Created in President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, funding from the Reconnecting Communities program will help communities previously cut off from economic opportunities by transportation infrastructure. 

The U.S Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg along with other senior leaders from USDOT joined U.S Rep. Terri Sewell, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, and other local leaders in Birmingham, Alabama, to announce the Department is now accepting applications for its Reconnecting Communities pilot program. Birmingham will soon launch Birmingham Xpress, a new bus rapid transit service that aims to connect Alabamans in 25 communities to jobs, schools and healthcare.  

The $1 billion pilot program was created in the Presidents Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that aims to help communities reconnect, that were previously cut off from economic opportunities by transportation infrastructure.  

“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.” 

USDOT will also be launching Thriving Communities, which will provide hands-on planning support for transformative infrastructure projects that service disadvantaged communities. 

This is also said to include a new DOT Navigator to provide better access to technical assistance programs across the Department, and a new program to provide capacity building support to communities. U.S. Housing and Urban Development is providing complementary technical assistance as part of the Thriving Communities program to improve the coordination of housing and transportation planning to advance residents’ access to opportunity and increase housing supply.  

The program is one of the first ever federal programs to ever have funding dedicated solely to a reconnection effort. Transporation infrastructure has often been a barrier for the federal government, therefore this implementation should boost planning efforts.