A group of radical Democrat lawmakers has signed a letter to pressure Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to spend taxpayer money on reforming what they describe as “racist traffic enforcement.”
More than two dozen Democrats sent the letter to Buttigieg on Thursday.
The group of 27 Democrats includes “Squad” Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Cori Bush (D-MO), Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), and Ilhan Omar (D-MN).
They are demanding that Buttigieg condemns America’s “harmful” traffic enforcement practices.
The Democrats are calling on the Transportation Department to develop reforms that “support the wellbeing of black people traveling on our nation’s roads and highways.”
The group wants Buttigieg to direct tax dollars from Democrat President Joe Biden’s infrastructure law to enact reforms that “move our nation closer to transit equity.”
“On our nation’s roads and highways, black motorists have experienced disproportionate scrutiny and excessive force under the guise of traffic enforcement,” the letter reads.
“As Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation (DOT), we urge you to condemn the status quo of traffic enforcement and develop reforms to reduce racial inequities in traffic stops.”
In their letter, the Democrats argue that funds from the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act, which passed Congress with limited Republican support in 2021, should be used for innovation in traffic enforcement.
Among the recommendations are “eliminating financial barriers to vehicle registration and upgrading traffic lights.”
“Furthermore, some states and localities, such as Virginia, Oregon, and the city of Philadelphia, have made systemic changes, moving minor traffic infractions, such as a single missing taillight or an object hanging on a rear-view mirror, away from enforcement by armed police officers,” the letter stated.
“Traffic safety should not come at the expense of the dignity and safety of the black community.
“The status quo of inequitable traffic enforcement is the product of racist policies, outdated infrastructure, and limited oversight.”
Buttigieg has previously said he wants to address racism built into the country’s highways, roads, and bridges.
In November 2021, he sparked a backlash after arguing that the federal government has a “moral” responsibility to address systemic racism in the county’s infrastructure.
“What we’re doing is we are reconnecting people who may have been disconnected or divided by discriminatory decisions in the past,” the secretary said at the time.
“That helps everybody,” he claimed.
“I don’t know why anybody would be against reconnecting people who have been divided by discriminatory decisions in the past.”
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