Buttigieg says infrastructure bill will address racist highway design

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said on Monday that his agency would use a portion of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill to address racial inequities in U.S. highway design.

Buttigieg's remarks at a press briefing come amid a broader discussion of racial and socioeconomic disparities in the U.S. and days after Congress passed the long-awaited infrastructure bill.

The program, called "Reconnecting Communities," will focus on the "legacy of highway construction built through communities" and remove or repurpose infrastructure barriers.

Buttigieg reiterated that whether a highway will be removed will be decided on a case-by-case basis, adding that "it's going to vary by community and we have to listen to the community."

"At least 40% of the clean investments in this bill will go to benefit the communities that are overburdened and underserved," Buttigieg said at the briefing.

"If an underpass was constructed such that a bus carrying mostly Black and Puerto Rican kids to a beach ... in New York was designed too low for it to pass by, that ... obviously reflects racism that went into those design choices."

"I don't think we have anything to lose by confronting that simple reality and I think we have everything to gain by acknowledging it," he added.

Source: Axios

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