Traffic jams are costing $65 billion per year

Texas Transportation Institute

Federal Highway Administration

The motor fuel wasted due to traffic congestion is costing American motorists and shippers $2.3 billion a year. Lost productivity, TTI reports, adds another $63 billion annually to the gridlock tax.

According to Pete Ruane, president of American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), co-sponsor of the study, "The root cause of traffic congestion in America is the failure of government at all levels to make the transportation capital investments necessary to keep pace with the mobility demands of an ever growing U.S. population and economy. This is no mystery. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, since 1982 U.S. population and economic growth has driven a 74% increase in vehicle miles traveled. Over the same period, road lane mileage has only increased 6%. Serious public investment in new public transit, rail, airport and waterway capacity has similarly been neglected."

The problem, according to the TTI report, can be stated simply: "Urban areas are not adding enough capacity, improving operations or managing demand well enough to keep congestion from growing larger. Over the most recent three years, the contribution of operations improvements has grown from 260 to 340 million hours of congestion relief, but delay has increased by 300 million hours over the same period. Congestion occurs during longer portions of the day and delays more travelers and goods than ever before. And if the current fuel prices are used, the congestion 'invoice' climbs another $1.7 billion, which would bring the total cost to about $65 billion."

"It's time for America to start building again to reduce the nation's dependence on foreign energy supplies," says Ruane.

Most Time Spent Going Nowhere

Annual DelayUrban Area(hours)

Los Angeles/Long Beach/Santa Ana ............93
San Francisco/Oakland..................................72
Washington, D.C. ..........................................69
Atlanta ..........................................................67
Houston..........................................................63

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