Republicans on the Senate commerce committee have raised concerns about the Biden administration’s approach to highway funding. Led by Sen. Ted Cruz, they circulated a memo accusing the administration of tying infrastructure funding to what they call “woke initiatives” such as equity and climate change. According to the memo, billions of taxpayer dollars intended for infrastructure projects are being diverted to promote these initiatives instead of building roads, bridges, and highways.
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) November 21, 2023
The Republicans argue that the Department of Transportation (DOT) should focus on the law as written and prioritize the much-needed improvements to highways instead of pushing the concept of “racist roads.” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has claimed that some highways have racism built into them, which has sparked controversy among conservatives. While Buttigieg has shown support for racial equity initiatives, critics argue that he has not gone far enough with the funding.
Sen. Cruz plans to challenge what he calls “woke” anti-highway policies through a Congressional Review Act resolution. He believes that these policies deviate from the criteria outlined in the law and unfairly prioritize mass transit and bike paths over road construction. The memo also criticizes the added requirements on grant agreements, which delay the disbursement of funds after award announcements. The Republicans argue that such requirements are unnecessary and hinder the progress of infrastructure projects.
This memo reflects the ongoing partisan divide over infrastructure funding and the Biden administration’s approach to addressing issues such as equity and climate change. Critics view these initiatives as distractions from the primary goal of improving the country’s transportation infrastructure, while supporters argue that they are necessary steps toward a more inclusive and sustainable future. It remains to be seen how this debate will ultimately impact highway funding and the overall infrastructure plan.