The concentration of highways and polluting infrastructure in communities of color creates barriers to economic progress, reinforces segregation, and makes people sick. Unfortunately, many of these disparities are by design.
In the 1930s, the federal government advocated that roads and highways be used to protect neighborhoods from undesirable elements, specifically 'lower-class occupants' and 'inharmonious racial groups.' And beginning in the 1950s, the interstate highway system displaced over a million Americans and demolished thriving commercial corridors. The destroyed neighborhoods and uprooted families were predominantly Black and poor.
These decisions contribute to an enduring legacy of poverty. EquityPAC will advocate for significant changes to infrastructure planning and stakeholder engagement to create stronger, more vibrant communities.
Transportation isn't the only part of the built environment that disproportionately impacts people of color. Ninety-four percent of elevated lead levels occur in Black, Hispanic, and Asian children. Black Americans also have a greater risk of premature death from particle pollution.
Fortunately, many planners and agencies now acknowledge the consequences of infrastructure decisions made through a racial lens. EquityPAC will amplify this conversation and advocate to correct mistakes and develop meaningful community engagement. We will also support replacing gas and diesel vehicles with more energy-efficient, electrical modes of transportation and robust public transportation options.