Inside its new annual report, the national transportation group TRIP showed the staggering cost of Oklahoma's bad roads - drivers losing out on $5 billion dollars a year state wide.
The breakdown of that number from inside the report makes things even more bleak. Oklahomans spending a total of $1.9 billion dollars on vehicle maintenance costs, another $1 billion on traffic crashes and $2.1 billion lost due to increased congestion, especially in major metro areas.
“The cost of driving on rough roads is beating up their vehicles, the cost of traffic delays which is slowing people down on getting to work, getting home at night and then the cost of fatal and serious traffic crashes and those are just the economic costs,” Rocky Moretti, TRIP Director of Policy said after a press conference Wednesday morning.
On average, TRIP says Oklahomans in the metro spend nearly $2,200 in increased costs. But it's the unmeasured costs that made researchers nervous. The report shows a six-percent increase of fatal crashes in the last year; that's more than 680 people killed in their cars in 2016.
“I think each of us would like to think that when we're driving on a road, all of the appropriate safety features are in place, unfortunately that's not always the case,” Moretti said.
The study does come with remedies for Oklahoma's highway, unfortunately they're easier said than done with the state's $878 million dollar budget hole. Funding cuts to statewide transportation have already suspended 12 projects and could delay as many as 80, according to figures in a release from TRIP.
“States that are prospering have a good transportation system and that's what we've been working on,” Oklahoma Department of Transportation Mike Patterson said. “I would hate for the state to lose the momentum that we've gained the last decade.”