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Report: Freight haulers say congestion results in lost jobs

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Date:  Friday, June 15, 2012

Contact: Alice Fiman, WSDOT Communications, 360-705-7080

OLYMPIA – Increased congestion on Washington’s highways will result in thousands of lost jobs in freight-dependent businesses and more than a $3 billion hit to Washington’s economy, a new report concludes.

A 20 percent increase in congestion “translates into net losses of more than 27,500 jobs and $3.3 billion (in 2011 dollars) in economic output,” says the report conducted by the Washington State Department of Transportation and Washington State University.

“There is no question increased congestion has a negative impact on our state’s freight-dependent businesses,” said Paula Hammond, Washington’s transportation secretary. “Our transportation investment strategies must put a priority on economic corridors – those routes to and from our ports, farms and factories.”

Hammond said the study reinforces the need for transportation-funding options to implement the needs identified by the Connecting Washington Task Force. The task force recommended $21 billion in transportation investments over the next 10 years to maintain and preserve the existing system of highways, ferries and rail, and to invest in key economic corridors, among other priorities.

The new report, entitled The Impact of Truck Congestion on Washington State’s Economy, asked freight-dependent businesses what a 20 percent increase in congestion would do to their bottom line. Close to 60 percent say they would pass increased congestion-related costs onto consumers, 19 percent would absorb the costs, and 12 percent would close or move out of Washington.

Freight haulers note congestion-related costs such as fuel and labor, new equipment and more time products spend on the road, not on the shelves, lead to higher prices for consumers.

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