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Ohio and Dayton road, bridge conditions examined in new report

Photos/ODOT sign showing project work on Dayton-Xenia Road.
Garrett Reese
Photos/ODOT sign showing project work on Dayton-Xenia Road.

An increase in transportation funding has allowed Ohio to improve its roads and bridges. However, according to a new report from TRIP, a DC think tank, some major ones remain in poor condition.

The TRIP report found that nearly one-third of Ohio’s major locally and state-maintained roads are deteriorated, with 16% in poor condition and 15% in mediocre condition.

In the Dayton area, 55% of major roads are in poor or mediocre condition. This costs the average motorist in the region $675 annually in additional vehicle operating cost, as a result of driving on rough roads- a total of $4.2 billion statewide.

These costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

“Although Ohio continues to make significant progress in improving its transportation system, the state will face challenges in the future in continuing to address those,” Rocky Morett, the head of policy and research at TRIP said.

In the Dayton area, the report found that nearly 30% of major roads are in poor condition and more than 25% are rated as mediocre.

TRIP also looked at the cost of traffic congestion to Ohio motorists, and found that lost time and wasted fuel added up to $5 billion annually.

 In the Dayton area, TRIP estimated that each year, the average area motorist is spending 30 hours annually stuck in traffic due to traffic congestion and wasting 12 gallons of fuel, costing the average commuter in the region $627 annually.

TRIP Traffic Congestion Dayton Jan 2024

The TRIP report also mentioned the funding funnel for Ohio roads and bridges infrastructure. The state’s transportation funding received a significant boost in 2019 when the state’s tax per gallon of gasoline was increased by 10.5 cents (to 38.5 cents per gallon) and the state tax on diesel fuel was increased by 19 cents (to 47 cents per gallon).

As a result, from 2020 through 2030 nearly $5.4 billion in additional funds will be made available, allowing for needed improvements to the state’s surface transportation network.

Ohio transportation funding was further boosted in 2021 by the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which has increased federal highway, bridge and transit funding in Ohio by approximately 30%.

However, ODOT has identified nearly $1.6 billion in needed projects throughout the state for which construction funding is not yet available.

Chris Runyan, from Fix Our Roads Ohio said it has been gratifying to see the roads being well maintained, but more should be done.

“Ohio has one of the densest highway transportation networks in the nation,” Runyan said. “Known wear and tear on the existing system speak to the need to continually address how and how much those revenue sources are delivering.”

Ngozi Cole is the Business and Economics Reporter for WYSO. She graduated with honors from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in New York and is a 2022 Pulitzer Center Post-Graduate Reporting Fellow. Ngozi is from Freetown, Sierra Leone.