by: Stephanie Coueignoux Updated:
Bad roads are costing Charlotte drivers more than $1,500 a year per driver, according to a new study by the national transportation organization TRIP.
TRIP said local drivers are paying the price for bad roads, congestion and traffic accidents.
Local drivers spend about an average of 40 hours a year waiting in traffic, according to the study.
Charlotte's population is expected to grow by at least 1 million people in the next 10 years, meaning more people are set to use already deteriorating roads and bridges.
“The funding to maintain and expand our infrastructure is not keeping up with that pace,” said Jen Thompson, a spokeswoman with the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
“It's sobering,” said Bob Morgan, president of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, told Channel 9. “As we grow, the need to continue to invest in our future infrastructure is a very serious one.”
Morgan said they're concerned businesses may think twice about locating to Charlotte if road conditions don’t improve.
Meanwhile, NCDOT said it needs more funding in order to help maintain and improve local roads, highways and bridges.
Right now NCDOT has a budget of $4.3 billion. The federal government provides about 25 percent of that amount. The highway fund, which includes gas taxes, new car taxes and other state taxes, provides close to half the budget.
But federal funding is expected to drop below $1 billion this summer, which could further delay construction projects.
NCDOT said it’s now looking at other ways to fund its projects.
“The possibility of managed lanes or tolling, public-private partnerships, where we can have a third party who has capital to invest, can help accelerate the project,” Thompson said.
The Charlotte Chamber of Commerce said it’s also working with lawmakers to find other funding options.
To view the TRIP study, click here.
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