AAA Mid-Atlantic Says Washingtonians Cutting Back On Travel For Memorial Day

The Capital Beltway at River Road

AAA Mid-Atlantic says cuts in federal government spending are forcing Washington-area residents to cut down on their holiday travel plans this Memorial Day weekend, the traditional start to the summer travel season.

About 874,000 area residents will travel 50 miles or more during the four-day holiday travel period, AAA Mid-Atlantic said, a 2 percent drop from last year.

The organization thinks a lot of that has to do with sequestration, as workers take a “wait-and-see attitude” to federal spending cuts.

“The wonder is so many area residents are still traveling despite the fact furlough notices are going out June 5, and the reality of workers coping with the payroll tax hike,” AAA Mid-Atlantic’s John Townsend III said in a release. “More than ever before, area travelers are relying on highways for their holiday getaways. Yet the vast majority of vacationers will see increasing gasoline prices along the way.”

AAA projects Washingtonians will spend an average of $867 on their Memorial Day weekend trips, about 16 percent of which will go to fuel and transportation costs. A third of travelers will hit the beach or Chesapeake Bay and more than half will visit friends or family.

AAA’s forecast predicts air travel will decrease by 10 percent over the period, which starts Thursday and ends Monday. The drop in automobile travel is a lot less pronounced, at just 0.7 percent.

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