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Reconnecting Communities

Today’s interstate freeways and other infrastructure projects within urban areas were usually built through existing communities to make them cost effective even though they cut the community on either side off from each other.

President Biden proposed $2.5 billion per year in new investments to reconnect communities divided by past infrastructure projects. The Common Sense Coalition, now with President Biden’s support, proposes $200 million per year. The Problem Solver Caucus calls for $1.3 billion per year.

The Case for a Big Investment

President Biden argues that when discussing new infrastructure investments, we cannot ignore that past infrastructure projects have been unfair. The communities divided by highway projects in the name of cost-efficiency and convenience for everyone else, the President observes, have disproportionately been communities of color and lower-income communities. The White House argues that we should address those past injustices by investing in reconnecting divided communities. We should also promote rather than diminish racial and economic justice, the Biden Administration argues, with new infrastructure projects. In the process, supporters argue, we can create more jobs.

The Case Against

Not infrastructure.

The Evidence

A recent Urban Institute report summarizes how the decisions about where to locate interstate highways and other roads have disproportionately imposed the negative impacts on working class communities and communities of color.