Thursday, November 20, 2008

Less driving means less business for risky toll roads

In keeping with recent criticisms of the risky financing schemes based on out-dated travel statistics that are being pushed by TxDOT, CAMPO, and CTRMA, Patrick Driscoll of the San Antonio Express News, discusses the latest figures that show that traffic counts are falling in both rural and urban areas.

Plunging gas prices aren't getting Americans back in their cars, according to AAA and the latest federal data.

Despite gas prices hovering near $2 a gallon this Thanksgiving season, more than $1 less than a year ago, 600,000 fewer people will travel 50 miles or more from home compared to last year, AAA says.

The 1.4 percent drop is the fourth decline in a row for a holiday this year, the first for a Thanksgiving since 2002, when the 2001 terrorists attacks were still fresh memories.

Lower gas prices are not causing drivers to return to their old driving ways. Apparently, drivers have gotten used to more frugal driving habits and are continuing to save money on gas, rather than upping their driving.

Though gas prices, after peaking above $4 a gallon in July, slid more than 35 cents over two months, wary Americans kept avoiding the roads in record numbers. August saw the largest monthly decline in driving ever, and September marked the 11th drop in a row.

U.S. motorists drove 10.7 billion fewer miles in September compared to last year, down 4.4 percent. Texans drove 4.3 percent less.

Worth pointing out, federal officials say, is that travel dived 8 percent on interstates in rural areas. Still, on urban interstates, mileage dipped 3.9 percent.

See his post at

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