Gridlock Nation -- Feb. 13, 2005

A weekly feature on This Week.


To kick off our weeklong ABC News series, Gridlock Nation, we spoke to Federal Highway Administrator Mary Peters.

Mary Peters: "Traffic is costing the United States millions and millions, billions of dollars actually, every year. Because of congestion, people are delayed in traffic. There is a loss of productivity and the loss of ability to get goods to where they need to be on time. Traffic is very much a local problem, but there are issues related to traffic that we can absolutely deal with on a national basis. Some of the very worst traffic areas in the United States are in Southern California, in the Los Angeles area, in Houston, New York, Boston, the greater Washington D.C. area, Atlanta and some areas of Florida. They are suffering, probably, the most congestion. Many of those areas are high-growth areas. What I would suggest to them is to use a variety of tools to combat congestion. Use technology where it is appropriate to do that so you can manage the system better. Adding new lanes and new bridges where we just have more traffic than the system can handle today will be an important part of the solution. But a better part of the solution is to manage the traffic a lot better. One of the best tools for managing traffic is tolling or pricing lanes. Congestion is a problem that is spreading -- not just from our larger urbanized areas, but throughout America. … We absolutely must do something about it."


The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

Leno: For the past week President Bush has been traveling the country talking to regular people about Social Security reform. Now, here's a women in Omaha, Neb., talking to the president about her plight. She's a single mom and she holds down three jobs. I don't think President Bush understands -- he's a nice man -- but I don't think he understands the gravity of the situation.

Women [on tape]: I work three jobs and I feel like I contribute.

Bush [on tape]: You work three jobs?

Women: Three jobs.

Bush: Uniquely American isn't it. I mean three jobs? Fantastic.

Leno: You see? Who says President Bush doesn't create jobs. This women has three of them right there. And I bet by this time next year she's working a fourth job.

The Late Show with David Letterman

Letterman: Condoleezza Rice has warned Iran to stop its nuclear program. They say stop the nuclear program or face the next step. And the next step being a fabrication of evidence. And then we march right in.