Conor Lamb Voted to Keep You Stuck in Traffic

In July 2021, Congressman Lamb voted for a bill[1] that would limit Pennsylvania’s ability to widen traffic congested roadways[2] or allow for new lanes to be built, opting instead to leave Pennsylvanians stuck in even more traffic.

Since the creation of the interstate highway system in 1956, the states, including Pennsylvania, have enjoyed the ability to invest federal tax dollars in helping meet the transportation needs of local communities, such as Pittsburgh and its surrounding suburbs.  But now, Congressman Conor Lamb wants bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., to put their thumbs on the scale when it comes to how Pennsylvanians decide how they travel to work, to drop their children off at school, and to visit their friends and family.

Specifically, Congressman Lamb wants Washington to restrict Pennsylvania’s ability to add new roadway capacity unless the state:

  1. Proves they are meeting arbitrary roadway maintenance goals set forth by Washington bureaucrats; and
  2. Rigorously demonstrates to those same bureaucrats that a roadway project supports federal performance targets and is more cost effective than building a public transit project like expanding the T light rail system, among other things.

Congressman Lamb had the opportunity to remove these arbitrary restrictions, he didn’t. Instead, he voted to keep[3] them and told Pennsylvanians to take the bus, literally.

Here are the facts:

  • States, including Pennsylvania, are already focused on “fixing it first” or maintaining existing roads. In fact, over 75% of the money states spend is on repairing existing roadways and less than 25% of the money is spent on roadway expansion.[4]
  • States already must consider a variety of alternatives, like public transit projects, before constructing a new road. But they also have the flexibility to consider the transportation options that connect local communities as they desire.  
  • 88% of trips to and from work in the United States are by private vehicle.[5]
  • Bus ridership in Pittsburgh is down nearly 60% due to the pandemic.  

If the past year has proven anything, it’s that we must continue to invest in our nation’s roads and bridges. Among other things, Americans were able to buy groceries and vaccines were able to be delivered throughout the country on our nation’s roads and bridges.

As such, a one-size -fits-all Washington, D.C., mandate on state and local communities limiting their ability to construct new highway capacity would stymie efforts to get Americans out of traffic, better connect communities of all kinds to jobs, healthcare facilities, and schools, and better link businesses in those communities to their markets.

Unfortunately, Congressman Lamb doesn’t realize that. And you should know that.


[1] https://clerk.house.gov/evs/2021/roll208.xml

[2] H.R. 3684, Engrossed in the House, Section 1201

[3] https://www.congress.gov/congressional-report/117th-congress/house-report/70/1?overview=closed Crawford Amendment #1B

[4] https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policy/23cpr/chap2.cfm#capital-outlays-on-federal-aid-highways

[5] https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/documents/2017_nhts_summary_travel_trends.pdf

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