February 24, 2021
WASHINGTON -- The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing today to kick off crafting a major transportation infrastructure bill. The hearing was titled “Building Back Better: Investing in Transportation while Addressing Climate Change, Improving Equity, and Fostering Economic Growth and Innovation.”
Every year, air pollution from road transportation cuts short an estimated 58,000 lives in the United States. An additional 38,000 people per year die from car crashes. Transportation also contributes more to climate change than any other sector.
U.S. PIRG Transportation Associate Mac Dressman issued the following statement:
“For too many Americans, transportation is inconvenient and dangerous. A lack of public transit, biking and walking infrastructure makes getting around without a car difficult, while traffic congestion and long commutes are aggravating for drivers. Even worse, air pollution and car crashes kill tens of thousands of Americans every year.
For a modern, safe and sustainable transportation system, Congress must prioritize infrastructure that uses public money wisely and keeps our air, land and water clean. That means repairing crumbling roads and bridges and establishing a national network for charging electric vehicles instead of expanding highways.
Beyond supporting the shift to electric vehicles, Congress must provide Americans with more transit options. To address climate change, improve equity and foster lasting economic growth, it’s essential to expand public transportation access and make our streets safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.
In the Senate committee hearing, we heard broad agreement from elected officials from across the country and political spectrum, including Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who recognized the need to build a more forward-thinking, sustainable transportation system.
We applaud the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works for putting sustainable transportation like electric vehicles and public transit at the center of the infrastructure conversation. But the committee must go further by requiring states to focus their National Highway Performance Program funds on highway repair and rehabilitation, investing in public transit and funding a national electric-vehicle charging network. We need these essential investments if we’re going to build the clean, safe and accessible transportation of tomorrow.”