Santa Clarita ranked one of most expensive commutes in nation

Commuters wait in early-morning traffic on Interstate 5. Signal File Photo
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As more and more Santa Clarita Valley residents begin going back to work, a study found Santa Clarita ranked No. 9 on a list of the cities with the most expensive commutes in the nation.

The average American worker drives 27 minutes to work each day, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. 

Using that data, along with the median salary in each city, Zippa took a look at more than 200 cities with populations over 100,000 to create its top-10 list.

While Santa Clarita ranked No. 9, it came in second only to Palmdale in commute time, which was ranked No. 1 on the list, with a commute time of 86 minutes. In fact, six of the top-10 cities on the nationwide list are in California.

Zippa found that the average commute time in Santa Clarita is 77 minutes. That’s nearly 6.5 hours per week. 

Calculating fuel costs with wear and tear using the IRS standard mileage rate, Santa Clarita’s daily costs average $21.89. That adds up to more than $100 per workweek and nearly $5,700 a year.

With its median hourly wage $20, according to ACS data, the higher wages in Santa Clarita make it somewhat more affordable than the previous eight cities on the list, yet it still makes a dent, as workers in the SCV typically spend more than an hour a day, and more than an hour’s pay, just getting to work.

However, new developments, such as The Center at Needham Ranch, IAC Commerce Center and other office spaces, are nearing completion and set to bring more big-name companies to the SCV.

Recently, it was announced that Amazon would be opening not one but two distribution centers in the SCV, a deal sure to bring hundreds of jobs to the area.

“As we bring more development here, bring new companies up here, that really helps us to take some of those trips off of the freeway and keep more people here, so that’s pretty exciting,” said Craig Peters, executive vice president of CBRE, who helped represent the developers of The Center at Needham Ranch.

Holly Schroeder, president and CEO of the SCV Economic Development Corp. agreed, adding, “The purpose of these new developments, the purpose of the EDC, the purpose of the Live Work SCV (job board) sites are to make more opportunities available to Santa Clarita Valley residents locally, so that they have those options. That’s why we’re doing what we’re doing.”

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