In testimony submitted to the House Highways and Transit Subcommittee last week, Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, stressed the importance of transportation equity as a pressing civil and human rights issue facing our country.
“Smart and equitable transportation systems connect us to jobs, schools, housing, health care services—and even to grocery stores and nutritious food. But millions of low-income and working-class people, people of color, and people with disabilities live in communities where quality transportation options are unaffordable, unreliable, or nonexistent,” said Henderson.
In his testimony, Henderson said that investing in transportation policies and construction creates jobs and expands economic opportunity for low-income and underrepresented workers. He also emphasized the need for transportation policies that connect aging Americans and persons with disabilities to affordable housing and health access.
In addition to programs that expand access, Henderson also called for strong civil rights compliance and enforcement.
“Our next transportation bill should ensure vigorous enforcement of existing civil rights legislation and pursue improved civil rights protections in federal statutes covering recipients of public funds,” said Henderson.
The Leadership Conference Education Fund recently published a report, “Where We Need to Go: A Civil Rights Roadmap for Transportation Equity,” discussing transportation equity and the significance of reauthorizing surface transportation programs to the civil and human rights community.