LANSING — Detroit is continuing to make national headlines, only this time as the country’s second worst city for commuters as rated by Forbes.com.
While Detroit is steadily losing population, the length of commute time continues to rise. It is estimated by Forbes that the average Detroit commuter is delayed 54 hours a year. And only 11 percent of the Detroit commuting population walks, carpools or uses public transit – the worst in any big city in America.
“Traffic and congestion are only going to get worse as our policymakers continue to under-fund our roads and infrastructure,” said Mike Nystrom, vice president of government and public relations for the Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association and co-chair of the Michigan Transportation Team. “This is just one more black eye for Detroit and the state of Michigan. By ignoring basic road maintenance and repairs, we are likely to be number one in Forbes next year.”
Evidence by the Michigan Asset Management Council says road repair costs are exploding by as much as $3 billion a year because of lack of even basic road maintenance and repairs – only exacerbating congestion and commute times.
Michigan has an annual funding shortfall of $700 million for its state transportation system and a shortfall of more than $2 billion for local roads. This funding pothole is due to massive cuts to the state’s road and bridge program because of declining gas tax revenues. This year alone the state’s road and bridge program dropped by $300 million, or 18 percent.
Forbes.com looked at the 75 largest metro areas in the U.S. and evaluated them based on traffic delays, travel times and how efficiently commuters use existing infrastructure, based on data from the Texas Transportation Institute and the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2006 American Community Survey. The worst commutes were those that ate up the most hours and were the least reliable. The best commutes were in cities with short, dependable treks to the office, where fellow commuters efficiently use transit options to reduce congestion.
MITA represents a broad spectrum of highway construction companies and suppliers that help build a better Michigan infrastructure from the bottom up. They have been a leading voice for securing adequate transportation funding at the federal and state levels. For more information, visit www.drivemi.org.