Washington (May 26, 2021) – Following the consideration and passage of the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2021 in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee today, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) led Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), members of the Environment and Public Works Committee, in a letter to Senate leadership, urging Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to move forward quickly on a robust infrastructure package that meets the scale and scope necessary to address the ongoing climate crisis, rebuild the economy, protect public health, create good-paying jobs, and address longstanding inequities.
"The Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2021 reflects the work of the Committee in finding areas of bipartisan agreement and contains important provisions that will begin to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our transportation sector, as well as funding to reconnect communities affected by unjust planning practices—although it also contains some provisions that undermine environmental assessments and community engagement. But this legislation cannot be the last word on our national infrastructure needs," said the senators in their letter. "We must think bigger, do more, and not allow for the delay or derailment of our pro-jobs, pro-climate, and pro-justice agenda. Our legislation must pass nature's test of holding warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius to have a real shot at preventing catastrophic changes to the climate."
A copy of the letter can be found HERE.
The letter notes that the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2021 falls $100 billion short of the American Job Plans' funding for surface transportation, does not take the necessary steps to address the climate crisis, nor address President Biden’s Justice40 agenda to deliver 40 percent of benefits from federal investment to disadvantaged communities. The final infrastructure package Congress passes must also take a broader view of infrastructure than surface transportation alone, supporting clean water, clean air, and family-sustaining jobs.