Representatives of more than 50 of the nation’s leading economic justice, labor, community development, environmental justice and faith-based organizations joined with Transportation for America (T4A) and PolicyLink at the launch of the T4America Equity Caucus at the Newseum in Washington on Tuesday.
The caucus will advocate for new and innovative policies to expand transportation access in disadvantaged areas and ensure that low-income, African-American and Hispanic workers have access to transportation jobs supported by federal investment.
“As with voting and education, transportation has played a key role in the struggle for civil rights and equal opportunity,” said Wade Henderson, president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “The work of the Equity Caucus begins an important new chapter in that continuing struggle to make sure that people in every community have adequate, efficient and affordable transportation options, and that all Americans, including low-income workers and workers of color, have equal access to job opportunities in the transportation sector.”
The Equity Caucus will work to ensure the next transportation authorization will:
- Create robust, affordable transportation options for all people;
- Ensure access to jobs, workforce development, and contracting opportunities in the transportation industry;
- Promote healthy, environmentally-sustainable communities, and;
- Invest equitably and focus on results.
“For over a century, the NAACP has fought long and hard to ensure that the voices of African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities are heard in pressing national debates,” said Hilary Shelton, senior vice president for advocacy and policy and director of the NAACP Washington Bureau. “That’s why we have come together with PolicyLink, Transportation for America and dozens of other organizations to ensure that communities of color and low-income neighborhoods benefit from safe, affordable and accessible transportation options.”
“As transportation costs have gone up, Black and Latino neighborhoods are being disproportionately impacted, with little to no alternatives to turn to,” Angela Glover Blackwell, founder and CEO of PolicyLink. “If we are to bridge this gap, we must continue to push for healthy and equitable solutions that expand access through critical infrastructure investments, and connect struggling Americans to jobs and economic opportunity.”
“Transportation must be a bridge — not a barrier — for low-income Americans,” said James Corless, director of Transportation for America. “Now is the time to make our transportation system work for everyone.”
The Equity Caucus will continue to work together as the transportation authorization bill makes its way through Congress.