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CBS4 Denver

The average American family spends about 20 percent of its income on transportation and one organization used Friday to get out its message of improving public transportation.

The people at the Colorado Public Interest Research Group (CoPIRG) says Transportation Freedom Day is the day the average metro area household has earned enough to pay for costs of getting around for the year.

That figure includes everything from gas, car repairs, parking and vehicle depreciation; or for those who take the bus or light rail, the cost of fares and passes.

The numbers depend on where a person lives. CoPIRG says in Denver the typical household spends nearly $9,000 in transportation costs, or 65 days worth of salary. The figures go up in areas that don't have good access to buses or light rail.

In a place like Fort Lupton the average family works for 85 days to pay for their annual transportation costs.

"We need local officials, we need state officials, we need federal officials to continue to invest in livable communities, and walkable and bikeable communities, to try to pass policies that encourage communities to grow in a way that provide walking and biking areas," said Danny Katz, CoPIRG Director. "We also need to invest in public transportation."

CoPIRG says Americans spend more each year on transportation than they do on food, clothing, income taxes, and even health care.

The group says if a family switches from driving to public transportation they can save $9,500 a year.

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