Highlights from the First 100 Days of the Biden-Harris Administration’s USDOT

Here’s how we’ve been helping get American back on track.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has been working hard since day one of the Biden-Harris Administration to “Build Back Better.” Within the first 100 days, we’ve broken barriers, set new priorities to create a sustainable and equitable future, funded infrastructure projects across the transportation system, supported American jobs, and remained competitive in the global economy.

Here’s just a couple highlights of areas where we’ve made great strides:

Keeping the Traveling Public Safe During the Pandemic

The American Rescue Plan (ARP)

The American Rescue Plan has made historic investments in transit, aviation, and rail — helping to keep workers on the job and get travelers to where they need to be. USDOT is working to distribute $43.2 billion in relief funding quickly and responsibility to transportation providers across the nation. For example, the Federal Transit Agency was able to support our nation’s public transportation systems with $30.5 billion in COVID-19 relief funds. These funds allowed our transit systems to continue to operate during the pandemic.

Helping Contain the COVID-19 Crisis

The Department is playing an important role in the all-of-government effort to control the COVID-19 crisis. When TSA and CDC implemented a mask mandate for public transportation, USDOT stepped up to ensure the Department’s stakeholders had the information and support they needed. One way DOT did this was by launching a Mask Up Toolkit that provides graphics and resources to help remind people to mask up when riding public transportation systems.

Supporting Historic Investments in American Jobs

The American Jobs Plan (AJP)

Secretary Buttigieg, in his role as part of the “Jobs Cabinet” has been one of the Administration’s chief advocates for the American Jobs Plan. The American Jobs Plan will position the U.S. to lead in infrastructure and innovation. This historic investment will create millions of good jobs, rebuild our country’s infrastructure, and help us remain competitive in the global economy. The plan includes an additional $621 billion of investment in transportation infrastructure and resilience, which addresses racial equity by providing better jobs and better transportation systems to underserved communities. It will also invest in building a more resilient infrastructure for our future and reliable passenger and freight rail service; transform our crumbling road to be safer and more sustainable; modernize our country’s public transit; improve ports, waterways, and airports; create jobs that promote electric vehicles and more. You can click here for the full details.

Beginning to Address Inequities and Systemic Racism in Transportation

Key Meetings with Leaders

Throughout his first 100 days Secretary Pete has been meeting with leaders and organizations to discuss how we can make equity central to our work. For example, early on, Secretary Pete virtually met with the African American Mayors Association where he recognized the issues of underrepresented communities and committed to working with local leaders to address racial equity as we rebuild America’s infrastructure.

Funding for Projects that Focus on Equity

Our Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program makes available $1 billion for projects that modernize our infrastructure with an emphasis on sustainability and equity.

The Department’s Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) discretionary grant program makes available $889 million for projects. The program will fund infrastructure projects that create good-paying jobs, improve safety, apply transformative technology, and explicitly address climate change and racial equity.

Working to Fight Climate Change and Create Jobs

White House Climate Leaders Summit

Secretary Pete discussed the Department’s role in working together to help combat climate change and create good-paying jobs with global leaders during the White House’s Climate Leaders Summit. He talked about future investments for transportation — electric vehicles, public transit, road redesign for pedestrians, and sustainable, innovative materials.

Support for Electric Vehicles

Secretary Pete and Gina McCarthy celebrated Earth Day by discussing the future of electric vehicles and infrastructure. The transportation sector is the biggest contributor to greenhouse gases. The American Jobs Plan calls for a significant investment in making electric vehicles more affordable and installing 500,000 charging stations nationwide to make strides to help combat climate change and create jobs.

Investments in Transit

In addition to the transformative investment in transit called for in the President’s American Jobs Plan, the FTA has been working to distribute existing funds that help transit agencies and communities make a difference today.

In the first 100 days of this new administration, the USDOT’s FTA made available $180 million for transit agencies throughout the nation to upgrade their bus fleets using low or no emissions technology. Learn more from Administrator Nuria Fernandez.

FTA also made available $10 million for the pilot program of its Transit Oriented Development Planning (TOD). This funding invests in projects that increase transit access and encourage ridership with mixed-use and mixed-income development near public transportation projects. Greater reliance on transit, means less cars on the road and fewer emissions.

A New Chief Science Officer

Also in the first 100 days USDOT appointed a Chief Science Officer for the first time in over 40 years and re-designated a Scientific Integrity Officer, who will be responsible for research policy implementation. We will be more climate conscious as we build our nation’s infrastructure.

An End to the SAFE 1 Rule

The Department is proposing a rule change that if enacted would remove a crucial barrier to the ability of states to implement their own greenhouse gas and zero-emissions vehicle regulation to combat climate change.

Helping the U.S. Compete in the Global Economy

Support for Shipyards

The Department’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) awarded nearly $20 million in grants to thirty-one small shipyards. This will help strengthen the U.S. shipyard industry. In addition, MARAD’s Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP) makes available $230 million in discretionary grant funds for port and intermodal infrastructure-related projects that will support our nation’s long-term economic vitality.

Support for Local Transportation Projects

Through two innovative re-financings The Department’s Build America Bureau (the Bureau) saved Texas transit authorities millions of dollars, helping keep capital projects on track even as budgets were strained during the pandemic. One refinancing saved the Dallas Area Rapid Transit $190 million for the Silver Line Regional Rail Project in Dallas under the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing program. It also saved Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority more than $80 million under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loan through the Bureau for tollway projects in the Austin, Texas metropolitan area to help reduce congestion and improve mobility, safety, and accessibility.

Support for Aviation

The Department’s Aviation Manufacturing Protection (AMJP) program will soon make $3 billion available to businesses involved in aircraft manufacturing, maintenance, and repair to pay up to half of their compensation costs for certain categories of employees, for up to six months. The AMJP program was created under the American Rescue Plan. The Department is encouraging eligible small and socioeconomically disadvantaged businesses.

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This is only just some of the work we’ve accomplished so far and a fraction of what we’ll achieve these next four years to enhance our nation’s infrastructure at USDOT. You can click here for more information on the USDOT’s first 100 days during the Biden-Harris Administration.

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