Opening remarks, as prepared, of Subcommittee on Highways and Transit Ranking Member Rodney Davis (R-IL) from today’s hearing entitled, “Pricing and Technology Strategies to Address Congestion on and Financing of America’s Roads”:
The Subcommittee is continuing our work to reauthorize federal surface transportation programs and policies. As part of that effort, we have held a number of hearings on important policy topics.
Today, the Subcommittee will focus on some of the tools being utilized by state and local communities to mitigate congestion. Congestion can be caused by various issues, such as weather, traffic incidents, and capacity constraints.
According to the 2019 Urban Mobility Report, Americans traveled an extra 8.8 billion hours due to congestion and purchased an extra 3.3 billion gallons of fuel, leading to a total congestion cost of $166 billion in 2017. Dr. Lomax, who worked on this report, is with us today, and I look forward to learning more about its findings as part of his testimony.
Congestion negatively impacts our ability to move products to domestic and international markets, which undermines our economy and global competitiveness.
Congestion is also not just an urban issue. Congestion can and does happen everywhere, in our small towns and in our large cities.
Perhaps, most importantly, congestion is a personal issue. Sitting in traffic means that there is less time to do the things that are important to each of us – spending time with our families and friends or watching our children play sports, like my twin boys when they played high school football or my daughter when she was a cheerleader.
This hearing will specifically focus on how states and local communities are utilizing some of the tools in the toolbox – tolling, congestion pricing strategies, and new technologies – to address congestion. Our witnesses will provide us with real-world examples of how these tools are being deployed, as well as give us their perspective on whether or not these tools are working well.
There are other tools to address congestion beyond those that are the focus of today’s hearing. If we are going to tackle congestion, we need a thoughtful approach that provides states and local communities with the flexibility to do what makes sense given their unique circumstances, because no single solution is going to work everywhere.
I look forward to our discussion on this important issue and learning more about how the Federal government can be a good partner to states and local communities as they seek to address congestion.
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