Travel Industry Reminds Congress to Prioritize Infrastructure In Order to Meet Growing Demand
WASHINGTON (December 17, 2015)—This year’s record number of travelers hitting the road, rail or skies this holiday season will spend more than last year, according to economists at the U.S. Travel Association. AAA projects that the number of year-end holiday travelers this year will top 100 million for the first time, representing a 1.4 increase over last 2014 and the seventh consecutive year of year-end holiday travel growth.
In total, holiday travelers are expected to spend $28.7 billion, a slight but steady increase from 2014. U.S. Travel researchers and AAA attribute this growth to low gas prices, modest rises in income and continued improvement in the labor market.
Heeding calls to improve America’s infrastructure in response to rising numbers of travelers year-round, Congress in early December passed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act. To travel industry leaders frustrated with aging and overwhelmed highway systems, this promised funding came not a moment too soon—and renewed hope that the same attention will be paid to the rest of the nation’s transit operations, in light of consistently rising travel demand within the U.S.
“Earlier this month, we applauded the passage of our country’s first long-term transportation package in a decade,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “This important legislation acknowledged the necessity of a strong national infrastructure and the importance of travel to America’s continued economic recovery and growth, and we are particularly grateful that this year saw it signed into law.
“Year-end holiday travel and spending is great news for our industry and the U.S. economy, not to mention our families and friends across the country. However, these numbers should remind our elected officials in Washington to keep our roads, railroads and airports a priority, so that travelers can spend their time with their loved ones this holiday season instead of sitting stuck in traffic or on the tarmac.”
“Previous research has shown that our roads and skies simply cannot keep up with the demand in travel. Labor Day traffic on the roads and Thanksgiving congestion in airports could soon become our new normal, and this simply will not do. Americans are not going to stop traveling any time soon, and they need a competitive national transportation system that keeps up with them. We urge Congress to take note of this, and continue to advance policies that keep travelers moving—and our nation’s economy along with them,” Dow said.