Infrastructure plan to address punitive highway design

Highways that long ago decided neighborhoods will be investigated to determine if their construction was done with racist intent, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Monday. The study is part of the president's public works infrastructure plan.

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National News

November 9, 2021 - 10:15 AM

The aging elevated highway through Hartford is one of Connecticut's biggest transportation problems. Money from the infrastructure bill just passed by Congress will go toward studying this problem further. Photo by Mark Mirko / The Hartford Courant / TNS

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Monday that his agency will use about $1 billion from President Joe Biden’s public works legislation to remedy racial inequities in U.S. highway design, such as roads that were built to separate predominantly minority neighborhoods from White communities.

The program, called “Reconnecting Communities,” in some cases will tear down or rebuild highways and overpasses, he said. Federal officials will consider local desires as they identify projects, he said at a White House briefing.

“It’s going to vary by community and we have to listen to the community,” Buttigieg said. “Sometimes it really is the case that an overpass went in a certain way that is so harmful that it’s got to come down or maybe be put underground. Other times maybe it’s not that way. Maybe the really important thing is to connect across, to add rather than subtract.”

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