russ Corey via The Times Daily

TUSCUMBIA — Two northwest Alabama road and bridge projects are showcased on the homepage of the new drivealabama.org website.

Both projects, and many more in Lauderdale and Franklin counties, were funded through the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (ATRIP), a billion dollar program to help improve the state’s failing roads and bridges.

The site went live Monday and provides information about ATRIP projects throughout the state.

County Engineer John Bedford said the Frankfort Road bridge project, the county’s largest ATRIP project, is about a month ahead of schedule.

“If everything goes well, we’ll have that bridge completed by January,” Bedford said.

The new website also provides information about the state’s deteriorating infrastructure, and the need to create a sustainable source of revenue so counties can address mounting maintenance issues.

DRIVE is an acronym for Developing a Road and Infrastructure Vision for Everyone in Alabama.

Elmore County Engineer Richie Beyer describes DRIVE as a grassroots campaign to improve the state’s deteriorating transportation infrastructure.

“It is a coalition of county commissioners, community leaders and citizens led by county engineers who want to bring attention to Alabama’s growing infrastructure needs,” Beyer said. “Currently, 66 of Alabama’s 67 counties are actively involved in the campaign.”

“Our network of local roads and bridges is in critical condition,” he said. “Without action, the problem will only grow worse and more costly. We must take action.”

The website includes an interactive map of Alabama where users can click on a county and see all the ATRIP projects that are underway, or will be taking place in the coming months.

The site also provides information on county transportation funding sources, as well as links to articles on transportation and infrastructure news. There are testimonials from Morgan County Commission Chairman Ray Long, and Sonny Brasfield, executive director of the Association of County Commissions of Alabama.

“Local roads and bridges are the portals to our communities, and a critical component of economic growth for county governments,” Long said “Alabama needs a long-term, sustainable revenue source to adequately address our infrastructure needs.”

Bedford said the site is a good tool to help the public understand what the state and its counties are facing when struggling with insufficient funding for road and bridge maintenance.

Millions Needed for Covington Roads, Estimated Annual Maintenance: $9.6M

Via The Andalusia Star-News 

Covington County has been able to replace two deficient bridge structures and improve more than 50 miles of roads, thanks to the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (ATRIP).

The $6 million in improvements delivered over a three-year period is equivalent to more than 12 years of normal federal allocations received by the county, according to figures released recently by DRIVE Alabama, a coalition led by county engineers from Alabama’s 67 counties working to bring attention to the growing infrastructure needs across the state.

“We have completed 10 additional infrastructure projects in Covington County because of ATRIP. There is no way these projects could have been done without this program,” said Covington County Commission Chairman Bill Godwin. “But now that the program is coming to an end, we must deal with the remaining road situations without the extra infusion of money coming in from the state.”

One such example in Covington County is County Road 42 (Airport Road), said county engineer Darren Capps. Earlier this year, ATRIP invested $730K (a combination of 80 percent federal and 20 percent local funds) in roadway maintenance and safety improvements to Airport Road. The resurfacing project benefitted more than 50 homes, a church and eight businesses located on the road.

In addition to the residential impacts in the area, the project has improved access to approximately 1,527 acres of timber land and 234 acres of farm land.

DRIVE Alabama estimates that the state’s counties have far less money than they need to maintain the 43,284 miles of county paved roads and 8,650 county bridge structures throughout the state. County governments have approximately $369 million to spend on maintenance of those roads and bridges each year, and the state’s county engineers estimate that $502 million is needed.

“With our current financial resources almost exclusively going to maintenance activities, Covington County is situated like most Alabama counties,” Capps said. “The amount of money needed to improve and preserve the county’s road and bridge network is 141 percent higher than what is currently available to perform basic maintenance. We simply don’t have the resources to complete all the infrastructure work that needs to be done.”

ATRIP was introduced in 2012 as an infrastructure initiative aimed at investing more than $1 billion into Alabama’s local roads and bridges.

ARIP involves the use of future federal funds to pay the debt on the bond issue which funded the road and bridge projects.