Travelers hitting the road and skies this Fourth of July holiday weekend are expected to spend big, according to economists at the U.S. Travel Association. Each American traveling 50 miles or more is projected to spend $378, up 1% from 2014.
With major media outlets citing data from AAA that 41.9 million Americans will be making a long-distance journey, the highest since 2007, U.S. Travel estimates these travelers will spend $15.8 billion during their trips this holiday, up 1.7% from 2014.
U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow says that while the news is great for the economy, the latest travel data ought to set off alarm bells for elected officials in Washington to make sure America’s travel infrastructure keeps up with the pace of demand.
He pointed to U.S. Travel research showing the country is nearing the point where the typical day on the roads will be like Labor Day, and the average trip through the airport will be like flying on Thanksgiving.
“Barbecues, picnics and road trips are staples of the American summer vacation, but it seems being stuck in traffic jams and delayed on the tarmac are becoming equally a part of the tradition. Every year, we see increased levels of traffic on the roads and in the skies, and while this is great for the economy, at what point will families say it just isn’t worth it anymore?
“Our dilapidated infrastructure is approaching a critical mass where the economy won’t see these holiday bumps in activity anymore, and let me put it in sophisticated policymaking terms for you: that’d be bad.”
Dow urged lawmakers to use the looming Highway Trust Fund extension and Federal Aviation authorization as opportunities to take a long-term and comprehensive approach to addressing these infrastructure issues.