Report: State's bridges, highways worse off than originally thought

Report: State's bridges, highways worse off than originally thought
SEATTLE -- Our state's bridges and highways might be a lot worse-off than we thought. A new report on everything from potholes to congestion shows there isn't enough money to fix the problems, and the cost for each driver is somewhat shocking.

TRIP, a non-profit transportation research group that authored the report, estimates the cost to each driver burning gas stuck in traffic, and paying for repairs after driving over potholes is $1,800 per year.

And according to the report, across the state too many roads and highways are in terrible shape -- 21 percent of roads statewide are in poor condition while that number balloons to 45 percent in Seattle. Every year, state residents shell-out $6.5 billion for repairs and maintenance.

However, the report also says the state doesn't have the money to keep up those repairs. This year, Washington's Department of Transportation anticipated they needed $100 million for their pavement budget, while the study estimates they actually need $245 million -- which means they're short $145 million.

And if they keep it up, the report says they'll be short $814 million by 2018.

"We need to begin taking action now," said Port of Seattle Commissioner Bill Bryant.

Bryant is now pointing to the report as a giant, wake-up call.

"If we don't, we're putting jobs and our economy in jeopardy," he said.

And one of the state's most powerful public policy groups agrees.

"First, we need to do a lot better job of taking care of what we have and secondly we need to complete projects in important economic corridors," said Steve Mullin with the Washington Roundtable.

TRIP pulled all their data from state and federal agencies. They agree it doesn't sound great, but there's more bad news.

The report also says one out of 4 bridges across the state show signs of significant deterioration or don't meet modern design standards. But, when it comes to repairing those bridges, WSDOT's budget comes up $220 million short.

WSDOT says they agree with the report, especially when it comes to bridge repairs, and also agree they need more money for their budgets.