The following is a statement from Harriet Tregoning, director of NUMO, the New Urban Mobility alliance, on the confirmation of Pete Buttigieg as United States Secretary of Transportation.
NUMO welcomes the confirmation of Pete Buttigieg as United States Secretary of Transportation. In this role, Secretary Buttigieg joins a new presidential administration that has committed to advancing more equitable and sustainable transportation for all by promoting access to economic and civic opportunity and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
During his confirmation hearing, Secretary Buttigieg remarked on the pivotal role of transportation in building back the U.S. economy better amid unprecedented hardship and devastating job losses. The fact that 2.8 million essential workers have relied on public transit to reach frontline jobs in healthcare and other critical industries during the COVID-19 crisis only underscores this point. We welcome an administration that recognizes the enormous significance of public transportation, and we strongly support the Biden administration’s request for $20 billion in additional emergency aid for transit agencies as part of the American Rescue Plan.
The Secretary also acknowledged the legacy of policies that have reinforced racial and economic inequality and devastated neighborhoods, particularly those of color. That America’s transportation system is among the most structurally racist aspects of daily life for many people in this country is no surprise; it is an autocentric system that assumes most travelers will use — and own — expensive, increasingly enormous and inefficient vehicles that threaten the safety of other road users, an assumption that overlooks how Black families are less likely to have access to a car than White families, as well as how Black Americans are four times more likely to commute by public transit than White Americans.
Undoing these wrongs and ensuring an equitable future for mobility requires measuring the success of our transportation system by the ability of each and every American to access jobs, schools, healthcare and other essential services, rather than the speed at which those with cars travel in uncongested conditions. To achieve this vision, the Biden administration must work with Congress to establish access performance measures at the federal level and, just as significant, support states and localities as they, too, seek to measure what really matters: whether our transportation system gets all people where they need to go.
Finally, as a former mayor, Secretary Buttigieg understands only too well the importance of encouraging innovation at the local level. With his leadership, we are sure the U.S. Department of Transportation and its partner agencies will incentivize state and local governments to explore new approaches to multimodal transportation by better integrating transit with shared micromobility, engaging constituencies such as employers, finding solutions for all geographies from urban to rural and building infrastructure that works for all modes and all people.
We are hopeful and excited by the incoming administration and by the prospect of Secretary Buttigieg’s leadership, which we believe will energize and inspire our collective transportation efforts and the work of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
On behalf of NUMO, I congratulate Secretary Buttigieg and look forward to working with him, the rest of President Biden’s administration and state and municipal leaders, as well as the members of the NUMO alliance, to continue to build transportation systems that are safe, sustainable and accessible to all.”
Please direct media inquiries to Madlyn McAuliffe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NUMO, the New Urban Mobility alliance, is a global organization that channels tech-based disruptions in urban transport to create joyful cities where sustainable and just mobility is the new normal. Founded in 2019 as an outgrowth of the Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities, NUMO convenes diverse allies and leverages the momentum of significant revolutions in mobility to target urban issues — including equity, sustainability, accessibility and labor — impacted by the shifting transportation landscape. NUMO is hosted by WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities.
Header image: NYC DOT Art Program / Flickr