The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) this week announced the release of the department's first Dismantling Systemic Racism and Inequities (DSRI) report.
This report evaluates PennDOT's diversity and inclusion efforts, looks to better understand structural racism in transportation, and evaluates programs and initiatives that could help support equitable transportation in Pennsylvania, the department says.
"Race and transportation have long been intertwined, and the nation's infrastructure investments have impacted generations of people of color," PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian said in a statement. "It's our responsibility to be honest about these impacts and take definitive steps toward a transportation system that serves everyone equitably."
PennDOT oversees programs and policies affecting highways, urban and rural public transportation, airports, railroads, ports, and waterways. More than three-quarters of PennDOT's annual budget is invested in Pennsylvania's approximately 120,000 miles of state and local highways and 32,000 state and local bridges.
PennDOT's DSRI report was spearheaded by a working group representing staff from across the department that met weekly to evaluate various measures of equity across PennDOT's operations and identify areas for improvement.
The DSRI report discusses how PennDOT can achieve greater equity in the areas of contracting, public involvement, community investment, boards and commissions, and the agency's own internal culture. PennDOT says the report was informed through discussions with community leaders, PennDOT staff who are people of color, and leaders at other state departments of transportation. Additionally, the report reflects the work of an executive working group, which embarked on several initiatives that will have short- and long-term impacts on vulnerable populations and communities of color.
SOURCE: Pennsylvania DOT