INVEST in America Act a Positive Step Toward a Clean, Resilient, and Equitable Future

Statement by Johanna Chao Kreilick, President, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Jul 1, 2021

WASHINGTON (July 1, 2021)—The U.S. House today passed the “Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America Act’’ (INVEST in America Act), a bill to update our surface transportation and water infrastructure. Included in the bill is language championed by UCS that creates a climate-safe infrastructure working group, bringing together scientists, engineers and architects to better design our public infrastructure to withstand the impacts of climate change. The bill makes major investments in climate resilience, vehicle electrification, public transit, and environmental justice and equity. That’s an important step, and a strong start for the investments we need to make to move us toward a clean energy and transportation future, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

Below is a statement by Johanna Chao Kreilick, president of UCS.

“Today, our country faces serious and overlapping crises—pervasive racial inequity and economic inequality; aging and outdated infrastructure; the devastating human and economic cost of the COVID-19 pandemic; and the increasing danger of climate change, which has already delivered extreme weather, record-breaking heat, and coastal and inland flooding to communities all over the country. The time is now to use every tool at our disposal to alleviate these crises and make sure we’re prepared for what’s ahead.

“The INVEST in America Act is a step in the right direction to move the nation’s infrastructure into the 21st century. It invests billions of dollars to help electrify transportation, including for zero-emission buses and charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. It requires states and metropolitan areas to consider greenhouse gas emissions and climate impacts in transportation planning. It invests to prepare for future disasters and to make our communities more resilient to the growing impacts of climate change. And it directs investments to the communities with the greatest need, including economically-disadvantaged and underserved communities, flood-prone areas and Tribal governments.

“The passage of the INVEST in America Act is an encouraging sign that Congress can respond to the challenges we face with smart policies that reduce emissions, advance zero-emission vehicles and make our transportation system climate-ready. In the months to come, Congress has an opportunity to make a historic investment in the future we want to build: a future that is cleaner, more equitable and more resilient. This is just one step on the path forward—Congress must rise to the moment with bold, forward-thinking action.”