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A $1.2 trillion opportunity to address America’s safety, equity, and climate crises

Nov 15, 2021

Directing this unprecedented funding to the right projects could improve everyday life for millions of people

Corinne Kisner, Executive Director of NACTO, issued the following statement in response to President Biden signing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law

Today, President Biden signed into law a $1.2 trillion dollar opportunity to directly address America’s safety, equity, and climate crises. The unprecedented funding unlocked in the infrastructure bill could be a turning point that enables the U.S. to address longstanding faults and shortcomings in the country’s transportation system. Directing funding to the right projects could improve everyday life for millions of people, with new sidewalks, more reliable transit, safer streets, and neighborhoods knit back together after past infrastructure projects tore them apart. 

We are heartened by the Administration’s goals for infrastructure spending, and by the clarity that Secretary Buttigieg and USDOT leadership have when speaking about these complex issues. Rectifying decades of underinvestment and past planning that does not reflect today’s needs and priorities is a tall order. We applaud the Administration for their clear desire for better outcomes from our country’s transportation spending. 

NACTO and our member cities look forward to working with USDOT to ensure that the $100+ billion in transportation funding that the administration controls is administered in a way that enables cities to easily apply for projects, receive funding, and make streets safer and more inviting for all modes of travel. The Administration has the power to fund the projects most important to people’s lives–projects like building a sidewalk to their local bus stop, a safe and connected bike lane network, and redesigned streets and intersections so that a senior can comfortably walk to reach their destination.

While USDOT will be administering more funding than it ever has, the majority of infrastructure dollars will continue to flow as they have for decades–with few strings attached, to states. States and territories across the U.S. now have the opportunity and responsibility to use the $300 billion within their control to address America’s climate, safety, and racial equity crises. To do this, we encourage states to emulate promising policies from their peers, like Massachusetts’ Complete Streets Funding Program, Colorado’s proposed greenhouse gas performance measure, Virginia’s proposed Smart Scale prioritization tool, and California’s “fix it first” Climate Action Plan for Transportation Infrastructure. While states have traditionally spent the bulk of their infrastructure funds on new highways, we urge states to rethink these established approaches and refocus spending to address the crises facing the country today.

With the industrialized world’s worst traffic safety record, an overreliance on one polluting and fragile mode for travel–private cars, and access to opportunity stymied by a dearth of transit options for most Americans, it’s clear that the U.S. must urgently turn a corner in its transportation outcomes. 

The funding provided by the infrastructure bill–and the proposed Build Back Better Act–has the potential to make the United States healthier, more prosperous, and resilient. Now begins the hard work to ensure that the projects we’re building match the goals we have. America’s cities are ready to partner and get to work. 


About the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)
NACTO is an association of 91 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]

For Immediate Release
November 15, 2021