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New Report Shows Oklahoma City's Road Conditions Cost Drivers Nearly $1,000 Per Year

Jonathan Youngblood
Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

A new report out Thursday morning says 45 percent of Oklahoma City's roads are in poor condition.

“That’s taking a toll on [drivers’] wallets each year, to the tune of about $917 annual in what we call ‘extra-vehicle operating costs’,” said Carolyn Kelly with the transportation research group TRIP. “And those are essentially the ways rough roads beat up your vehicle.”

The report ranks Oklahoma City 16th-worst in the nation for road conditions, and fifth-worst when it comes to cost for drivers to travel on the roads.

“That includes the cost of accelerated depreciation, increased maintenance when you hit a pothole and have to go see your mechanic,” Kelly said. “It’s also the cost of additional fuel consumption and tire wear as a result of getting jostled around every day on the road.”

Tulsa’s road conditions ranked 17th-worst, and cost drivers roughly $928 per year.

TRIP says the study examined urban pavement conditions, transportation funding, trends, and economic development in urban areas with populations greater than 250,000. In large urban areas with more than 500,000 residents, the study looked at vehicle operating costs (VOC) specifically.

Credit TRIP

Chuck Mai, a spokesman with AAA Oklahoma, called the rankings “distressing.”

“They’re further evidence of compromised safety on the road, of motorists’ depleted pocketbooks, and of commerce being negatively impacted,” Mai said in a statement. “While the Oklahoma Legislature recently stepped up to increase transportation funding, providing resources which ODOT has spent judiciously and effectively, the TRIP report demonstrates that more dollars must be forthcoming at the local, state and federal levels if we expect these rankings to improve."

TRIP supports a long-range transportation funding bill currently under debate authored by Oklahoma's senior Republican U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe.

Brian Hardzinski is from Flower Mound, Texas and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He began his career at KGOU as a student intern, joining KGOU full time in 2009 as Operations and Public Service Announcement Director. He began regularly hosting Morning Edition in 2014, and became the station's first Digital News Editor in 2015-16. Brian’s work at KGOU has been honored by Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI), the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters, and local and regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. Brian enjoys competing in triathlons, distance running, playing tennis, and entertaining his rambunctious Boston Terrier, Bucky.
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