Reprinted with Permission Transport Topics
Congestion on the nation's highways will cost Americans $276 billion annually by 2020, according to a new report from the BlueGreen Alliance, a coalition of labor and environmental groups.
"Congestion affects commuters as well as companies transporting goods across the country," said the Oct. 24 report, a call to the nation to invest in its infrastructure from roads to schools to water systems.
The Alliance cited the American Society of Civil Engineers 2013 report card that said 42% of American's major urban highways are congested.
"Congestion in 2011 in urban regions caused Americans to spend 5.5 billion extra hours in traffic - costing $121 billion, wasting 2.8 billion gallons of fuel and pumping 25 [metric million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent] into the atmosphere during congestion" the alliance said.
The American Transportation Research Institute, which tracks trends in the trucking industry, has made similar findings.
Traffic congestion in 2013 alone cost the trucking industry more than $9.2 billion in operational expenses, ATRI said in its April congestion report.
"Delay totaled over 141 million hours of lost productivity, which equated to over 51,000 truck drivers sitting idle for a working year," ATRI said.
The BlueGreen Alliance consists of the United Steelworkers, the Sierra Club and 13 other labor and environmental groups.
The alliance report said repairing the nation's infrastructure could create 2.7 million jobs and increase the national Gross Domestic Product by $377 billion.
While the need to repair and replace infrastructure has been mounting in recent years, public investment has fallen "precipitously," to its lowest level since the late 1970s, the report said.
"America has more than 4 million miles of public roads facilitating the movement of people and goods," the report said.
"Maintenance, as well as capital investment for improved conditions and performance is needed to sustain this crucial network."