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$195m available for Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program

  •   2 min read

Funding will support the removal or redesign of transportation infrastructure that has negatively impacted low-income and minority communities.

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America’s transportation infrastructure, whether it be highways, bridges, or railroads, has been a major engine of national prosperity. Yet much of this infrastructure was built in a manner which harmed or even destroyed low-income and minority communities. To help correct this long-standing injustice, Congress included as part of the recent Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act the new Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program, with $1b in funding over five years. The program provides planning and construction grants for projects to retrofit, remove, or redesign highways, roadways, railroads, and other transportation infrastructure which is designed in a way that divides communities. On June 30, 2022, the US Department of Transportation released the Notice of Funding Opportunity for this program, with $195m available in FY22.

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The Reconnecting Communities grant will fund planning and capital construction of projects which remove, retrofit, or mitigate the effect of transportation facilities (such as roads, highways, and railways) which create barriers to community connectivity through design factors, including high speeds and grade separation. Possible eligible projects include the conversion of elevated highways into street-level boulevards, creation of linear parks and pedestrian walkways, complete streets redesigns, and provision of high-quality public transportation.

Grants can fund either capital construction or planning activities. For capital construction, owners of eligible facilities may apply for grants between $5m to $100m, with $145m available in total. For planning, $50m is available in grants with awards ranging from $100k to $2m. States, local governments, tribal governments, MPOs, and non-profits may apply for planning grants. A minimum 20% local match is required for planning grants, while a 50% match is required for capital construction.

DOT will rank applications on the degree to which they promote the following criteria: equity, environmental justice, and community engagement; mobility and community connectivity; community-based stewardship, management, and partnerships; and equitable development and shared prosperity.

Via’s mission is to connect communities through the power of transportation. We believe well-planned, accessible transit systems can advance, rather than harm, equity and racial justice. Our Remix planning and mapping suite contains a wealth of tools to plan transit and streets projects around the needs of diverse communities. The Remix platform is specifically designed to help planners and policymakers integrate equity analysis, collaboration, and community engagement (as called for in the RCP grant) into project workflows.

Software (such as Remix) used in developing and implementing an action plan is an eligible expense for the RCP grant. If you’re interested in exploring our planning tools as part of your RCP application, please reach out to partnerships@ridewithvia.com. We’d love to help as you consider applying and can provide insight on the application process. Applications are due October 13, 2022. 

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