Houston Drivers Pay More for Bad Roads

A new report on transportation in Texas shows Houstonians pay more than other drivers in the state because of bad roads and congestion.

It might surprise you to learn that 47 percent of major roads in Houston are in poor or mediocre condition. That's according to a report by TRIP, a national transportation research group.

Carolyn Bonifas is TRIP's associate director of research. She says Houston drivers spend more than $1,000 a year on congestion, more than drivers in Austin, San Antonio and Dallas.

"Houston has some of the highest congestion costs in the state and also probably among the top ten in the nation."

Houstonians also lose 57 hours a year in traffic jams.

The report breaks down how much drivers in different cities spend on congestion-related costs, road safety and vehicle operating costs. Overall, Houston drivers are spending nearly $2,000 extra because of road conditions, higher than anywhere else in the state.

"Congestion will worsen as the economy picks back up and as the population begins to grow, if the roadways aren't expanded at a corresponding rate to that growth. We've also found that pavement conditions in the state are projected to decrease by 30 percent over the next decade because of a lack of available funding. So if you think it's bumpy out there now, it's going to be much worse in the future."

The report says poor transportation conditions cost Texas drivers $23 billion a year. Bonifas says current transportation funding levels in the state don't cover the cost of maintaining Texas roads, which means the price tag will continue to go up.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...