Can it be true that certain Virginia and Maryland have commuting costs that are even higher than New York City, San Francisco and other megalopolises? That’s the claim being made by Bloomberg News and, no, it’s not based on the cost of using Virginia’s infamous toll roads, it’s based on the time-is-money theory.
The way Bloomberg figures it, commuters from Charles County, Maryland, and Fauquier County, Virginia, have the highest commuting costs in the country, based on how long it takes them to get to work, presumably in D.C.
It takes 388 hours per year to commute from Charles County and 352 from Fauquier, based on Census Department data analyzed by Bloomberg. That works out to the equivalent of $14,812 for Charles County commuters and $13,812 for those in Fauquier. Stafford County, Va., comes in third at 330 hours, or $12,400.
Of course, time is not really money and other factors go into decisions about where to live. Many of those with the longest commutes live in big houses on large lots that they would otherwise be unable to afford, so perhaps they feel that comfort is money, in which case they may be coming out ahead.
Bloomberg offers another theory, speculating that the District’s height restrictions have resulted in a lack of high-rise living space for the hordes who jam the roads morning, noon and night. Could be, although the spate of high rises now being built in Tysons, Arlington and the Reston-Dulles area may change that equation over the next few decades.
Read more about the Bloomberg report here.