State’s Rural Transportation System In Need Of Modernization
Rural America is home to an aging and increasingly diverse population that is heavily reliant on the quality of its transportation system. This is according to a new report released today by TRIP, a national nonprofit transportation research group based in Washington, D.C.
The report, Rural Connections: Challenges and Opportunities in America’s Heartland, evaluates the safety and condition of the nation’s rural roads and bridges and finds that the nation’s rural transportation system is in need of improvements to address deficient roads and bridges, high crash rates, and inadequate connectivity and capacity.
The report finds that rural roads in New Mexico have significant deficiencies. Twenty-five percent of New Mexico’s rural roads are rated in poor condition – the sixth highest rate in the nation – and 21 percent are rated in mediocre condition. Seven percent of New Mexico’s rural bridges are rated as structurally deficient.
“New Mexico drivers are having to pay hundreds of dollars each year in terms of vehicle repair costs resulting from the poor condition of some of our states roads and bridges,” said New Mexico State Representative Bealquin “Bill” Gomez. “In rural areas, a quality transportation system is essential to delivering agricultural products to market, while in the oil and gas rich areas of New Mexico, heavy truck traffic is driving on roads that are in pretty bad shape. We need to fix our roads.”
The chart below shows the states with the highest rate of rural pavements in poor condition, states with the highest share of structurally deficient rural bridges and those with the highest fatality rates on non-Interstate, rural roads.
“As a smaller state, New Mexico is dependent upon quality infrastructure to be able to compete economically with other states in our region,” said former New Mexico State Representative Daniel P. Silva. “Agriculture and ranching, two very important contributors to our state’s economy, each rely heavily on access to safe and efficient roads.”