Half Of Cities Claim Traffic Worsened Over Past Year
Half of American cities report that traffic congestion worsened over the past year, according to a recent, nationally representative survey of 345 cities by the National League of Cities (NLC).
Among conditions that are worsening in the nation’s cities and towns, traffic congestion is among the top three, after “impact of unfunded mandates” and “cost of health care.”
Fifty percent of the city officials surveyed said traffic congestion had worsened, and 35 percent said there was “no change.” Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) said traffic congestion is a problem in their communities.
Charles Lyons, selectman from Arlington, Mass., and president of NLC, said traffic jams and road congestion cost the nation tens of billions of dollars annually in lost productivity, wasted fuel, car accidents, air pollution, and health problems.
City officials surveyed by the National League of Cities also put traffic congestion at the top of a list of conditions that create difficult decisions about development and land use in their communities (cited by 41 percent of respondents). But 74 percent of the surveyed officials said working with other municipalities is a positive way to address the problem.
Lyons urged Congress to include in a six-year transportation reauthorization bill practical tools and direct funding to metropolitan regions to reduce traffic congestion. He also urged Congress to fund the bill at no less than $318 billion, the level recommended in the Senate version of the bill. House-Senate conferees will consider funding levels in the weeks ahead.
“The reauthorization bill is an essential, bread-and-butter investment in our economic infrastructure and a long-overdue step to help a job-hungry nation get moving again,” Lyons said.
He said the bill would improve roads and bridges that are in disrepair. “In my hometown, a road used by Paul Revere on his way to Lexington and Concord, is in desperate need of repair and is awaiting funding.”
The congestion findings are taken from the 2004 “State of America’s Cities Opinion Cities Survey,” which will be published in May by the National League of Cities.
Working to strengthen America through strong cities and towns, the National League of Cities is the oldest and largest national organization for American cities.
NLC serves as a resource and advocate for 18,000 cities, towns and villages, which collectively serve 225 million people.