LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Traffic congestion in Southern California is costing drivers more than just their patience, according to a new study.

KNX 1070’s Megan Goldsby reports data shows that gridlock cost Los Angeles drivers over $23 billion in 2013 and is forecast to top $38 billion by 2030.

The new report from the Centre for Economics and Business Research and Inrix found L.A. accounted for nearly 20 percent of the total $124 billion cost of U.S. congestion.

Traffic isn’t only taking a financial toll on commuters: about 65 hours were wasted by L.A. drivers sitting in traffic last year, according to the study.

Researchers also found efforts to widen lanes on the 405 Freeway have left drivers sitting in traffic about 35 minutes – one minute longer than one year ago.

Last October, the average commute time along the northbound 405 Freeway between the 10 and the 101 Freeways took drivers an average of 34 minutes, according to Inrix.

But those findings are disputed by Metro spokesman Dave Soetoro, who said an uptick in the economy was to blame for any increased slowdown – which he says would be worse without the extra carpool lane.

“Traffic does increase when you have an improving economy, and so it’s a double-edge sword,” he said. “What would traffic look like with five lanes of northbound freeway as opposed to the six lanes that we currently have?”

Researchers say without “significant action” to relieve traffic congestion, that cost could soar to $186 billion by 2030. The cumulative cost over the 17-year period is projected to be $2.8 trillion – the same amount Americans collectively paid in U.S. taxes last year, according to the study.


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