Friday, April 07, 2006

Roads and Fuel Costs
Rising Costs Delaying Road Construction

Until 2004, highway material costs were steady, with a 12-year average increase of only 1.8 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Concrete is up 32.8 percent a unit, from $550 in 2003 to $749 last year. Prices for reinforced steel and asphalt have also jumped, according to the Florida Department of Transportation. Even a cubic yard of dirt or 'earthwork' cost $7.24 on average in 2005, up 65.3 percent from $4.96 in 2003.

There are probably such Economic models, but this Author has never seen any which detail how much fuel is consumed by vehicle per minute delay of movement. I do know that potholes and cracked road surface decrease vehicle milage by somewhat over a mile per gallon because of added drag on tire surface. Bumper to bumper traffic along one-third of a Work route can cut mpg by one-half over the distance of the route. This is no Joke!

I live in a small midwestern Nebraskan town currently, which is split in the center by a major railroad trunk line; approx. some 10-12 Trains pass both ways daily, and the Railroad is building Trains in the center of town due to loss of area for building switching routes to the East or West. They have been discussing construction of two additional Viaducts for car traffic to add to the one here for 50 years. There is the question of placement, though, and now Clearing Costs for the new Viaducts and rising Construction Costs are delaying construction. The Railroad is insisting in closing off other Street crossings, if the Railroad provides the Construction Costs.

This Town has several Plants drawing in Workers from rural areas, and a number of Schools which draw Students from both Sides of the Tracks. Train length and Switching close off Crossings some 1 to 2 hours every day, in segments of 5 to 15 minutes. A probable 2% of Fuel Costs come from idling at Street Crossings for Those who have to cross the Railroad Tracks several times per day. This Author, though nomially Retired, has to cross the Tracks 3-6 times a day, with the ability to use the one Viaduct only about once out of those trips.

The Situation would not be bad, if this type of Congestion was limited only to the citizens of my fair City. Congestion is not limited to my town; actually, it is the life endured by an estimated one-Quarter of all drivers in the Country. Someone with more initiative than myself should construct a national Economic model to bring real statistical figures to this type of Fuel loss. lgl

1 comment:

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