Almost 3 million of the nation’s 4 million miles of roads are classified as rural. Over 82% of the nation’s communities depend solely on trucking for the delivery of goods. Traffic congestion is increasing at twice the rate in rural areas than it is in urban areas, and one-third of rural interstates and highways need repair.
For these reasons and many more, the Delta Regional Authority continues to pursue its Congressionally-mandated goal of improving transportation infrastructure in the region, through the States’ Economic Development Assistance program and the Delta Development Highway System (DDHS).
Since its creation in 2000, the Delta Regional Authority has funded 139 transportation projects, investing $25 million. Nearly 26,000 jobs are projected to be created and retained.
The DDHS was prepared in 2007 in collaboration with its eight state Departments of Transportation (DOT) -- all of whom approved the system’s corridors, projects, priorities, and planning-level costs. As proposed, the DDHS consists of 3,843 miles of improved facilities with an estimated total system investment of $18.5 billion over 20 years.
When fully completed, the DDHS's overall economic impact on the Delta region will include more than 130,000 additional full-time equivalent jobs -- with an annual increase of nearly $3.5 billion in additional income (in 2006 dollars). The DDHS will address the serious infrastructure deficiencies within the Delta region by expanding transportation facilities throughout the region's eight states.
Additionally, DRA investments in transportation infrastructure are also driven by the recommendations made in DRA's Multimodal Transportation Assets, Needs and Recommendations Report published in 2008. This report encompasses highways, bridges, intelligent transportation systems, freight rail, passenger rail, airports, public ports, and locks, and is the largest collection of multimodal assets and needs data for any region of the country. The content for this report was gathered from 18 public meetings held across the region that convened almost 600 federal, state, regional, and local officials.