Transportation Dept. Grants $185 Mln For 45 Projects To Reconnect Communities

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced a $185 million grant for 45 projects through the new Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program, a first-of-its-kind initiative to reconnect communities that are cut off from opportunity and burdened by past transportation infrastructure decisions.

“We are proud to announce the first grantees of our Reconnecting Communities Program, which will unite neighborhoods, ensure the future is better than the past, and provide Americans with better access to jobs, health care, groceries and other essentials,” said Buttigieg.

In the first round of funding for the Reconnecting Communities Program, the Department of Transportation is awarding 39 Planning Grants and six Capital Construction grants.

Buffalo, New York will receive $55.6 million to build a new highway cap and tunnel over the Kensington Expressway, a physical barrier that isolates residents on the city’s primarily Black east side. The cap will reconnect several east-west roads that the expressway severed.

The City of Long Beach, California, will receive $30 million to redesign West Shoreline Drive, converting the urban freeway into a landscaped, lower-speed roadway.

Sac and Fox Tribe of Mississippi in Iowa/Meskwaki will receive $1.2 million to plan a project to cross barriers formed by US Highway 30, a highway that has created hazardous conditions for the rural, tribal community that lives to the east but works on the west side of the highway.

Birmingham, Alabama will receive $800,000 for the city’s Transportation Capital Investment Plan, which will advance data-driven transportation recommendations to mitigate the negative impacts of existing rail and highway infrastructure on the connectivity of many of Birmingham’s historic neighborhoods, and historically Black communities especially.

Baltimore, Maryland will receive $2 million to address the impacts caused by the construction of US 40/Franklin-Mulberry Expressway. Commonly referred to as “The Highway to Nowhere,” the never-completed project divided several historically Black communities on the city’s west side. This award will help plan for the redesign or removal of the highway to improve safety, access, opportunity, and innovation in West Baltimore.

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