According to the latest data available from the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, Americans drove 15 billion fewer miles in August 2008 than in August 2007, a 5.6% decline and the largest year-to-year decline ever recorded.
Over the past 10 months, Americans have driven 78 billion fewer miles than they did in the same 10 months the previous year, while transit ridership increased 6.2%, according to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters.
The decline has put pressure on road, bridge and transit project funding, Peters said, adding that future projects could be at risk if the country continues to rely on gas taxes to fund transit construction.
“We pay for transit the same way we pay for road and bridge projects – with federal gas taxes,” Peters said. “Relying on the gas tax is like relying on cardboard to keep the rain out – the longer you use it, the less it works.”