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Ruston (Lincoln Parish, Louisiana) Corridor Initiative

February, 2003 - produced by AECOM Consulting

The map shows that the Ruston corridor is located in the south central portion of Lincoln Parish, which itself is located in north central Louisiana.Project Type: Connectivity and circulation to service roads that supplement a major highway

Project Objectives: Promote and accommodate commercial development along a major highway

Outcomes Metric: Expected job gains, tax base effects, new businesses established, fewer accidents

Economic Environment: Non-metropolitan

Economic History: Sluggish to stagnant population growth, high poverty rate

Distinguishing Features: The 1.6 mile Ruston Corridor is located along an interstate corridor. This college town community has demonstrated potential as a commercial site.


I. Existing Conditions

Lincoln Parish is part of the multistate Delta Region [1] , a group of economies distinguished by their high levels of poverty and for the persistence of their economic distress. The Economic Research Service of the USDA has identified Lincoln Parish as a Persistent Poverty parish. The definition of such an economy is one where persons with a poverty-level income in the preceding year were 20 percent or more of the total population in each of 4 years: 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990. The U.S. had 535 persistent poverty counties/parishes (out of 2,276 non-metro counties) the last time this tabulation was done (1993); 33 of Louisiana's 40 non-metro parishes were persistent poverty economies, including those in the Delta region of the state. The 2000 Census confirmed that Lincoln Parish remained a Persistent Poverty parish through the 1990s, a period that recorded particularly strong economic growth elsewhere in the U.S. Exhibit 1 below summarizes some key economic indicators for Lincoln Parish and places the parish in the context of the broader Louisiana Delta Region.

Exhibit 1: Delta Parish Comparison

Delta Region Parishes Pop Growth 1990-2000 (%) High School Graduate or Higher (%) 2000 College Graduate or Higher (%) 2000 Poverty Rate (%) 1999 Per Capita Income 1999 Percent of Households with income greater than $75,000
Lincoln 1.8 80.4 31.8 26.5 14,313 12.5
Caldwell 7.7 65.4 8.8 21.2 13,884 8.1
East Carroll -3.0 57.9 12.3 40.5 9,629 5.8
Franklin -5.0 61.4 9.8 28.4 12,675 5.9
Jackson -2.9 73.6 12.9 19.8 15,354 10.9
Madison 10.2 63.4 11.0 36.7 10,114 5.6
Morehouse -2.9 66.6 9.7 26.8 13,197 8.3
Ouachita (Monroe MSA) 3.6 78.6 22.7 20.7 17,084 15.8
Richland 1.7 61.9 12.8 27.9 12,479 8.5
Tensas -6.8 63.2 14.8 36.3 12,622 8.5
Union 9.7 71.7 11.8 18.6 14,819 9.9
West Carroll 1.8 59.5 9.5 23.4 12,302 8.0
Winn 2.4 65.4 9.4 21.5 11,794 8.3
Louisiana Average 5.9 74.8 18.7 19.6 16,912 15.0
U.S. Average 13.1 80.4 24.4 12.4 21,587 22.5

Source: U. S. Census Bureau, 2000 Census

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that over 26% of the total Lincoln Parish population had an income that fell below the poverty rate in the 2000 Census. The rate for the City of Ruston was even higher, rising to just over 32%. These rates are far higher than those reported for the state of Louisiana and the U.S. as a whole. These rates are biased upwards, however, by the large concentration of students residing in the City and Parish. The population of Lincoln Parish is distinctive among U.S. communities in that it is home to Grambling University and Louisiana Tech University, with a combined student population of about 15,000. Although students who live in dormitories are not included in the city and parish poverty rate calculation as they live in group quarters (and are thus excluded from the population for whom poverty is defined), students who live off campus will be included in the poverty rate calculation as they are most likely living in apartments. While students may well have incomes below the poverty line, their condition does not reflect the economic distress that economic development initiatives typically seek to ameliorate. Thus, understanding how students impact the local poverty rate is important in understanding whether the official economic statistics accurately reflect the conditions of Ruston and Lincoln Parish's permanent population.

In the case of Lincoln Parish and especially in Ruston, subtracting out the college-age population and recalculating the poverty rate for just the non-college aged population reduces the poverty rate. The published rate is just over 32 percent; removing the student-aged population and recalculating drops the rate to just over 22 percent in the City of Ruston. The rate for Lincoln Parish drops from a published rate of 26.5 percent to 20.2 percent. While the large number of students in Lincoln Parish appears to have an effect on the area's above-average poverty rate, it is not the sole explanation. The state's poverty rate is lower, and the nation as a whole has a poverty rate that is about half as large even after excluding the college aged population. Other factors relating to the region's economy, such as unemployment or low wages, must also be playing a role in order for the city and parish to experience such high levels of poverty.

Exhibit 2: Population Growth is Nearly Stagnant in Lincoln Parish Community

bar graph: Population Growth. City of Ruston, 2.59%. Lincoln Parish 1.83%. Louisiana 5.9%. United States 13.15%.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 1990 and 2000 Census

Lincoln Parish's population growth has been sluggish over the past decade. The population grew only 1.8% from 1990 to 2000, well below the Louisiana growth rate of 5.9% and much slower than the U.S. rate of 13.2%. Despite a slightly lower birthrate than Louisiana and the United States, the primary cause for the parish's loss of population is domestic out-migration. According to Census Bureau estimates (which have yet to be updated to account for 2000 Census population counts), a net 6% of the 1990 population was lost due to domestic migration by 1999 [2] .

Lincoln Parish's unemployment rate remained consistently low after the recession of the early 1990's, hovering between 2 and 4 percent until the recent downturn. It had been lower than the United States' unemployment rate until mid-2001, and has since matched the U.S. rate, reaching 5.5% in December 2001. In 2001, the average monthly size of the labor force was 19,090 [3] . Thus, a 1 percentage point change in the unemployment rate implies a change of 191 jobs.

Exhibit 3: Parish Jobless Rate Low, But Not an Indication of Economic Health

line graph. Click image for source data.

Sources: Louisiana Department of Labor, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

The low sustained unemployment rate is not a sign of good health in the case of Lincoln Parish. Rather, it is a sign of stagnancy. For example, during the period of the low and steady jobless rate between 1993 and 1997, the labor force grew by just 540 people. The labor force has grown little over the decade, just 7.0 percent during the decade. Moreover, the year-to-year growth has not been consistently positive. From November 1992 to June 1994 and from February 2000 to December 2001, the labor force contracted each month from the number the year before [4] .

The stagnation in the Lincoln Parish economy also has consequences for the regional economy. Four rural parishes that border Lincoln Parish depend, to some extent, on Lincoln Parish as an economic leader. These parishes are Claiborne, Union, Jackson and Bienville. Quachita Parish also borders Lincoln Parish but it depends on Monroe (a metropolitan area within Quachita Parish) as an economic leader. These four rural parishes have a collective unemployment rate that, for the past decade or so, averaged about twice that of Lincoln parish. For example, Bienville Parish averaged well over 10% unemployment in the 1990s and Claiborne Parish averaged well over 8% unemployment during that time.

The Lincoln parish economy has two main types of industry: educational services (largely classified as state government employment because they are public institutions), and resource-related manufacturing and distribution activities. The educational institutions help to explain the pool of educated residents in the parish. The resource-related industries account for the weak attributes of the economy. These industries are cyclical and are currently at a low point of the cycle. Employers, in these industries, are, in many cases, paring payrolls and reducing hours.

Lincoln Parish's industrial base serves two types of demand: local and export. The critical existing components of Lincoln Parish's industrial base are those industries that produce goods or services to be exported out of the Parish, either elsewhere in the U.S. or to foreign locations. These industries help bring money into the Parish and provide the Parish the income to import goods from outside the region. The location quotient is a useful tool for identifying the Parish's export industries. A location quotient measures an industry's concentration in a local economy relative to the national concentration. For example, a value of 1.1 indicates that the industry is 10% more concentrated in the local economy compared to the U.S. The 1.1 value is generally used as the threshold to identify whether the industry is producing more than is needed for local consumption and thus is exporting outside the local economy. As shown below, resource-related industries and state government employment (public higher education) are at the top of the list. Summing all industries with a location quotient equal or greater than 1.1 indicates that 54% of Lincoln Parish's employment is in industries that have some export component to their market. Not all of that employment is used in production of goods and services for export, however, as even exporting industries produce some output that is consumed locally. Thus, to isolate the share of employment attributable to export production, the amount of employment that raises the relative concentration above the 1.1 location quotient threshold is defined as non-basic employment devoted to export production. One-third of Lincoln Parish's employment is geared to export production.

Exhibit 4: Employment in Export Industries, 2000

NAICS Code Export Industries Location Quotient Employment Basic Employment Non-Basic Employment
113 Forestry & logging 15.21 175 12 163
321 Wood product manufacturing 9.07 750 83 667
486 Pipeline transportation 8.19 60 7 53
-- State 5.82 3,984 685 3,299
327 Nonmetallic mineral product mfg 5.18 375 72 303
484 Truck transportation 2.79 547 196 351
213 Support Activities for mining 2.57 60 23 37
623 Nursing & residential care facilities 1.85 665 359 306
447 Gasoline stations 1.83 237 130 107
234 Heavy Construction 1.81 226 125 101
813 Religious/grant-making/civic/professional & other org 1.58 583 369 214
332 Fabricated metal product manufacturing 1.51 375 248 127
233 Building, developing & general contracting 1.48 328 222 106
441 Motor vehicle & parts dealers 1.44 372 258 114
444 Building material & garden equipment and supplies dealers 1.37 235 171 64
448 Clothing & clothing accessories stores 1.21 229 189 40
453 Miscellaneous store retailers 1.19 140 118 22
452 General merchandise stores 1.14 400 349 51
551 Management of companies & enterprises 1.10 437 398 39
Total Employment in Export Industries 10,178 4,013 6,165
Total Parish Employment in Export Industries 18,769
Export Share (=Non-Basic Employment/Total Parish Employment) 32.8%

Source: AECOM Consult calculations from County Business Patterns data.

Beyond current strengths, future growth opportunities may exist where the local economy demonstrates a competitive advantage, defined as industries in Lincoln Parish that are outperforming their counterpart at the national level. Shift-share analysis can determine in which industries Lincoln Parish is competitive by separating out the three components that contribute to local economic growth: national share, industry mix, and regional shift.

National share measures by how much the total employment in a local area increased because of growth in the national economy. Industry mix identifies fast or slow growing industrial sectors nationwide. The regional shift, or the competitive effect, highlights the leading or lagging industries in the parish by comparing a local area's growth rate in an industry sector with the growth rate for that same sector at the U.S. level. A leading industry is one where that industry's local area growth rate is greater than its U.S. growth rate. Analyzing the change in employment from 1998 to 2000, a period characterized by declining employment overall, the leading industries are shown in Exhibit 5.

Exhibit 5: Lincoln Parish Leading Industries, 1998-2000

NAICS Code Sector Regional Shift
113 Forestry & logging 116
813 Religious/grant-making/civic/professional & other org. 99
522 Credit intermediation & related activities 75
445 Food & beverage stores 67
551 Management of companies & enterprises 58

Source: AECOM Consult calculations from County Business Patterns data.

The assessment of current economic conditions has highlighted the current strengths within Lincoln Parish's industrial base; public higher education, wood product industries, and transportation are the most important segments. The most direct economic development strategy would be to capitalize on current industrial strengths and work to grow more of what the parish already has. This is not a viable strategy for long-term growth, however, as none of these industries has much growth potential. The two universities are public institutions whose enrollment is determined by state government policy, budget priorities, and the demographics of the college-aged population. None of these factors suggests a significant expansion of enrollment is likely. The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education projects a 1% decline in the number of high school graduates in Louisiana between 1996 and 2008, for example. The outlook for the wood products industry is similarly weak. This highly cyclical industry faces strong competition from foreign log producers, particularly those in Canada, and close environmental regulation on industry operations at home. Mill operations are similarly struggling against increasingly global competition.

Rather than invest in existing strengths that are likely to erode with time, the frontage road investment described in this report opens up opportunities for growth in new industries that are less well represented in Lincoln Parish's existing industrial base. Growth in these industries would support development strategies such as the retiree initiative. The parish is actively working to attract retirees to the area, leverage assets such as a safe living environment, access to healthcare, universities with life-long learning programs, and an comparatively low cost of living. Such an approach diversifies the industrial base of the local economy and changes the competitive landscape to create economic opportunities that did not previously exist.

II. Highway Project

The study corridor in Lincoln Parish parallels I-20 in the City of Ruston. Interstate 20 is a four-lane divided interstate highway with fully controlled access. There are currently three exits in the Ruston vicinity. Running west to east, they are Exit 84 at Cooktown Rd. (LA 544), Exit 85 at US 167 (Trenton and Vienna Sts.), and Exit 86 at LA 33 (Farmerville Highway).

Additionally, LA DOT is planning to widen the Cooktown Road bridge over I-20 to a 5-lane bridge. A new interchange is planned at Tarbutton Road, 1.4 miles west of Cooktown Rd.

Though not directly part of the infrastructure investments considered here, the 1998 Lincoln Parish Transportation Plan recommended widening I-20 to six lanes in the next 20 years.

Since the Lincoln Parish Transportation Plan was published in 1998, two additional studies have updated these initial findings. Waggoner Engineering developed a capital improvement plan that established short-term and long-term priorities among the alternatives outlined in the 1998 plan. Subsequently, the City of Ruston authorized additional planning work to select among alternatives in the vicinity of the I-20 corridor given economic, mobility, and safety objectives.

The currently recommended course of action includes: 1) Improvements at the existing interchanges, 2) Improvements to the existing frontage roads, and 3) Construction to extend the frontage road system

Exhibit 6: Map of the Ruston Corridor

The map shows that the 1.6-mile corridor extends from the abandoned railway line on the west side of the existing I-20 underpass (Exit 84), west to LA 33 (Farmerville Highway) at Exit 86. A large portion of the corridor's area falls within the City's Tax Increment District, a region targeted for economic development.

The revised estimate of the construction cost is $14,022,483 [5] .

III. Objectives of the Projects

There are two main objectives to the road improvements included in the Ruston project. The first is improved road design and circulation, which will result in safer travel. The second objective is to improve access and open up new sites for commercial development. The new road connections open up additional space for development and improve circulation by relieving congestion on the northern connecting road.

IV. Economic Development Efforts and Activities in the Ruston Corridor

Lincoln Parish is the beneficiary of several concurrent economic development initiatives administered by several levels of government and quasi-governmental agencies. These include those initiated by the city and parish itself and those initiated by the state, including work at Louisiana Tech, a state university. The parish also benefits from national efforts targeting growth in the broader region in which Lincoln Parish is located. These are noted briefly below.

Renewal Community Designation. Parts of Lincoln Parish and much of the surrounding area received a Renewal Community designation in January 2002. Renewal Community incentives are designed to encourage and reward business investment that leads to more jobs and economic revitalization throughout northern Louisiana. This federal program features a variety of benefits for local businesses. Many companies now qualify for tax credits, deductions, accelerated depreciation and other incentives that can help with expansion, relocation and start up.

Tax Increment District. Established in 1993, the transportation improvements considered in this assessment fall within the boundaries of the district. Tax increment financing allows local governments to invest money in an area to spur private development; the increased tax revenues collected on the larger tax base recoups the investment of the taxes for the improvement.

Downtown Development District. Ruston's Downtown Development District was established in June 2003. It is a taxing district that will fund the Main Street Commission. Taxes will support marketing the businesses in the district, renovation of businesses, and hiring a manager to promote the businesses in the district.

Tarbutton Interchange Project. In addition to the transportation improvements described for this project, the City of Ruston and Lincoln Parish have also developed plans for a new interchange at I-20 and Tarbutton Road. The interchange would fall midway between the City of Ruston and the Louisiana Tech campus and the City of Grambling and the Grambling University campus. This development would provide joint opportunities to these two communities.

Tech Industrial Center. Developmental research in cooperation with government and industry is a natural conduit for technology transfer. Such work is part of the mission of many of Tech's applied research and engineering centers.

Retiree Destination. Recognizing the potential of the golf course development, the Lincoln Parish Advisory committee has identified the retiree industry as a potential growth industry that they would like to target.

Transportation Infrastructure Model for Economic Development (TIMED). The TIMED program makes investments to four-lane highways across the state. Among the 12 remaining TIMED projects, one will affect Lincoln Parish. The Louisiana DOT will four-lane U.S. 167 from Alexandria to Ruston to the Arkansas state line.

Delta Regional Authority. Lincoln Parish is located within the newly established Delta Regional Authority (DRA), a federal-state partnership serving a 236-county area in the eight-state Lower Mississippi River region. The DRA is charged with stimulating economic development in order to remedy the severe and chronic economic distress that is symptomatic of the region's economy. By law, 50 percent of DRA project funds are to be spent on transportation and basic infrastructure improvements.

V. Methodology

The projects benefits are divided into three types: those derived through construction of the new infrastructure or from commercial building associated with the newly-available sites along frontage roads, jobs and income associated with the operation of the new establishments that locate along the improved frontage road area, and those benefits associated with the improved degree of safety.

Because of the variety of benefits under consideration, several techniques were applied in order to obtain a more comprehensive picture of the project's value to the community. The jobs and income associated with construction activity were estimated using RIMS II multipliers developed by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Derived from an accounting framework that shows the distribution of inputs purchased in the production of a particular good or service, the RIMS II system is widely used in both the public and private sector for impact analyses. These are temporary impacts that last for the duration of the construction activity.

A cross-sectional regression model was developed to estimate the level of commercial building (and jobs and income associated with the operation of these new establishments) that would be attracted to the newly-available sites once the frontage road project was completed. The model compares the existing level of commercial building around Ruston's exits with the level of commercial building around its peer group of other non-metropolitan exits along I-20 in northern Louisiana, controlling for factors such as traffic, population, amount of building already in place, and distance to a metropolitan area. The difference between the level of commercial activity around Ruston's exits and what would be expected based on the experience of other exits, defines the amount of pent up demand for commercial activity at the Ruston exit locations; this is the amount of new activity that would be expected at the newly-improved location in the near-term. The model also permits the estimation of how the site would develop over time as population increased.

Safety benefits are estimated from accident rates provided in the engineering section of Ruston's Transportation Improvement Plan. The Consultant team searched the literature to identify the typical reduction in the accident rate obtained in similar projects around the U.S. These potential rate reductions were applied to the current Ruston accident rate, to obtain the number and type of accidents that would be avoided once the roads were improved, adjusting for the vehicle occupancy rate and traffic volumes. The value of these avoided accidents was estimated using information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on the average accident cost.

VI. Results

Based on industry averages and the revised construction value of $14,022,483, building the service roads will require 54 FTE construction workers directly. In 2001, the average annual construction wage in Lincoln Parish was $31,433 and the average wage per job was $24,613, according to the Louisiana Department of Economic Development. Spending by construction workers will support demand for other goods and services in the economy, further supporting employment and wages. The 82 total jobs created by the construction will therefore add over $2.3 million of income to the parish's economy. It is, however, worth noting that these jobs are not recurring and this increase in income will end once the construction of the project is complete.

Exhibit 7: Income from FTE Jobs Created by Road Construction

FTE Jobs Created by Construction Average Wage Per Construction Job (2001 $) Highway and Street Construction Multiplier Total FTE Jobs Average Wage Per Job (2001 $) Income from FTE Jobs
54

$31,433

1.5157

82

$24,613

$2,382,778

Source: Louisiana Department of Economic Development and AECOM Consult calculations

Commercial Development-related Benefits

Prospects for future commercial development are divided into two types: (1) those that stem from a short-term deficit in building activity, that is the degree to which a location might be considered "underdeveloped," and (2) that future development that might be expected longer-term as an economy's population and market base grew and required additional services. Based on the estimated latent demand, a total of four establishments-two in the food, lodging, and gas sector (FLG in Exhibits 8 and 10 below), and two in other industries-would bring the market back into balance in the short term. Though small, the impact on a community the size of Ruston is significant. The job, income and fiscal impacts associated with this building are summarized below.

Exhibit 8: Summary of Short-Term Developmental Impacts (annual)

Time Horizon Number of New Establishment Direct Job Gains Direct Earnings Gains Total Jobs (incl. Indirect) Total Earnings (incl .Indirect) Total Value of Commercial Development Timing of Impacts Total Earnings Impact Over Horizon
Short-Term 2 FLG + 2 Other 190 $4,579,000 224 $5,398,400 $2,584,072 By year 3 $91,772,800

Source: RSMeans and AECOM Consult calculations

Exhibit 9: Total Fiscal Impacts Generated Over the Forecast Horizon from Short-Term Development

Scenario Tax on Personal Income Total Sales Tax Louisiana Sales Tax City Sales Tax Total Property Tax Parish Property Tax City Property Tax
Short-Term $2,918,375 $2,574,227 $1,211,401 $1,362,826 $686,613 $622,499 $64,144

Source: Lincoln Parish Tax Assessor's Office and AECOM Consult calculations

Commercial building would also be expected as the local economy expands. Development over the longer-term is projected according to three scenarios for the community's future prospects. These longer-term projections are developed under three scenarios: (1) future growth looks like the past, i.e., slower than the national average, (2) future growth improves and looks like the national average has in recent years, and (3) the economy has moved into a new regime where growth exceeds the national average.

The table below summarizes the commercial development impacts that are expected under the three different scenarios. By its nature, commercial development is lumpy; one cannot build half a building. Thus, it is impossible to predict the timing of the new structures over the time horizon. The table below simply indicates when household growth has advanced sufficiently to trigger a new establishment. The arrival of the new building would be expected on or after that date.

Exhibit 10: Summary of Long-term Development Impacts (annual)

Scenario Household Growth Time Horizon Number of New Establishment Direct Job Gains Direct Earnings Gains Total Jobs(incl. Indirect) Total Earnings (incl. Indirect) Total Value of Commercial Development Timing of Impacts Total Earnings Impact Over Horizon
Pessimistic 1.0% ann. Yrs 4-20 1 FLG + 1 Other 95 $2,289,500 112 $2,699,200 $1,292,036 Year 20 $2,699,200
Baseline 1.4% ann. Yrs 4-20 1 FLG + 1 Other 95 $2,289,500 112 $2,699,200 $1,292,036 Year 18 $8,097,600
Optimistic 2.0% ann. Yrs 4-20 2 FLG + 2 Other 190 $4,579,000 224 $5,398,400 $2,584,072 2 in Year 13;-2 Years 20 $24,292,800

Source: RSMeans data and AECOM calculations

Exhibit 11: Total Fiscal Impacts Generated Over the Forecast Horizon from

Long-term Development

Scenario Tax on Personal Income Total Sales Tax Louisiana Sales Tax City Sales Tax Total Property Tax Parish Property Tax City Property Tax
Pessimistic $85,835 $75,713 $35,629 $40,083 $20,194 $18,309 $1,886
Baseline $257,505 $227,139 $106,887 $120,249 $60,582 $54,926 $5,657
Optimistic $772,515 $681,417 $320,661 $360,747 $181,746 $164,777 $16,970

Source: Lincoln Parish Tax Assessor's Office and AECOM Consult calculations

Finally, this commercial building activity will generate construction jobs for the duration of the building activity. Construction impacts are not recurring impacts.

Exhibit 12: Commercial Construction Impact Summary

Scenario Job Gains EarningsGains PersonalIncome Total Sales Tax Louisiana Sales Tax City Sales Tax
Short-Term 11 $303,578 $9,654 $8,515 $4,007 $4,508
Pessimistic 6 $151,789 $4,827 $4,258 $2,004 $2,254
Baseline 6 $151,789 $4,827 $4,258 $2,004 $2,254
Optimistic 11 $303,578 $9,654 $8,515 $4,007 $4,508

Source: Lincoln Parish Tax Assessor's Office and AECOM Consult calculations

Safety-related Benefits

The improvements to the roads around Ruston in the proposed plan are expected to reduce the accident rate, although there is no established method by which to project with precision by how much. Studies have been undertaken to measure the safety impacts of assorted road improvements following their completion, but there has been considerable variation in the benefits attained across projects. Also, benefits are not necessarily additive, which makes it especially difficult to estimate the safety improvements that would result from all three major changes being considered in Lincoln Parish.

The approach used in this study was to examine the types and frequency of accidents that actually occurred over a three-year period in the study corridor. The project team then reviewed prior studies regarding safety effects, to determine the typical amount of accident reduction associated with the road improvements selected for the Ruston corridor. The expected accident reduction factor is 40% from the collective introduction of all various road improvements chosen for the corridor; this is the most likely safety improvement forecast. Application of this reduction factor to the level of accidents experienced now, adjusting for the changes in traffic levels that will occur over the forecast horizon, yields the accident reductions shown in the Exhibit below. Because the base data are three-year averages, the projected outcomes are also three-year averages. However, for the reasons described above, there is considerable uncertainty around this forecast. Thus, high (60%) and low (20%) safety improvement scenarios were estimated to put some bounds on this uncertainty.

Exhibit 13: Costs of Motor Vehicle Accidents, 2018-2020 (2001 $)

Injury Type

No Charge (Baseline)

20% Reduction

40% Reduction

60% Reduction

Number of Accidents

Total Cost (2001 $)

Number of Accidents

Total Cost (2001 $)

Number of Accidents

Total Cost (2001 $)

Number of Accidents

Total Cost (2001 $)

Property Damage Only

415.5

$1,893,469

332.4

$1,514,775

249.3

$1,136,081

166.2

$757,388

Possible Injury

54

$873,535

43.2

$698,828

32.4

$524,121

21.6

$349,414

Non-Incapacitating Injury

29.5

$9,183,935

23.6

$7,347,148

17.7

$5,510,361

11.8

$3,673,574

Incapacitating Injury

1

$4,138,070

0.8

$3,310,456

0.6

$2,482,842

0.4

$1,655,228

Total

500

$16,089,009

400

$12,871,207

300

$9,653,405

200

$6,435,604

Saving over Baseline      

$3,217,802

 

$6,435,604

 

$9,653,405

Source: Transportation Infrastructure Improvements, Ruston, Louisiana; National Highway Safety Administration; AECOM Consult calculations

Summary. The expected economic impacts from the Ruston project are positive, significant in the context of the Ruston economy and varied. The improvements open up land for commercial development and yield a safer living environment. Moreover, the expected growth is of sufficient magnitude to make a measurable impact in the jobless rate in the community. As noted earlier in the report, a change of 190 jobs was sufficient to move the average jobless rate in 2001 by 1 percentage point. Though it does not directly cause growth to occur, the frontage road investment described in this report opens up opportunities for commercial expansion. Analysis of the market conditions suggests that the private market would respond positively to the infrastructure investment. Growth would be expected in industries that are currently not well represented in Lincoln Parish's existing industrial base. Growth in these industries would support development strategies such as the retiree initiative that leverages Ruston's existing assets such as a safe living environment, access to healthcare, universities with life-long learning programs, and a comparatively low cost of living. Such an approach diversifies the industrial base of the local economy and changes the competitive landscape to create economic opportunities that did not previously exist.


[1] As outlined in FHWA's 1995 report, "Linking the Delta Region with the Nation and the World," the Delta region is defined as 219 counties and parishes located within the seven states of Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee, which are all bound together by the Mississippi river. The Louisiana parishes included in the region are shown in Exhibit 1.

[2] Data on the social characteristics of the migrants are not available.

[3] Louisiana Department of Labor, Labor Market Information System, Dec. 20, 2002.

[4] Data on the social characteristics of the unemployed are not available to determine how many are chronically unemployed or working poor.

[5] Provided April 29, 2003 by Lewis Love, Director of Public Works, City of Ruston.

Updated: 05/04/2012
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