Traffic, Bad Roads Cost Each Orange County Driver $2,826 a Year: Report

Traffic congestion and bad roads and bridges cost each Orange County driver $2,826 annually, according to a report released Wednesday. 

TRIP, a Washington, D.C.-based national transportation organization, unveiled “California Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility,” which found deficient and congested roads and bridges, or those with a lack of desirable safety features, cost motorists in the Golden State $53.6 billion every year.

The per-driver cost is highest in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana urban area, according to TRIP, which calculated higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays.

The TRIP report finds that 83 percent of major roads in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana urban area are in poor or mediocre condition. The group calls for increased investment in transportation improvements at the local, state and federal levels.

A press release announcing the findings quotes Michele Martinez, a Santa Ana city councilwoman and president of the Southern California Association of Governments: “This is a problem that will not fix itself. The only real solution is to make investing in our transportation infrastructure the urgent priority it needs to be. As a region, and as a state, we need to speak with a unified voice to ensure that this message is being heard.”

“The TRIP report confirms what everyone in California knows: the transportation system in this state is in bad shape,” says Will Kempton, executive director of the Transportation California lobby (and former Orange County Transportation Authority CEO), in the same release. “It is past time for our elected officials in Sacramento to step up and deal with this problem.”

The report came out two days after the Orange County Business Journal ran a column by state Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), who complained, “California has chosen costly high-speed rail over road repairs.”

Moorlach, who in 2013 indicated he is exploring a run for governor in 2018, added that “only 20 cents out of every transportation tax dollar that you pay actually hits the pavement.”

He called on Jerry Brown, the governor Moorlach seeks to replace, to delegate some transportation construction to the counties, a move he claims will free up more money for roads.

His “final request” was to have Brown “cease and desist on building high-speed rail.”

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