WASHINGTON- Today, U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin and Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer, Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, Kweisi Mfume, Anthony G. Brown, Jamie B. Raskin, and David Trone (all D-Md.) applauded the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) opening of the application process for the Reconnecting Communities grant program to help identify and remove or retrofit highway infrastructure that creates obstacles to mobility and opportunity. The $1 billion program is modeled off of legislation introduced by Senators Van Hollen and Cardin – that the lawmakers then fought to include in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act – to tackle infrastructure projects that have divided communities, like the Highway to Nowhere in West Baltimore. The grant program will target areas harmed by the construction of the Interstate Highway System and will ultimately bring communities together and drive economic development. The House companion bill was introduced by Congressman Brown alongside Congressmen Mfume, Sarbanes, Ruppersberger, and Trone.
“The Highway to Nowhere has divided West Baltimore for decades – displacing nearly 1,500 residents over time. The opening of this grant application marks the next step in our efforts to remove harmful infrastructure and bring people together instead of holding our communities back. We’ll be working alongside the City to secure this grant funding and create a plan to finally rid West Baltimore of the Highway to Nowhere – a clear example of inequitable infrastructure and its lasting negative impacts on communities,” said the lawmakers.
Preference will be given to applications from economically disadvantaged communities, especially those with projects that are focused on equity and environmental justice, have strong community engagement and stewardship, and a commitment to shared prosperity and equitable development. Of the $1 billion available from the grant program over the next 5 years, $195 million will be available this year and $50 million will be dedicated to planning activities for communities that may be earlier in the process.
The Reconnecting Communities Notice of Funding Opportunity announced today can be found here. Information on Reconnecting Communities technical assistance and other resources can be found here. Applications are due October 13, 2022. Awards are expected to be announced in early 2023. The new DOT Navigator can be accessed here and information on the Thriving Communities program can be found here.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act invests more than $7 billion directly in Maryland’s infrastructure, creating greater equity, good-paying American jobs, and safer roads, bridges, transit systems, and more.