Commuters sit in rush hour traffic on the Don Valley Parkway in Toronto. A report released Monday from the Toronto Board of Trade estimates that the city's congestion problems cost Canadians over $5billion. ((Kevin Frayer/Canadian Press))

Long commutes and gnarled traffic in the Greater Toronto Area are costing Canada over $5 billion a year, and that's threatening the city's long-term viability, according to the Toronto Board of Trade.

The second annual report on the city's prosperity, released Monday, includes a global survey of transit and congestion in 19 major cities. Toronto came last in transit.

According to the report, Toronto commuters spend an average of least 80 minutes a day, roundtrip, which is longer than commuters spend in London, New York and Los Angeles.

"You can tinker with congestion. You can tweak it. You can nick away at the edges, but you will never get rid of it. It fills itself," said Ryerson Univerisity urban planning professor Jim Mars.

Also, the report found that 70 per cent of Torontonians drive to work. The city came in last compared to other major cities such as New York where 60 per cent drive to work, 40 per cent in London, and 25 per cent in Paris.

The report suggests the reasons for Toronto's traffic issues are urban sprawl and decades of under-investment in public transit. Mars said the province's decision to delay $4 billion in public transit funding ensures the problem will only get worse.

With files from Muhammad Lila