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Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

Memorial Day weekend is one of the busiest travel weekends, but nearly 47.5 million Americans will avoid road trips because of road congestion — costing the U.S. close to $30 billion and 248,000 jobs according to a survey by the U.S. Travel Association.

Why it matters: Most of the drivers surveyed said they would be willing to pay more to avoid road congestion, a public response that could prompt Congress to move faster on infrastructure development.

Key findings:

  • For every added hour of road congestion, there is an 18% drop in the number of Americans interested in traveling.
  • Two-thirds of travelers said they'd rather pay a few dollars each way of the trip than spend an added 1.5 to 2 hours in traffic.
  • Most drivers said an added gas tax would not deter them from traveling or negatively impact the experience.

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that restrictions previously imposed on New York places of worship by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) during the coronavirus pandemic violated the First Amendment.

Why it matters: The decision in a 5-4 vote heralds the first significant action by the new President Trump-appointed conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who cast the deciding vote in favor of the Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish synagogues.

USAID chief tests positive for coronavirus

An Air Force cargo jet delivers USAID supplies to Russia earlier this year. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

The acting administrator of the United States Agency for International Development informed senior staff Wednesday he has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Barsa, who staffers say rarely wears a mask in their office, is the latest in a series of senior administration officials to contract the virus. His positive diagnosis comes amid broader turmoil at the agency following the election.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
11 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.

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