Federal Agencies, Including USDOT, Issue Equity Plans

On April 14, more than 90 federal agencies as well as all cabinet-level agencies – including the U.S. Department of Transportation – released mandated “Equity Action Plans.”

[Above photo of President Biden via the White House]

Those plans established more than 300 “strategies and commitments” to address what the Biden administration terms “systemic barriers in our nation’s policies and programs” that hold “too many underserved communities back from prosperity, dignity, and equality.”

In a statement, USDOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg outlined the philosophy underpinning his department’s “Equity Action Plan” and what that plan seeks to achieve.

USDOT Sec. Buttigieg, at left. with USDOT Deputy Sec. Trottenberg at right. Photo by the USDOT.

“It’s important to recognize that past federal transportation investments have too often failed to address inequities, or even made them worse. And because a piece of physical infrastructure endures for decades, families and communities today must contend with the results of discriminatory choices that may date back generations,” he explained.

“In other cases, we see inequities in our failures to invest, as with transit deserts that leave out the communities that most need affordable transportation options, or contracting opportunities for transportation projects that fail to engage and utilize women and people of color,” Buttigieg noted.

He said the USDOT’s 12-page “Equity Action Plan,” commits it to “doing the right thing” for the nation’s “shared future,” addressing inequities to build a “better, more equitable” transportation system.

“This Equity Action Plan is a major milestone for the Department of Transportation that represents a shift in how we view and deliver transportation programs. We have a long way to go toward creating a truly equitable transportation system but the actions outlined in this plan form a strong foundation, and I encourage the public to hold us accountable as we work to meet these goals,” Buttigieg added.

“Done right, transportation policy can help level the playing field. It can transform economies, connect people to opportunity, and empower underserved communities to build generational wealth for the future,” he emphasized. “In partnership with community leaders, state and local governments, and the traveling public, we at the Department of Transportation look forward to continuing this vital work.”

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