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Additional Nelson Mullins Alerts

March 22, 2024

Biden-Harris Administration Allocates Historic $3.3B for Community Reconnection Projects

Over 130 communities across 41 states and Washington, D.C. will benefit from Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act funding

By Rod Hall

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced $3.33 billion in grants for 132 projects to reconnect communities previously cut off by transportation infrastructure, addressing historic disparities. These initiatives, part of President Joe Biden’s Investing in America Agenda, aim to provide direct access to essential resources like schools, jobs, and medical facilities. Additional funding from the Inflation Reduction Act marks an 18-fold increase from the previous year's investments.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg emphasized the administration's commitment to fixing past infrastructure decisions that divided communities. Projects awarded include various planning and construction grants across different cities, such as Atlanta, Portland, Oregon, Birmingham, Alabama, and Montgomery, Alabama. These grants will address the impacts of highways that historically divided neighborhoods and disproportionately affect marginalized communities. The programs are aligned with Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, aiming to ensure 40% of benefits flow to disadvantaged communities.

Last year's grants focused on transformative solutions like capping interstates with parks and converting transportation facilities into Complete Streets — streets designed and operated to enable safe use and support mobility for uses of all ages and abilities, regardless of whether they are traveling as drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, or public transportation riders. The Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program and Neighborhood Access and Equity grants, now combined, prioritize disadvantaged communities and aim to improve access to essential services. This joint application process streamlines access to infrastructure funding under the Biden-Harris Administration's agenda.

The Southern Gateway Public Green Foundation, a Nelson Mullins client based in Dallas, was one of the community-driven projects selected to receive a grant award through the Reconnecting Communities Pilot and Neighborhood Access and Equity Program. 

“We are beyond thrilled to have been one of the successful applicants,” said April Allen, president and CEO of Southern Gateway Public Green Foundation. “Our project is designed to restore connectivity to a historic African-American community that was split in half in the 1950s with the advent of Interstate 35E. The grant award of $25 million brings us one step closer to further igniting environmental, economic, and community revitalization to an often overlooked area in Southern Dallas.”

Rod Hall is a senior policy advisor in the Washington, D.C. office of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough. He served as a political appointee to the U.S. Department of Transportation during the Obama Administration.