Traffic congestion in Bethesda during rush hour in 2016. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

Every area resident knows that traffic is the scourge of our roads. For decades, our roads have jammed like clockwork every weekday in the same spots at the same time. Change is needed to cure the problem. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan's (R) suggested improvements are great starts.

The Washington region is the sixth most congested metropolitan area in the country and the 15th most congested in the world. Virginia knows it has a problem, so the commonwealth has been rapidly upgrading and constructing highways in its part of the metro area. Maryland, however, has lagged on improving the commutes of its citizens.

The cost to the region's economy is horrifying, with nearly $2.9 billion lost to the local economy because of congestion and traffic, costing each driver on average $1,700 a year in wasted time and fuel. Drivers spend 61 hours a year in peak traffic congestion, a total of 2.5 days a year parked on the highway. That is inexcusable for a region with such importance to the nation.

Improvements are desperately needed on some of Maryland's major roadways. If the roads jam in the same spots for years, is it not time for the state to act? The sun must set on the idea that we are doomed to sit in traffic in Maryland with no hope for change. Maryland must get its act together and open the road to change for the state and the region.

Charles Pawling, West Friendship