An internal Senate memo highlights the Biden administration’s efforts to link highway funding to vigilante priorities – LSB

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First on Fox: An internal memo distributed to lawmakers by Republicans on the Senate Commerce Committee highlights how the Biden administration is tying up billions of dollars in taxpayer money for “wake-up initiatives.”

The memo, first obtained by Fox News Digital, was sent late Monday evening and was led by Commerce Committee member Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who plans to draft legislation prohibiting the Department of Transportation (DOT) from tying federal funds to federal funds. Left priorities. It specifically targets the Department of Transportation’s management of three grant programs that serve as key instruments for financing various types of surface transportation projects nationwide.

“Billions upon billions of taxpayer dollars allocated to infrastructure projects are tied to awakening initiatives that are more focused on dismantling American infrastructure in the name of ‘equality’ and ‘climate change’ than on building roads, bridges, and highways to connect the country.” The memo states that.

“Congress should not allow the Department of Transportation to promote the absurd concept of ‘racist roads’ to prevent Americans from getting much-needed improvements to their highways,” she continued. “DOT funding notices should focus on the law as written, not on awakening priorities.”

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Ted Cruz during a Senate hearing

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, attends a Senate hearing on May 11. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

in June, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg He announced that his agency has begun accepting applications for the National Infrastructure Project Assistance Program, Infrastructure to Rebuild America (INFRA), and Rural Surface Transportation Grant programs. The three programs received a collective boost of $5.6 billion, most of which supports INFRA, under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021.

Buttigieg said the grants eventually awarded under the programs will support “transformative infrastructure projects across the country.” But the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) issued by the Department for Transport as part of its grant award process states that recipients must broadly address equity issues And climate concerns.

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“Projects that have not adequately considered property rights and barriers to opportunity in their planning, as determined by the Department, will be required to do so before receiving funds for construction,” the Department of Transportation’s NOFO states.

“Projects that have not adequately considered climate change and environmental justice in their planning, as determined by the Department, will be required to do so before receiving funds for construction,” the document adds.

The two funding provisions cite President Biden’s Day 1 executive order titled “Promoting Racial Equity and Supporting Underserved Communities through the Federal Government.”

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg speaks at the Detroit Auto Show

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in 2021 that there was “racism literally built into some of our highways.” (AP Photo/Paul Sagna)

Following Buttigieg’s announcement, Cruz in July wrote to the Government Accountability Office, requesting confirmation that NOFO is a rule and, therefore, subject to the Congressional Review Act (CRA), a nearly three-decade-old law that allows Congress to overturn federal law. Systems. The federal watchdog responded last month, saying it was in fact subject to the law.

According to the memo circulated Monday, Cruz will soon file a CRA resolution “challenging the ‘woke’ anti-highway policy in DOT grants.” The resolution will also take aim at other Department of Transportation policies such as framing road construction as increasing “car dependence,” and condemning highway expansion projects that do not include electric vehicle charging stations or bike lanes.

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“Taken together, these additions, which deviate sharply from the standards set forth in the law, will favor states seeking to expand mass transit and bike paths over states seeking to build roads. Additional requirements related to grant agreements, which are necessary to disburse the funds afterward.” The memo adds that advertised prizes are particularly harmful.

“The Department of Transportation’s funding notice ensures that applicants will not receive construction funds unless they embrace the administration’s extreme views on climate and equity,” the letter reads, calling on Congress to support an upcoming Cruz resolution that opposes the Biden Administration’s “anti-highway agenda.”

President Joe Biden

The Department of Transportation’s funding decision that prioritized equity and climate change applied to programs created under President Biden’s Infrastructure and Jobs Investment Act of 2021. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)

For years, left-wing groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and activists have argued that American cities have historically used highway infrastructure to promote racial discrimination. Buttigieg sought to reverse past racist policies that led to certain infrastructure decisions.

“There is racism that is literally embedded in some of our highways, which is why the Jobs Plan specifically committed to reconnecting some of the communities that these dollars have divided,” Buttigieg said in an interview with TheGrio in 2021.

In June 2022, Buttigieg launched a $1 billion Reconnecting Communities program that aims to reverse infrastructure policies that divide communities and disconnect certain neighborhoods from economic opportunity.


“Transportation can connect us to jobs, services and loved ones, but we have also seen countless instances across the country where a piece of infrastructure cuts off a neighborhood or community because of the way it was built,” Buttigieg said at the time.

“But we cannot ignore the basic fact that some of the planners and politicians behind these projects built them right in the heart of vibrant, populated communities — sometimes in an attempt to reinforce apartheid,” he said. “Sometimes because the people there had less power to resist. Sometimes as part of a direct effort to replace or eliminate black neighborhoods.”

The Department of Transportation did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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