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Better Economy, More Traffic - 9/7/15

There is a pretty good chance that you will be stuck in traffic at some point today.  Part of that is due to the nature of today’s holiday, but an improving economy plays a part, too.  America’s roads are more clogged than ever thanks to more jobs and cheaper gasoline. 

According to a report from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute and INRIX, which analyzes traffic data, commuters in Washington, D.C. suffer the most, losing an average of eighty two hours a year to rush hour slowdowns.  As reported in the Associated Press, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York come next on the list of urban areas sustaining the lengthiest delays.  Overall, U.S. motorists are stuck in traffic roughly five percent more than they were in two thousand and seven, which represented the pre-recession peak. 

Four out of five major cities have now surpassed their two thousand and seven congestion.  Rounding out the list of the world ten commuting cities are San Jose, Boston, Seattle, Chicago, Houston and Riverside, California.  It doesn’t help that Congress has kept federal transportation programs teetering on the edge of insolvency for nearly eight years.  The federal gas tax simply doesn’t generate enough revenues today to handle the growth in traffic.

Anirban Basu, Chariman Chief Executive Officer of Sage Policy Group (SPG), is one of the Mid-Atlantic region's leading economic consultants. Prior to founding SPG he was Chairman and CEO of Optimal Solutions Group, a company he co-founded and which continues to operate. Anirban has also served as Director of Applied Economics and Senior Economist for RESI, where he used his extensive knowledge of the Mid-Atlantic region to support numerous clients in their strategic decision-making processes. Clients have included the Maryland Department of Transportation, St. Paul Companies, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Players Committee and the Martin O'Malley mayoral campaign.