Internal Senate memo highlights Biden admin efforts to tie highway funding to woke priorities

First appearance on Fox: An internal memo distributed to lawmakers by Republicans on the Senate Commerce Committee highlights how the Biden administration is tying billions of dollars in taxpayer funds to the Awakening Initiative.

The memo, first obtained by Fox News Digital, was sent late Monday night and was sent to the Commerce Committee, which plans to draft legislation that would prohibit the Department of Transportation (DOT) from tying federal funds to the government. It was led by Ranking Member Ted Cruz (R-Texas). Left-wing priorities. In particular, he targets his DOT’s administration of three grant programs that serve as the primary vehicle for funding various types of surface transportation projects across the country.

“Billions of taxpayer dollars are being spent on infrastructure projects that dismantle America’s infrastructure in the name of ‘equity’ and ‘climate change,’ rather than building roads, bridges, and highways that connect the country.” “It is tied to an awakened commitment focused on doing things,” the memo said.

“Congress should not allow the Department of Transportation to promote the ridiculous concept of ‘separate highways’ to prevent the highway improvements Americans desperately need.” “Funding notices issued by DOT should focus on the law as written, not priorities.”

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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) will appear at a Senate hearing on May 11th. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc, via Getty Images)

In June, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg The agency announced it has begun accepting applications for the National Infrastructure Project Assistance, Infrastructure to Rebuild America (INFRA), and Local Surface Transportation Grant programs. The three programs received a total of $5.6 billion in grants under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, the majority of which was in support of INFRA.

Buttigieg said the grants ultimately awarded under the program will support “transformative infrastructure projects across the country.” However, the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) issued by DOT as part of the grant award process states that recipients must address equity broadly. and climate concerns.

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“Projects that do not adequately consider equity and barriers to opportunity in their planning are required to do so before receiving construction funding, as determined by the Department,” the DOT NOFO states.

“Based on the Department’s determination, projects that do not adequately consider climate change and environmental justice in their planning must be considered before receiving construction funding,” the document adds.

Both funding conditions cite President Biden’s Day 1 executive order titled “Advancing Racial Equity and Supporting Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.”

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg speaks at the Detroit Auto Show

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in 2021 that “racism is physically built into some of our highways.” (AP Photo/Paul Sancia)

Following Buttigieg’s announcement, Cruz sent a letter to the Comptroller’s Office in July stating that NOFO is a rule, and therefore a nearly 30-year-old law that allows Congress to revoke federal powers. It requested confirmation that it would be subject to the Congressional Review Act (CRA). Rules. A federal watchdog responded last month, saying it was in fact covered by the law.

According to a memo distributed Monday, Cruz will soon introduce a CRA resolution “challenging ‘woke’ anti-highway policies in DOT subsidies.” The resolution also addresses other Department of Transportation issues, including characterizing road construction as increasing “automobile dependence” and condemning highway expansion projects that do not include electric vehicle charging stations or bike lanes. It also plans to cover policy.

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“Taken together, these additions, which significantly depart from the standard of the law, will favor states seeking to expand mass transit and bike lanes over states seeking to build roads.Additional requirements for grant agreements , are required to disburse funds after construction.This is particularly pernicious once the award is announced,” the memo added.

“DOT’s funding letter guarantees that applicants will not receive construction funding unless they accept the administration’s extreme views on climate and equity,” he said, citing the Biden administration’s “anti-highway policies.” It urges Congress to support Mr. Cruz’s upcoming resolutions against the United States.

President Joe Biden

The Department of Transportation’s funding decisions, which prioritize equity and climate change, applied to programs created under President Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021. (Andrew Caballero Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)

Left-wing groups and activists such as the American Civil Liberties Union have long argued that American cities have historically used highway infrastructure to foster racial discrimination. Buttigieg has sought to reverse past racist policies that led to certain infrastructure decisions.

“Some of our highways have physical racism built into them, so the jobs plan is specifically committed to reuniting some of our divided communities with these funds,” Buttigieg said. he said in a 2021 interview with theGrio.

In June 2022, Buttigieg launched a $1 billion community reconnection program aimed at reversing infrastructure policies that divide communities and cut off certain areas from economic opportunity.


“Transportation connects us to jobs, services, and the people we love, but there are countless instances across the country where pieces of infrastructure can divide neighborhoods and communities because of the way they are built,” Buttigieg said at the time. I’ve seen it,” he said.

“But there is evidence that some of the planners and politicians behind these projects built them directly through the heart of vibrant, populous communities, sometimes to reinforce racial discrimination.” “We cannot ignore the basic facts,” he said. “Sometimes because the people there were less resilient; other times as part of a direct effort to replace or eliminate black neighborhoods.”

DOT did not immediately respond to a request for comment.