Corinne Kisner, Executive Director of the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), today issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) announcement awarding $185 million in grants to reconnect communities previously divided by transportation infrastructure:
USDOT’s award of $185 million to reconnect communities in cities across the U.S. is a critical step toward reinvesting in access to opportunity and healing the deep wounds inflicted by flawed transportation policies that, for decades, divided instead of connected Americans to each other.
The grants from the “Reconnecting Communities” program will fund projects that prioritize people instead of cars; create opportunities for new housing, parks and community space; and ensure residents can more easily access jobs, schools and the other resources they need to thrive.
Transformational grants across the country include:
- $5M to remove a flyover and ramp in Tampa, FL that exacerbated economic isolation for historically Black neighborhoods.
- $30M to redesign a highway in Long Beach, CA, transforming it into a welcoming boulevard while connecting residents to open space and freeing up land for affordable housing.
- $2M for critical planning in Baltimore, MD, to remove or retrofit an expressway that divides historically Black communities.
- $1.1M to plan for a new 14-acre park over existing freeways in Atlanta, GA that will reconnect neighborhoods and transform a barrier into a site for connection, health, and opportunity.
The incredible demand for funding similar projects–USDOT received 435 applications but could award just 45–illustrates the crucial importance of this work, and how much more remains to be done for America’s transportation system to truly connect people to opportunity.
NACTO urges states to prioritize projects like the ones funded by Reconnecting Communities–projects that connect people to each other and undo decades of harm–as they determine where to direct the $300 billion of federal transportation funding within their control. Creative approaches, from transforming highways into boulevards to building parks on top of what was previously acres of asphalt, can help strengthen communities and create a more equitable, prosperous future.
About the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)
NACTO is an association of 94 major North American cities and transit agencies formed to exchange transportation ideas, insights, and practices and cooperatively approach national transportation issues. The organization’s mission is to build cities as places for people, with safe, sustainable, accessible, and equitable transportation choices that support a strong economy and vibrant quality of life. To learn more, visit NACTO.org or follow us on Twitter at @NACTO and Instagram at @NACTOcities.
Alex Engel | [email protected]
Billy Richling | [email protected]
For Immediate Release
February 28th, 2023