A report released by the National Transportation Research Group (TRIP) shows Mississippi as one of the worst states in the country when it comes to infrastructure and the safety of drivers on its roads and bridges. The importance of infrastructure is no surprise to any American, nor is the poor condition of our country’s roads and bridges, but no one understands this better than Mississippians.
With 54% of the state’s roads in poor or mediocre condition, each motorist spends $794 per year in additional repairs due to accelerated wear and tear on vehicles and increased fuel consumption. Roads aren’t the only problem. Mississippi has the 19th most structurally deficient bridges out of any state in the country.
Roads and bridges also provide tens of thousands of jobs for Mississippians and are the backbone of the livelihood of several hundred thousand more. Mississippi drivers travel 40.7 billion miles annually on the state’s roads, and the construction and maintenance of these roads and bridges employ roughly 44,000 workers across all sectors of the economy. Approximately 575,000 full-time jobs across a number of industries from tourism all the way to agriculture also depend on the state’s transportation network.
While the poor quality of our roads and bridges hinders our state’s economy and those that rely on the transportation network, the cost of Mississippi lives is just as grave. Mississippi has a traffic fatality rate of 1.63 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel, while the national average is just 1.13. Additionally, the lack of adequate roadway safety features is a contributing factor to costing Mississippi motorists $1.08 billion per year in medical costs, lost productivity, travel delays, workplace costs, insurance costs, and legal costs.
Now more than ever, our state’s transportation network is essential to the safety, health, and well-being of Mississippians. Goods and services must be transported at a rate faster than ever across Mississippi’s roads, highways, and bridges, bringing much needed medical supplies to rural communities and hospitals across the state. During a crisis, we rely on infrastructure more heavily than ever before, and this crisis is no different.