September 21, 2017

Fracked-up roads: Texas, NY

The Texas Tribune reported yesterday on legislative attempts to address the damage done to Texas roads by drilling:

“The Texas Department of Transportation has estimated that maintaining infrastructure impacted by the drilling boom will cost $4 billion a year. Advocates are urging lawmakers to tap the state’s Rainy Day Fund to help repair — and, in some cases, widen — roads in the counties where drilling is most active. This week, the Senate unanimously passed Senate Joint Resolution 1, which would ask voters to approve spending $5.7 billion from the fund, including $2.9 billion for transportation debt. But little, if any, of that money is likely to go toward repairing roads in areas hit hardest by the drilling boom.”

Click here to read the article

Commenting on the article, and the phenomenon of U.S. taxpayer subsidization of the road costs of drilling, George Neall sent out an email with the following calculations:

“The article [above] is one example of the many costs that are subsidized by the American taxpayer for fracking, over the road trucking (OTR) and other businesses. According to the article (red font) one heavily laden truck does the damage of 8,000 cars driven the same distance. Roads are, supposedly, funded and maintained, in part, by gasoline taxes. Does the average truck pay its fair share of fuel taxes based upon the mileage driven in a year and the damage to the roads it causes???

“Let’s see. The average mileage driven by a car is 15,000/year. Average truck mileage is around 120,000.00/year. Average fuel consumption for large trucks is around 6 mpg. For cars/SUV’s/Pickups this figure is around 18 mpg.

Average yearly fuel taxes paid per car would then be around (15,000 miles/18 miles/gallon) x ($0.48/gallon tax) = $400.00/year.

Average yearly fuel taxes paid per truck would then be around (120,000 miles/6 miles/gallon) x $0.54/gallon tax) = $10,800.00/year. This figure agrees with the costs seen displayed on the bumpers of some OTR trucks. Each truck pays more than 25 times the fuel tax a car pays. That seems like a lot until you consider the facts.

“The average truck pays around 27 times the fuel taxes an average car pays. Yet, according to the TxDOT, they do 8,000 times the damage per mile driven and drive 8 times as far each year. So, are OTR truckers paying their FAIR share of fuel taxes to help keep our highways in good condition???

“If frackers, truckers, and other businesses had to pay their FAIR share of the damages they cause, the costs would probably be prohibitively high and other forms of transportation, energy production, etc., would be more economical. But these costs are hidden in the form of subsidies and paid by taxpayers, disguising the true costs of many products. Who benefits mainly from this?????”

“The annual costs to undertake these transportation projects are estimated to range from $90 to $156 million for State roads and from $121-$222 million for local roads. There is no mechanism in place allowing State and local governments to absorb these additional transportation costs without major impacts to other programs and other municipalities in the State.”

Possible costs of road damage caused by natural gas drilling activity in New York were estimated in a NYS Dept. of Transportation document in 2011, as outlined in the articles linked to below. Excerpts from the executive summary:

“The potential transportation impacts are ominous… this Discussion Paper suggests that it will be necessary to reconstruct hundreds of miles of roads and scores of bridges and undertake safety and operational improvements in many areas….

“The annual costs to undertake these transportation projects are estimated to range from $90 to $156 million for State roads and from $121-$222 million for local roads. There is no mechanism in place allowing State and local governments to absorb these additional transportation costs without major impacts to other programs and other municipalities in the State.”

http://un-naturalgas.org/weblog/2011/07/leaked-draft-nysdot-document-the-potential-impacts-are-ominous/

http://www.pressconnects.com/article/20110726/NEWS01/107260384/Document-estimates-fracking-s-toll-N-Y-roads-?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE