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Report: Utahns pay more for transportation, less for rough road-related repairs

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Posted at 6:59 PM, Jun 27, 2014
and last updated 2014-06-28 01:32:15-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah has a lot of bad roads that cost residents a lot of money.

The bill for the average Utah family: $197 in repairs due to poor road conditions.  A lot of money? Yes. But the national average is over $300.

The data was put together in a report called "Roadmap to 2050," published by the Utah Foundation. Research analyst Mallory Bateman wrote it.

"About 25 percent of our roads are of poor or mediocre quality, and nationally it's about 32 percent," said Bateman.

The numbers on roads come from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Cory Pope with the Utah Department of Transportation says those number are probably accurate, but they don't tell the whole story.

"If you look at the roads in poor condition, the majority of the roads in the state system would be in our rural areas," said Pope.

Pope says UDOT has a clear priority system. They keep busy roads in good to excellent condition, including Interstates and major thoroughfares like State Street in Salt Lake or Riverdale Road in Weber County. Rural roads are monitored to make sure they are always safe, but UDOT will tolerate cracks and a rougher surface.

Perhaps the most surprising statistic cited by the Utah Foundation Report: Utah families, on average, spend 26 percent of their annual income on transportation. That would include car payments, maintenance, gas, and even bus fare.

That number, from the U.S. Department of Transportation, is higher than the national average of  19%.

Put the 26% transportation figure with an average cost of housing at 33%, "You're ending up with almost 60 percent of your income is transportation and housing," said Bateman. ​