As lawmakers in Richmond continue to wrangle over Gov. Bob McDonnell's $3 billion transportation plan, Northern Virginia again pulled down some of the worst marks in a national traffic analysis.
The Texas A&M Transportation Institute‘s 2012 Urban Mobility Report ranked the area as the country’s worst in:
- Delay per auto commuter (67 hours per year).
- The increase in average annual delay, 1982-2012 (49 hours).
- Congestion cost per auto commuter ($1,398 per year).
- Fuel wasted per auto commuter (32 gallons per year).
- Least reliable travel freeway times.
- Carbon dioxide emitted per auto commuter (631 pounds were year).
The Beltway region, which includes the District of Columbia and portions of Maryland, ranked second in delays per non-peak traveler (17 hours per year); third on the commuter stress index; and fourth in total travel delays (179 million hours per year) and total congestion cost ($3.7 billion per year).
McDonnell said the Old Dominion’s traffic problems are not limited to Northern Virginia.
He noted that congestion around Virginia Beach ranked 20th worst in the country. Drivers there encountered an average of 43 hours of delay per year, costing $877 per driver and wasting 19 gallons of gas.
Richmond rated 60th, with motorists facing 29 hours of delay per year, costing $581 per driver and wasting 12 gallons of gas.
Amid the poor rankings, Virginia legislators remain gridlocked on what to do about congested roads.
McDonnell's proposal to raise the sales tax and increase fees to fund more projects passed the House of Delegates but was rejected -- along with every other transportation proposal -- in the Senate.
The conservative Americans for Tax Reform has assailed the governor's plan, calling it a $2.4 billion tax increase on Virginians.
Bob Chase, president of the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance, told Watchdog.org that state lawmakers will likely arrive at some sort of compromise near the end of the session, which concludes Feb. 23.