Department of Transportation's Reaction to Highway Report - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Department of Transportation's Reaction to Highway Report

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After a report was released last week measuring Montana's road systems one of the figures showed they are not as safe as they should be. Right now the Montana Department of Transportation claims they are doing what they can to fix this problem.  ABC Montana's Joe Moeller explains.

A report we showed you last week from the national transportation research group, TRIP, provided us with the results of a state wide analysis of Montana's road systems. The numbers primarily revealed that 46% percent of the roads are in need of help, and that Montana roads are not equipped with adequate safety needs.

With the state already third highest in the nation with traffic fatalities, a third of those are caused by unsafe routes.

We spoke to the Montana Department of Transportation who told us, these conditions are a high priority to keep Montanan's as safe as possible, but they are doing what they can with the $340 million of annual federal funds.
 
"We are aware that there are needs out there, and again if they were simple to solve they would have been solved a long time ago and it is a national issue not just a state issue." said Mike Tooley, the Director at the Department of Transportation.

In Montana 86% of maintenance and construction projects are funded by a federal gas tax, which allows for a plan created every fiscal year where the money is dispersed for the roads and highways. They are in the loop about these issues and have plans for them to be corrected.

For example, according to M.D. T. the number one killer are single vehicle off road crashes, which usually results in a roll-over and a passenger ejected, situations like these M.D.T. takes seriously and tries to prevent them as much as possible.

"To prevent that we take some steps as far as signage, we also do rumble strips on the edge of the road, and we constantly push for a primary seat belt law to make sure people remain in their vehicles and restrained." added Tooley.

Although the report points out the flaws in the safety measures, M.D.T. says fixing safety problems won't completely erase one third of fatalities.

"It isn't all highway construction or improvements in the signage that can make a difference in our fatality rate, a lot of the issues on the highways are still related to driver behavior and Montana continues to try to address those." said Tooley.

M.D.T. is always planning for the next projects, but they also need to be aware of the status Congress is taking with the next transportation bill which is currently being worked on in the house. The state is aware of the issues at hand, but says they are doing what they can to address these problems.

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