HARRISBURG, PA — Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Secretary Yassmin Gramian announced the release of the department’s first Dismantling Systemic Racism and Inequities (DSRI) report, which evaluates PennDOT’s diversity and inclusion efforts, better understanding structural racism in transportation, and evaluating programs and initiatives that could help support equitable transportation in Pennsylvania.
“Race and transportation have long been intertwined, and the nation’s infrastructure investments have impacted generations of people of color,” said Secretary Gramian. “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 also administers the state’s 11.8 million vehicle registrations and 10.3 million driver’s licenses and IDs and oversees safety and emission inspection programs.
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 discussed how PennDOT can achieve greater equity in the areas of contracting, public involvement, community investment, our boards and commissions, and of course, PennDOT’s own internal culture. 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.
“This report is an important step in PennDOT’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, but we know that this work is ongoing,” said Secretary Gramian. “Creating and supporting a quality transportation system that works for everyone is at the center of the department’s mission, and PennDOT is committed to the ongoing work that this requires.”
“The Governor’s Advisory Commission on African American Affairs (GACAAA) recognizes the hard work PennDOT has undertaken to identify and dismantle disparities with both internal and external stakeholders,” said Jalila Parker, Executive Director of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on African American Affairs. “We are committed to working with PennDOT’s Dismantling Systemic Racism and Inequities Working Group on strategic action aimed at creating sustainable and meaningful impact at the Department of Transportation.”
“PennDOT is making great strides in making the department more inclusive to the diverse communities across Pennsylvania,” said Luz Colon, Executive Director of the Governor’s Advisory Commission in Latino Affairs. “As we know, the Latinx population face challenges in mobility and access to transportation. With the partnership of PennDOT’s Dismantling System Racism and Inequity Work Group it is vital to support these efforts for a more inclusive Pennsylvania for many more years to come.”
The PennDOT Dismantling Systemic Racism and Inequities report can be viewed here.
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