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Area commuters have it worse than anyone else in America, says the According to Texas A&M Transportation Institute
Traffic slows near the Spotsylvania interchange on I-95. D.C.-area commuters get creative to get to their jobs.
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Date published: 2/8/2013
THE FREE LANCE-STAR
It's official. If you commute to the Washington, D.C. area, you're No. 1.
But in this case, being No. 1 is not a good thing. It simply means you have the worst commute in America.
According to Texas A&M Transportation Institute's recent release of its annual Urban Mobility Report, the D.C. area beat out such congestion hotbeds as New York City, Los Angeles and Boston.
Local commuter Patrick Howe isn't surprised.
"A buddy of mine warned me about it," said Howe after he got off a Martz bus at the U.S. 17 commuter lot in Stafford County on Tuesday evening.
Howe moved to the area from Florida about six months ago for a government contracting job in Washington. Riding the bus, he said, makes the commute bearable, except at the Dumfries choke point where Interstate 95's general lanes and HOV lanes merge, leading to massive daily backups.
"We can't have it all," he said.
Heidi Cancelleri agrees with that sentiment, and this comes from someone who commutes from Doswell to D.C., roughly 2 hours each way.
"It stretches you," said Cancelleri, who drives to the Fredericksburg area and then slugs to Washington, where she is a video producer for God TV.
"It's worth it, because I get to work my dream job," said Cancelleri, who softens the commuting blow by staying in D.C. with friends a couple of days a week.
Slugging and the HOV lanes make the trips bearable for Cancelleri, who has commuted for eight years.
"If it weren't for the HOV, it would be impossible," she said.
According to the transportation institute's report, which covers 2011, the average commuter in the Washington area wastes about 67 hours a year stuck in traffic, the worst in the nation.
The D.C. area has topped this category the past four years, and has been in the top three every year since 1991.
Area commuters also waste the most fuel and spend the most because of congestion, according to the report. And the I-95 congestion sends more excess carbon dioxide into the air than any other major metropolitan area.
Overall, the report states that Americans lose 5.5 billion hours a year and waste an average of $818 each annually because of congestion.