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Bad Roads Cost Drivers Money

potholeThe nation's rough roads are leading to higher annual driving costs for American motorists - $400, on average, and $750 for drivers in urban areas, according to a new report released last week.

A third of major U.S. interstates and major highways are in poor or mediocre condition, but it's a particular problem in urban areas with populations of 250,000 or more, said the report by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and the road advocacy group TRIP.

"The American people are paying for rough roads multiple times," said Michigan Department of Transportation Director Kirk Steudle. "Rough roads lead to diminished safety, higher vehicle operating costs, and more expensive road repairs."

Among the report's other findings:

- In many urban areas nationwide, 30 percent to 60 percent of roads are in poor shape.

- Nationwide, 72 percent of federal interstate highways are in good shape, but that could decline quickly because the roads are aging and carrying more traffic.

Frank Moretti, director of policy and research for TRIP, said President Barack Obama's federal stimulus program to spend billions to upgrade the nation's highways is a "helpful down payment" but additional investment will be necessary to ensure better roads that are capable of handling higher traffic volumes.

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