The Senate has finally acted to extend the authorization for federal spending on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other vital transportation programs, including roads, bridges, and mass transit projects all over the United States. The bill extends the FAA’s operating authority through January. Highway and transit programs, and the federal gasoline tax that pays for most of them, were all due to expire on Oct. 1, but now the deadline has been extended through March of 2012.
Expiration of the federal gas tax would deal a crippling blow to what is left of Maryland’s transportation program, but the threat is not removed, only deferred. A long-term solution to transportation funding at the state and federal levels remains one of our top priorities, especially in light of our troubled economy. Continued pressure needs to be directed to our elected officials to support increased investment in transportation capital projects that put people back to work and add lasting economic value to communities. This is key to getting us out of the current recession.
Decades of under-investment, fiscal neglect and local opposition to suburban Maryland’s transportation priorities have finally gotten us somewhere – number one on the list of most congested metropolitan areas in the US – according to a recent study cited by the Washington Post. The news comes as no surprise.
The latest Texas Transportation Institute Urban Mobility Report ranks the Washington, D.C., region number 1 (tied with Chicago) in peak hour delays, with 70 hours lost per commuter, per year, on average, in our region.
What could you do with an extra 70 hours each year? This is not to mention the tons of extra carbon emissions and over $3,000 wasted per household on extra fuel and wear-and-tear on our vehicles caused by severe congestion.
The TTI survey ranks our region-
• #1 in fuel wasted per peak auto commuter
• #2 in commuter stress
• #2 in cost of delay per peak hour auto commuter ($1,555/year)
To read the entire report, click here.
The survey’s authors hit the nail on the head:
“In the end there’s a need for more capacity.”
–Tim Lomax, Author
Texas Transportation Institute
2010 Urban Mobility Report