The U.S. Department of Transportation is now accepting applications for the new Reconnecting Communities pilot program, a $1 billion grant program was established by the bipartisan infrastructure law last year.
The Reconnecting Communities pilot program will help reconnect communities that were previously cut off from economic opportunities by transportation infrastructure. Reconnecting a community could mean adapting existing infrastructure– such as building a pedestrian walkway over or under an existing highway– to better connect neighborhoods to opportunities or better means of access such as crosswalks and redesigned intersections.
States, local governments, federally recognized tribal governments, metropolitan planning organizations and non-profit organizations are eligible. Applications are due Oct. 13, 2022.
“Transportation can connect us to jobs, services, and loved ones, but we‘ve also seen countless cases around the country where a piece of infrastructure cuts off a neighborhood or a community because of how it was built,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
“Using funds from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are proud to announce the launch of Reconnecting Communities: the first-ever dedicated federal initiative to unify neighborhoods living with the impacts of past infrastructure choices that divided them.”
Funding preference will be given to applications from economically disadvantaged communities, especially those with projects that are focused on equity and environmental justice, DOT said in a press release. Applications will be accepted through Oct. 13, with awards expected to be announced early next year.
DOT also launched the Thriving Communities Initiative on Thursday, a program that will provide technical assistance and planning support for infrastructure projects that serve disadvantaged communities. Applications will be open in the fall.