Americans are gearing up for summer's last hurrah as the nation heads into Labor Day weekend.
AAA is estimating about 35.5 million people will travel 50 miles or more from home during the holiday, the highest Labor Day weekend volume since 2008 and a 1 percent increase from last year. Despite some regional gas price spikes, most drivers will be enjoying the lowest Labor Day gasoline prices in over a decade.
And a new survey by the U.S. Travel Association said every American traveling over the long Labor Day weekend will spend an average of $380 on goods and services. But it also noted the nation's infrastructure problems are keeping millions of would-be travelers home, which is costing the overall economy around $1.4 billion in spending.
According to the online survey of 2,500 adults across the nation, around 9 percent of holiday travelers said they'll stay away for fewer days and travel shorter distances this Labor Day weekend due to concerns over road congestion and air travel hassles.
"The old adage holds true: Americans vote with their pocketbooks -- and in this case, they're voting against how Washington has handled our transportation policy," U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow said in a press statement.
"We've seen time and again that travel dollars are among the most economically stimulating, job-creating dollars there are," he added. "The lack of a long-term strategy for our highways and air travel system has created the perception for many that they're better off staying home."
In fact, the U.S. Department of Transportation has been calling on the public to share its pictures of old, crumbling, stressed and overused infrastructure via its #showusyourinfrawear hashtag. It's part of the department's effort to pressure Congress into passing a long-term solution when it comes to properly funding the construction and maintenance of America's roads and highways.
"If you've been following the hashtag for the past 31 days, then you've seen some good snaps of crumbling bridges, damaging pavement, disappearing bike lanes, missing sidewalks, treacherous bus stops, and a host of other symptoms of an America that needs to invest more aggressively in how we move people and freight," the DOT recently wrote in its online FastLane column.
When it comes to dangerous roads, the National Safety Council is warning drivers to stay vigilant behind the wheel during the long weekend. It noted that the national traffic death rate is rising and that this year's Labor Day holiday "falls in the midst of what could be the most deadly year on our roads since 2007."