Driving around Southern California isn't cheap. Gas prices might be at a three month low, but they're still some of the highest in the nation. Plus, there's all that time lost sitting in traffic that we could be using to do something more productive.
Now, there's math to back up how expensive driving around Southern California really is for commuters. According to a new study from a transportation research organization, motorists are spending nearly $3,000 every year on vehicle repairs and extra fuel costs due to crashes on poorly maintained roads and lost time in traffic.
Additionally, the Washington D.C.-based group TRIP said they found at least two-thirds of the major and state-maintained roads in California were rated in poor or mediocre condition. That's costing motorists money - more than $900 dollars a year thanks to repair costs, fuel consumption, and tire wear, according to the TRIP report.
The study also found that at least 176 of the 4,703 bridges longer than 20 feet in length in the Los Angeles area were structurally deficient. The study reported finding significant deterioration to the bridge's decks, supports, or other major components.
Traffic congestion is also up in the Los Angeles area according to TRIP. On average, motorists find themselves delayed up to 82 hours through the year thanks to heavy traffic, which costs them nearly $1,800 in lost time and wasted fuel.
“Adequate funding for the state's transportation system would allow for smoother roads, more efficient mobility, enhanced safety, and economic growth opportunities while saving California's drivers time and money,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP's executive director.
A fight over money to fund California's transportation department is already brewing for this fall's upcoming elections. An initiative to repeal the recent increase on state gasoline and diesel taxes is set to appear on the ballot this November.
The ballot measure would require any new transportation fuel taxes or road usage fees in California be approved by a majority vote of the public. It would also repeal a deal reached between the legislature and Gov. Jerry brown known as SB 1 last year that included both those elements. Taxes and fees raised by SB 1 were expected to generate $52 billion for California's transportation needs for the next ten years.
The bill also set a goal for 98 percent of state highways to be in "good or fair" condition by 2028.
Opponents of the gas tax say the 12 cent increase is far too much for struggling families to afford.
You can see the full TRIP report, "Los Angeles Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the Region's Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility" here.
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