Padilla, Warnock Introduce Bill to Permanently Re-establish DOT Advisory Committee on Transportation Equity
Legislation Reverses Trump Administration Action to Dissolve Advisory Committee on Transportation Equity
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senators Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) introduced the Transportation Equity Act which requires the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to permanently re-establish the Advisory Committee on Transportation Equity.
The Advisory Committee was created under the Obama Administration to convene stakeholders in order to provide independent advice and recommendations about comprehensive, interdisciplinary issues related to transportation equity. However, the Trump Administration dissolved the Advisory Committee nearly a year before its initial charter was set to expire.
“Transportation infrastructure impacts accessibility, health, housing, and environmental justice across our communities,” said Senator Padilla. “As the federal government allocates billions of dollars from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, it is important that these investments address historic barriers to mobility and promote economic opportunity for all. This bill will help ensure that underserved communities have a voice in local and regional transportation decisions.”
“Investing in roads, bridges, highways, and public transportation helps ensure that Georgians in every corner of the state are both physically and economically mobile. At the same time, Georgians do not experience the benefits nor the negative impacts of transportation investments equally,” said Senator Reverend Warnock. “Disadvantaged communities are more likely to bear the brunt of pollution or displacement, and those same communities are less likely to have quality infrastructure. I’m proud to support the Transportation Equity Act to ensure the federal government is prioritizing equity as we go to work to revitalize the infrastructure of our communities.”
“Reestablishing the Advisory Committee on Transportation Equity is about making sure that all Americans have a say in the transportation policies that will affect their communities,” said Senator Carper, Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “Our Transportation Equity Act would go a step further by guaranteeing communities a permanent seat at the table—one that can’t be taken away simply by executive action. In the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we fought to include historic investments in reconnecting and revitalizing communities long-divided by highways. This legislation would build on that success and ensure that our transportation infrastructure creates opportunities for getting ahead.”
“Federal transportation policy choices—what we build, where we put it, who builds it, how we operate it, what energy powers it—have an enormous impact on access to opportunity,” said Michael McAfee, President and CEO, PolicyLink. “This is particularly true for nearly 100 million people in this nation who experience financial insecurity—the majority of whom are people of color—and are disproportionately more likely to live in communities where transportation options are unaffordable, unreliable, or nonexistent. As the federal government leans into its commitment to further racial equity, the voice, wisdom, and experience of these frontline communities must be centered in the planning, design, and implementation of transportation policy. Permanently reinstating the Advisory Committee on Transportation Equity emulates this kind of leadership and governance.”
The Transportation Equity Act is also co-sponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Bob Casey (D-Penn.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).
This legislation follows a letter led by Padilla—and co-signed by 16 other Senators—in December urging DOT to permanently re-establish the Advisory Committee on Transportation Equity.