Reducing traffic congestion could cost residents money

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BRYAN/COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (KBTX) - The Metropolitan Planning Organization is working on ways to ease congestion, but they say it won't be cheap.

"We have about $3 billion worth of need and we get about $13 million a year," said Dan Rudge, Executive Director of the Bryan/College Station Metropolitan Planning Organization.

They've released a new survey on their website. It's one question that asks how much they're willing to pay for a smooth commute.

"We don't have enough money to fix all of our transportation issues. We're really asking the public to tell us: how much congestion can you deal with and how much are willing to pay for the level of congestion?" said Rudge.

According to the MPO - it would cost each household in Bryan-College Station $1,200 a year to keep roads at the current congestion level at about 16 hours of delays per year.

2007 traffic levels (approx. 12 hour delays) will cost $1,500.

There are also other options for people to consider like to allow a 33% increase in congestion meaning 21 hours of delay/year per commuter and would cost $800/year per household. Or a 67% increase would be 27 hours of delay at $350/year.

The MPO says if people don't want to pay up congestion is predicted to double by 2035.

"We can't do both. We can't not raise money and we can't not stop congestion from happening because we're a growing area and we're going to grow very quickly," said Rudge.

That money would be raised through funding sources like gas taxes, registration fees, and tolls.

Some residents say they don't want to give up anymore money.

"I really don't want to pay tolls on roads and I really don't want to pay any more taxes, so I'll just avoid," said Diana Sanabria.

Luis Villavicencio said that he agrees.

"That's high. That's too much. It's already hard enough to live off what you've got," said Villavicencio.

Click here to see the survey details.

The survey will be open until early September. You can fill it out for yourself here.

A public forum will be held in September to share the results of the survey.

“We really hope that people will participate in the survey. The more responses we get, the stronger we feel about how we put together our metropolitan transportation plan in the coming year.," said Rudge.

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