Buttigieg: Racism Is ‘Physically Built’ into American Infrastructure
Biden’s $2.25 trillion infrastructure proposal includes removal of racist highways
Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg has claimed the United States infrastructure has racism "physically built” into it.
During an interview addressing Joe Biden’s $2.25 trillion infrastructure proposal, Buttigieg argued that highways and bridges had been designed to divide race.
“Well, if you’re in Washington, I’m told that the history of that highway is one that was built at the expense of communities of color in the D.C. area,” he said.
“There are stories, and I think Philadelphia and Pittsburgh [and] in New York, Robert Moses famously saw through the construction of a lot of highways.”
“There is racism physically built into some of our highways, and that’s why the jobs plan has specifically committed to reconnecting some of the communities that were divided by these dollars,” he added.
Biden’s infrastructure plan would plow $20 billion to “reconnect neighborhoods” and “advance racial equity and environmental justice.”
Meanwhile, the Claiborne Expressway in New Orleans and Interstate 81 in Syracuse, New York, has been cited as "problematic" for going through black neighborhoods.
Buttigieg wrote in December:
“Black and brown neighborhoods have been disproportionately divided by highway projects or left isolated by the lack of adequate transit and transportation resources.'
"He promised to focus on “righting these wrongs.”
More recently, Buttigieg sent a letter to the state of Texas requesting it pause an interstate expansion in Houston while racial justice complaints are investigated.
Buttigieg pledged to combat what he described as racial injustice in infrastructure as transportation secretary.
“I also recognize that at their worst, misguided policies and missed opportunities in transportation can reinforce racial and economic inequality by dividing or isolating neighborhoods and undermining government’s basic role of empowering Americans to thrive,” Buttigieg said in his opening statement.
Buttigieg added that Biden would like Congress to act on his infrastructure plan by Memorial Day.
“We know that this is entering a legislative process where we’re going to be hearing from both sides of the aisle, and I think you’ll find the president’s got a very open mind."
"But time is of the essence,” he told ABC’s This Week.
“So we’ll look at these ideas on how to pay for it. We’ll look at ideas on where the investments ought to be, too."
"But the president is hoping for major progress from Congress before Memorial Day. And we can’t allow this thing to just keep dragging on because the need is there today.”