Transportation Secretary: Inequitable Distribution of Sidewalks Is Obstacle to American Dream

By Eric Scheiner | March 31, 2016 | 11:33am EDT
U.S. DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told a crowd in North Carolina Tuesday that “only 49% of low-income neighborhoods have sidewalks” while more affluent areas have near 90%. In order to have a society where “everyone has a shot at the American Dream, than it’s imperative that we acknowledge these challenges.”

Foxx made the comments to the Charlotte Rotary Club where he discussed the ways that infrastructure should connect people to opportunity.

During his speech, Foxx referenced a map of Atlanta that showed areas of pedestrian and bicycle accidents. “The grey areas represent communities of concentrated poverty. This is representative of what’s occurring nationally, which is not surprising, because only 49% of low-income neighborhoods have sidewalks. In high-income areas the number is closer to 90%.”

“So, if we want a society in which everyone has a shot at the American dream, than it is imperative that we acknowledge these challenges,” Foxx said.

Foxx hired the U.S. Transportation Department’s first “Chief Opportunities Officer” in 2015. The position aims to make sure “Ladders of Opportunity inatives are coordinated, advanced and implemented across all levels of DOT,” according to the U.S. Transportation website.

In 2014, Foxx prioritized the criteria for federal TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grants by adding “access to opportunities” as a criteria the government should take into account when awarding grants.

“Transportation is about more than getting from one point to another--it’s about getting from where you are to a better life,” said Secretary Foxx in a press release discussing ‘Ladders of Opportunity’ grants in 2014.

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