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A Congressman’s Parting Message to Transit Supporters: Get Excited

Peter DeFazio — a longtime advocate for bikes, buses and greener infrastructure who is set to retire in 2022 — shares where he sees opportunity ahead. 

Congressman Peter DeFazio, a Democrat from Oregon, second left, with U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, right, as they tour electric buses in Eugene, Oregon, in July 14, 2021. DeFazio has been championing greener transportation options since the 1990s. 

Congressman Peter DeFazio, a Democrat from Oregon, second left, with U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, right, as they tour electric buses in Eugene, Oregon, in July 14, 2021. DeFazio has been championing greener transportation options since the 1990s. 

Photographer: Moriah Ratner/Bloomberg

Long before climate alarm bells were sounding as loudly as they are now, Peter DeFazio was Congress’s champion for low-carbon transportation. 

Congressman DeFazio of Oregon, who announced his retirement earlier this month after more than three decades in the House of Representatives, helped to create legislation that supported transit users, bicyclists and pedestrians as early as the 1990s, and has advocated for a substantial increase in infrastructure spending since the Obama years. As one of the original cosponsors of the Green New Deal, he pushed for a massive shift away from fossil fuels while powering an equitable job boom.