‘TRIP’ report details what insufficient roads cost New Mexicans

Photo courtesy of NM Roads

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A national research group has detailed the costs to New Mexicans thanks to insufficient roads.

We all know the pain, whether it’s a pothole on Central messing up your alignment, or a traffic backup at Coors and Paseo wasting away your gas.

“New Mexico’s drivers are dealing with increasingly crowded and congested roads,” Carolyn Kelly, with TRIP research group said.

New Mexico roads have a lot of issues, and the annual TRIP report outlines the pretty penny we have to pay for those problems.

“I’ve listened to this TRIP report for three years now running, and each year it increasingly gets worse,” Johnny Johnson with the New Mexico Trucking Association said.

The report says 32-percent of Albuquerque roads are in “poor” condition — the worst among big cities in the state. Statewide, that number is 25-percent.

“In our state, the worst roads are down in the southeast part of the state, around Artesia, Carlsbad, Lovington,” Democrat Rep. Bealquin Bill Gomez, of Dona Ana, said.

In the metro area, the average driver forks over $1,700 a year to fix their cars thanks to those bad roads, but also for wasted gas while sitting in traffic and car crashes. Statewide, drivers pay $1.9 billion.

“It would be far more cost effective to pay up front to fix the roads and keep the them in good condition,” Kelly said.

The average Albuquerque driver spends 36 hours a year sitting in congested traffic. That number lowers to 19 hours for Santa Fe drivers, and to 8 for Las Cruces drivers.

The report says the Department of Transportation’s annual funds are less than half of what it would take to maintain all roads.

“That’s just not acceptable,” Gomez said. “We’ve got to start looking at ways to find more funds to support our state’s roads.”

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