GOP Raises Concerns on Infrastructure Budget
A recent internal memo has revealed how the Biden administration is using billions of taxpayer dollars to fund what some are calling "woke initiatives." The memo, circulated among lawmakers by Senate Commerce Committee Republicans, highlights how the Department of Transportation (DOT) is tying federal funds to left-wing priorities.
This memo, obtained by Fox News Digital, was spearheaded by Sen. Ted Cruz, who is planning to introduce legislation that would prohibit the DOT from using federal funds for these initiatives. Cruz and his colleagues are concerned that these initiatives are taking precedence over important infrastructure projects, such as roads, bridges, and highways, that are essential for connecting the country.
According to the memo, "Billions upon billions of taxpayer dollars meant for infrastructure projects are tied to woke initiatives that are more focused on dismantling America’s infrastructure in the name of ‘equity’ and ‘climate change’ than building roads, bridges, and highways to connect the country." The memo goes on to say that "Congress must not allow the Department of Transportation to push the absurd concept of ‘racist roads’ to prevent Americans from getting much-needed improvements to their highways."
Yesterday, Nate Simington at the FCC warned us how the Democrat majority at his agency was distorting Biden's "infrastructure" bill to mandate wokeness for the entire telecom industry.
Now, today, the FCC is doing a roundtable on "maternal health" with Rachel Levine, a man in a… pic.twitter.com/HYStokmmtX
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) November 17, 2023
The DOT has recently started accepting applications for three grant programs that received a collective $5.6 billion boost under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021. These programs are the National Infrastructure Project Assistance, Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA), and Rural Surface Transportation Grant programs. However, the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) issued by the DOT states that recipients must address equity and climate concerns in their projects.
This requirement stems from President Biden's day-one executive order, "Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government." The NOFO states that projects must have "sufficiently considered equity and barriers to opportunity" and "climate change and environmental justice" before receiving funds for construction. These added requirements, which deviate from the criteria in the law, favor certain states and prioritize mass transit and bike paths over essential road projects.
Cruz has been in contact with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) about these mandates in the NOFO. The GAO confirmed that the NOFO is subject to the Congressional Review Act (CRA), allowing Congress to revoke federal regulations. This confirmation has prompted Cruz to announce his plan to introduce a CRA resolution "challenging ‘woke’ anti-highway policy in DOT grants."
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has long been an advocate for dismantling what he calls "racist infrastructure policies." In a recent interview, Buttigieg said, "There is racism physically built into some of our highways, and that’s why the jobs plan has specifically committed to reconnect some of the communities that were divided by these dollars." To address this issue, Buttigieg launched the $1 billion Reconnecting Communities program, which aims to reverse infrastructure policies that have divided neighborhoods.
The DOT has not yet responded to the memo or the looming CRA resolution. But with the internal memo circulating and lawmakers taking action, it's clear that the Biden administration's use of taxpayer dollars for "woke initiatives" is getting pushback. As Congress debates this issue, it remains to be seen how this will impact future infrastructure projects and the fight against racism and discrimination in transportation.