Milken's Traffic Take: California Congestion Could Cost $42 Billion

traffic milken body.jpg

TTLA has previously cited this traffic congestion study produced by RAND (plus this and this related follow-ups).

Today we point toward another such report, likewise issued last autumn, by the Milken Institute, another of the region's most prominent tanks.

"California's HIghway Infrastructure: Traffic's Looming Costs" is available here for online reading and print version purchase.

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Written by Milken staffers Kevin Klowden, Perry Wong and Soojung Kim, the report's conclusion states how high a cost -- nearly a grand apiece -- California's congestion dinged urbanites in one recent year alone.

Traffic also forecasts just how high the state's congestion-related costs could rise during the coming decades, unless useful steps are taken.

From the report, with emphasis in bold added by TTLA:

"...travelers in California's urban areas endured congestion costs of $19.4 billion ($974 per traveler) in 2006. Meanwhile, state government spent only $4.2 billion for capital outlays and road maintenance throughout the entire state in that same year. That expenditure corresponds to only a fraction of congestion costs, implying chronic transportation infrastructure deficiencies as well as a severe shortfall in long-term investment.

"California's traffic congestion is not only a serious issue today, but it has the potential to reach near-crisis levels in the not-too-distant future. Trends in population growth, commerce, and trade all point to increasing volume on our highways as our economy continues to develop. From 2006 to 2030, the state's population is projected to grow 27.4 percent, from 36.5 to 46.4 million people, while the annual number of vehicle miles traveled is likely to grow 67.3 percent, from 330 billion to 553 billion. Due to this enormous rise in travel demand, we believe the state will have to bear congestion costs of $42.4 billion in the year 2030 alone (as measured in 2006 dollars) if current highway capacity stays the same."

The figures above, by the way, are conservative estimates. As the authors note, their figures don't include loss of worker productivity costs nor environmental impact cost.

Source: "California's Highway Infrastructure: Traffic's Looming Costs."

Photo Credit: The image accompanying this post was taken by Flickr user DRB62. It was used under Creative Commons license.

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