INVESTING IN AMERICA: Biden-Harris Administration Makes over $600 Million Available for Projects that Reconnect Communities

INVESTING IN AMERICA: Biden-Harris Administration Makes over 0 Million Available for Projects that Reconnect Communities

Biden-Harris Administration opens application period for the Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program, established through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, to fund locally-driven projects such as interstate caps, highway removals, complete streets, and Main Street revitalizations 

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the third round of the Department’s popular Reconnecting Communities Pilot (RCP) Program, with the FY24 NOFO containing FY24-26 funding of more than $600 million available for both capital construction and community planning grants. This continues the stream of investment from the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law flowing to communities across the country as part of our Infrastructure Decade.  

This year, communities that are interested in the program but not yet ready to submit an application for funding can request free technical assistance through DOT’s Reconnecting Communities Institute to explore project feasibility in their communities.  

Last year, the Reconnecting Communities Pilot was combined with the Neighborhood Access and Equity (NAE) program, joining two initiatives created through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to help revitalize and reconnect communities cut off from opportunity by past transportation infrastructure decisions, with a combined $3.3 billion in funding that supported projects in 130 communities. To date, 176 communities have benefited from RCP and NAE funding. 

“Through President Biden’s infrastructure law, we’re addressing infrastructure choices of the past and making sure that our transportation investments serve to connect, rather than divide, people and communities across the country,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “This funding will support projects that bring people closer to jobs, schools, housing, places of worship, and one another.”   

Even with last year’s one-time infusion of funding from the Inflation Reduction Act, the program was oversubscribed and highly competitive. 

Reconnecting projects awarded funding earlier this year include: 

  • The Reconnecting Atlanta’s Southside Communities: Atlanta BeltLine to Flint River Trail Project in Atlanta, Georgia will construct a multi-use trail to connect schools, hospitals, job centers, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) rail stations, the BeltLine, and employment centers that were cut off by the construction of major interstates around Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. In the small railroad towns surrounding the airport, I-85, I-285, and GA-166 sliced the fabric of residential neighborhoods. This project is a regional collaboration crossing multiple jurisdictions and will link disadvantaged communities in an area long passed over for federal transportation investments. 
  • The Reconnecting 4th Ave N: A Two-Way Vision for Reviving Legacy and Inspiring Progress Project in Birmingham, Alabama was awarded a grant for a 15-block Complete Streets redesign of Birmingham’s Black Main Street. The redesign will include converting the road from one-way to two-way and will help reconnect downtown neighborhoods and businesses divided by the construction of Interstate 65 in the 1960s. The project encompasses the Historic 4th Avenue Business District, a once thriving hub of Black businesses and community in Birmingham. This multimodal project will help to revive the access and connectivity that helped the community thrive prior to its conversion into a one-way street during the 1970s.     
  • The I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project in Portland, Oregon will construct a highway cover that will support new community space and future development while reconnecting Lower Albina to local streets over Interstate 5 (I-5). Building the highway cover is an essential first step to actualizing the community’s vision and improving the transportation network.  The project will connect the heart of the city’s historic Black neighborhood, Lower Albina, to neighborhoods and key destinations across I-5, a major grade separated facility that divided the neighborhood and displaced hundreds of residents when it was constructed. 
  • The I-81 Viaduct Project in Syracuse, New York will remove parts of I-81 to transform the surrounding neighborhood into a complete streets network, increase connections to downtown Syracuse, improve traffic flow, increase safety for cyclists and pedestrians, and spur additional investment in the neighborhood. The highway, which was built in the 1950s and 1960s, serves as a major commuter route, providing access to jobs, businesses, and services downtown, but portions of it divided communities, cutting them off from opportunity. The project supports the planning, design, and construction of the new Canal District, will reconnect streets, and construct two new parks. 

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act are key components of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, which is growing the American economy from the bottom up and middle-out. These investments are rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, driving more than $490 billion in private sector manufacturing and clean energy investments, lowering costs, creating good-paying jobs, and accelerating the transition to a clean energy economy.  

The RCP program is covered under President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which sets the goal that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution. Read more about the Department’s commitment to Justice40 here

The Department remains committed to helping disadvantaged communities access the historic levels of federal funding made available under the Bipartisan Infrastructure law, including through technical assistance programs like Thriving Communities and the Reconnecting Communities Institute

The deadline for applications is 11:59 pm EDT on Monday, September 30, 2024. Applicants may find the Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program NOFO, Frequently Asked Questions, and other helpful resources HERE

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