TBARTA Focuses On Costs Of Traffic Congestion

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) recently released a report on how failure to fund infrastructure improvements in the United States negatively affects the nation's economy and family budgets.

The ASCE's "Failure to Act: The Economic Impact of Current Investment Trends in Surface Transportation Infrastructure" found that  deteriorating infrastructures that go unfixed would cause household incomes to fall by more than $7,000 by 2020 while costing Americans 876,000 jobs. Ultimately affecting the Tampa Bay region, the Tampa Bay Regional Transportation Authority (TBARTA) stresses the importance of residents getting involved, staying informed and sharing opinions about setting priorities for fixing roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

"Transportation is one of the foundations for not only our quality of life, but also the vitality of our local economy," says TBARTA Executive Director Bob Clifford. "Investing in transportation creates jobs and makes the region a more attractive place to live and work. For every dollar invested in transportation, nearly $6 is generated into the economy, of which nearly $5 stays in our region."

While Tampa Bay residents drive extra miles to avoid congested and deteriorating roads, according to Clifford, traffic congestion is expected to more than double within the next 25 years, only further increasing commute times and travel costs. Most of this can be attributed to the Tampa Bay region's growing population, which more than doubled over the past 30 years. When it comes to congestion due to population, Clifford recommends alternative options to driving alone such as carpooling, the use of public transit and even teleworking to help commuters save money.

"Most people drive alone in their cars and spend nearly $8,000 per year on the operation and maintenance of their vehicles," says Clifford.

TBARTA encourages the use of other commute options, working with partners such as the Florida Department of Transportation and various transit agencies on low-cost, short-term solutions such as high-occupancy toll lanes, bus rapid transit and shoulder bus programs. According to Clifford, if residents spend at least two days a week implementing an alternative option, they can save, on average, $1,500 per year.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Bob Clifford, TBARTA

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