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Statement: The Senate’s Proposed Transportation Bill Maintains What Makes American Transportation Inequitable, Unsustainable, and Unsafe

May 24, 2021

Corinne Kisner, Executive Director and Janette Sadik-Khan, Chair of the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), today issued the following statement in response to the Senate Committee of Environment and Public Works’ Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2021:

We cannot fix what’s wrong with American transportation without fixing the fundamentals, and EPW’s proposed bill is insufficient given the gravity of the problems facing the U.S. today. While this proposal contains several exciting provisions and new programs–from measuring and reducing transportation-sector carbon emissions to reconnecting communities divided by highways, and funding complete streets projects–at its core, the EPW bill largely maintains the status quo that made American transportation so inequitable, unsustainable, and unsafe to begin with.

At a moment when we need robust investment in safety, local streets, and transit, the bill preserves vast amounts of funding for highway expansion. It also continues the broken system of cutting cities out of decisions that directly impact their streets and residents. By continuing to funnel most federal transportation dollars through State DOTs, with no required input from cities, publicly funded projects will have no obligation to reflect local priorities. Many of the deadliest streets within city boundaries are outside of city control and will remain so with this bill.

While there are a few bright spots in this bill, including steps to expand multimodal projects and access, the crises facing our country–from climate change to the industrialized world’s worst traffic safety record–are too severe to continue to do the same with the vast majority of our federal transportation program. The transportation bill America needs would tip the balance away from funding highways, create real performance measures for safety and sustainability, and give cities more of a say in how the streets and projects within their boundaries are designed.

We need to connect Americans to opportunities within their communities, stop the 40,000 preventable deaths every year on our roadways, and dramatically cut greenhouse gas emissions within just a few years, and by those measures this bill falls short.


About the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)
NACTO is an association of 89 major North American cities and transit agencies formed to exchange transportation ideas, insights, and practices and cooperatively approach national transportation issues. The organization’s mission is to build cities as places for people, with safe, sustainable, accessible, and equitable transportation choices that support a strong economy and vibrant quality of life. To learn more, visit or follow us on Twitter at @NACTO.

Alex Engel | [email protected] | 646.324.2919

For Immediate Release
May 24, 2021