New report: Seattle has nation’s 7th worst congestion. Another reason to celebrate this year’s transportation package.

Here’s another reason to be thankful the Legislature passed a comprehensive transportation package this year. The Seattle Times reports,

U.S. roads are more clogged than ever, a new study has found, and Seattle ranks No. 7 on a list of cities with the most traffic congestion.

Overall, American motorists are stuck in traffic about 5 percent more than they were in 2007, the pre-recession peak, says the report from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute and INRIX, a Kirkland-based firm that analyzes traffic data.

In part, it’s the result of recovery.

Cities with fast-growing economies and the most job growth are the most plagued by traffic. Other factors: Urban populations are increasing and lower fuel prices are making driving less expensive, so more people are taking to city roads.

The Washington Post reports it’s not just a big city affliction, however.

..congestion is no longer a distinctly urban phenomenon. The report said that drivers in midsize cities were delayed in traffic only slightly less than the 42-hour national average, and small-city backups cost drivers in those areas 30 hours a year.

On cue, this survey from Vancouver, Wash., as reported in the Columbian.

Vancouver residents say the city needs better transportation infrastructure…

The survey respondents ranked transportation as their top priority for Vancouver: light rail, a new Interstate 5 bridge and street maintenance.

The Associated Press also looks at the state of the nation’s transportation system, finding that Washington was not alone in taking action.

Frustrated by Washington’s [that’s the other Washington] inaction, nearly a third of states have approved measures this year that could collectively raise billions of dollars for transportation through higher fuel taxes, vehicle fees and bonds. But that’s just a down payment on decades of delayed maintenance, repairs and replacements.

Our “Connect” priority identifies the importance of an integrated, well-maintained transportation system to our state’s economic vitality. Passage of the transportation package this year was a key step.