September 12, 2022

Congresswoman Lee Welcomes Secretary Pete Buttigieg to the East Bay

Oakland, CA – Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) welcomed Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to California’s 13th district to see progress on major infrastructure projects funded in part by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Secretary Buttigieg joined Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and Congresswoman Lee for a bus tour of a City of Oakland project that is being supported by a $14.5 million federal grant. 

The “Reconnecting the Town” project is centered around transportation equity, safety, and reconnection on two major roads, Broadway and Martin Luther King Jr Way. The project will improve infrastructure for people who walk, bike, and take the bus, reconnecting several Oakland neighborhoods to the waterfront. Secretary Buttigieg, Mayor Schaff, and Congresswoman Lee also rode down Interstate 980, a freeway that cut off West Oakland, a primarily Black neighborhood, from downtown Oakland. There is a proposal to demolish I-980, reconnect the community, and improve walkability and greenspace in the neighborhood. 

“After decades of racist planning, disinvestment, and unjust transit policy—across the country and right here in my district—Secretary Buttigieg and the Biden administration are turning the page toward a new era of equitable policy,” said Rep. Lee. “I called and invited Secretary Buttigieg to come to my district because I knew that what he would see here in Oakland is exactly what the Biden administration has set forth in terms of making sure that every single policy had racial equity throughout. The implementation of the $14.5 billion dollar RAISE grant will bring more accessible transportation to residents, help the climate, reconnect communities, create jobs, and so much more. I thank the Secretary for taking the time to visit, and look forward to continuing to work in Congress with the Administration on a cleaner, more equitable future.”

“An investment in transit is an investment in our climate. It is an investment in safety. It is an investment in access to jobs,” said Secretary Buttigieg. “It even benefits the people who don’t use it, because there’s less congestion on the roads for people who are driving when more people do use excellent public transit. We’re thrilled to be able to recognize that. I’m so glad to see for myself for the $14.5 billion dollar RAISE grant is being put to work in order to create greater safety and a more dignified experience for people whether they’re commuting on foot, or by bike, or by public transit around these neighborhoods, and with a vision for equity as well.

Congresswoman Lee advocated for the federal funding to be included in President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law through several grant support letters. It will bring an estimated $45 billion dollars to California over the next several years. About three-quarters of the funding is slated for projects related to highway and public transportation infrastructure; other spending will support broadband, water infrastructure, and airports, among other projects.