According to a study by Inrix, the worst traffic in the country is in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana region. Here, drivers spend 81 hours stuck in our internationally famous gridlock.
Heavy traffic is frustrating, but it isn’t just slowing our population; it’s slowing our economy. Continuing to go without investing in a modern, efficient transportation system makes it difficult to conduct business. Continued reliance on cars and freeways limits people’s opportunities due to the commute. For example, a person might not take a job or frequent businesses in certain areas because they aren’t easily accessible.
Maybe more impactful is how gridlock slows our port economy. The many cars on the road restrict other vehicles. More than one-fourth of all containers that enter the U.S. come through our port system, the largest in the nation. They are loaded on to trucks that hit the freeways. Moving this cargo, which is valued at $180 billion, becomes lost in a slow crawl. Furniture, electronics and other vital consumer goods sit there in bumper-to-bumper traffic just like the rest of us.
If alternative ways were available to get commuters from here to there, it would free up vehicles from the major roadways. It would then allow freeways to be used more efficiently move goods to and from the ports.
On the November ballot, Measure M-the Los Angeles County Traffic Improvement Plan is a proposed sales tax designed to reduce traffic. Attention can be given to improvements on mass transit projects, building bike paths and sidewalks. Additional funds will go toward repaving local streets, fixing potholes and providing earthquake retrofitting for overpasses and bridges.
If Measure M is passed by 66 percent of voters, it will modernize L.A. County’s aging transportation system, transform the area’s infrastructure, create jobs and improve our economy.