When infrastructure investments result in economic benefits to their communities, it's not magic. It's a formula proven time and again that improved mobility reduces the costs of road congestion and creates more opportunities for residents and businesses. We know from last week's blog post that South Florida is working to bring those very benefits to Broward County very soon.
And with Friday's opening of the Metro ExpressLanes on the I-10 San Bernardino Freeway in Los Angeles, California has already done it.
President Obama said in his State of the Union address last week that we should both "Fix it First" and make sure our infrastructure attracts and supports businesses and families that rely on them. These lanes will do exactly that.
Congestion isn’t just an inconvenience. It wastes money, stifles economic growth, and harms the environment. In fact, in 2011 Americans wasted $121 billion in time and fuel being stuck in traffic. It’s an absolute drain on our economy, and projects like the I-10 ExpressLanes offer Angelinos a terrific way out.
As Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez said at Friday's celebration in Los Angeles, "These express lanes created jobs and brought an innovative solution to a very congested area of Los Angeles. When our highways work better, we have a better chance of attracting businesses and jobs."
The Obama Administration believes that the key is to give people choices–better transit options, more buses and bus stops, incentives for carpooling and van pooling.
In this case, the HOT lanes that FHWA supported offer a choice of free or tolled lanes to motorists. As more drivers choose the option of avoiding congestion by choosing a tolled lane, it actually reduces congestion on the free lanes at the same time.
We think it's a very interesting solution, and across the country state departments of transportation seem to agree as the move to add HOT lanes continues.
At DOT, we want to help people get to work, go to the doctor, and take their kids to school. We want to help businesses attract customers, hire employees, and ship products.
And that means making sure we're always looking for safer, faster, and smarter ways to help people and goods get where they need to go.
Whether it's express lanes or some other innovative solution, DOT is keeping America moving forward.