WASHINGTON — Traffic congestion across the United States increased nearly 2% in 2007 over 2006, according to a report released yesterday by INRIX, a private company that analyzes national traffic patterns.

The report found that Los Angeles topped the most-congested list, followed by New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Dallas-Fort Worth, San Francisco, Houston, Boston, Seattle, and Atlanta.

"Traffic congestion has worsened significantly across all major urban areas commutes for the average American are two and a half times longer than they were in 2006," according to the report.

INRIX compiled traffic statistics from more than 30,000 road segments on nearly 50,000 miles of primary roadways for the report's findings.

INRIX's findings follow numerous other reports released over the past few months that warn of increasing congestion and crumbling transportation infrastructure. Lawmakers and transportation lobby groups have been pushing for federal intervention to fill expected funding hole in the highway trust fund, which is expected to be about $3.7 billion as of Sept. 30, the start of fiscal 2009..

Currently, federal highway and transit construction funds come from federal gas tax revenues, which are put into the highway trust fund and distributed to states annually.

According to an Urban Land Institute report released in late April, vehicle miles traveled in the U.S. have increased 95% since 1980, but road capacity has increased only 3%. At the same time, traffic congestion has increased dramatically. Washington, D.C., for example, experienced an increase in annual delays from 10 hours to 60 hours between 1982 and 2005.

Another report, released by the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission in January said that $170 billion annually will be needed just for upkeep of the nation's transportation infrastructure. Further, the 2007 Urban Mobility Report, released by the Texas Transportation Institute last September, concluded that congestion in 2005 caused a total of 4.2 billion hours of delay, creating a $78 billion annual drain on the economy, and resulted in an additional 2.9 billion gallons of wasted fuel.

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