Freeway Fighters Digest (week of 6/27)

Lauren MayerWeekly News Digest

Hi all,

Here is what is being said about freeway fighting this week. If you come across any articles, feel free to share and please let me know if you have any questions.

Next Tuesday (7/5) at 12pm ET join CNU for our On the Park Bench webinar “Freeway Fighters: Reconnecting the City.” Featuring freeway fighters from three corners of America, Albany, NY, Austin, TX, and Seattle, WA, they will discuss strategies and what cities with campaigns can learn from one another. Register here.

In case you missed it: the first round of financing for the federal Reconnecting Communities grant program was announced yesterday at an event in Birmingham, AL. It is the first-ever program to help reconnect communities that were previously cut off from economic opportunities by transportation infrastructure. The deadline for applications is October 13, 2022. Learn more.

Freeway Fighters news

Lofts at the Ballpark demolition paused as I-45 expansion meets more obstacles
Community Impact June 25, 2022
Houston officials put a pause on the demolition process of the Lofts at the Ballpark apartment complex amid concerns surrounding the North Houston Highway Improvement Project, which is being investigated by the federal government.

Advocates Hope the Next Texas Freeway Widening Won’t Be the Like the Previous | Planetizen News
Planetizen June 26, 2022
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is conducting a corridor study of 12 miles of Interstate 30 between Interstate 820 and Chisholm Trail Parkway with the potential to widen the freeway for promised safety, mobility, and congestion benefits.

Lawsuit alleges TxDOT’s I-35 expansion project is ‘clearly violating the law’ – Austin Monitor
Austin Monitor June 27, 2022
Three Texas organizations – Texas Public Interest Research Group, Environment Texas and Rethink35 – have come together to file a lawsuit against the Texas Department of Transportation over its plans to expand Interstate 35.

Dallas City Council Members Walk Back Promise to Remove I-345
D Magazine June 28, 2022
In early 2014, the Texas Department of Transportation told the city of Dallas that it wouldn’t remove IH-345, the 1.7-mile elevated highway that stands between downtown and Deep Ellum. 

TxDOT ‘clearly violating the law’ with I-35 expansion in Austin, lawsuit alleges – Chron
Chron June 28, 2022
The Texas Department of Transportation is being sued over the I-35 expansion project in Austin. 

I-35 expansion in Austin faces federal court battle – Axios
Axios June 28, 2022
The widening of I-35 is destined for a long, contentious fight, as a trio of nonprofits is now suing the state highway department over its plans.

Three groups sue TxDOT over I-35 Captial Express Central expansion projects – CBS Austin
CBS Austin June 28, 2022
The Texas Public Interest Research Group (TexPIRG), Environment Texas, and the Rethink35 campaign has filed a lawsuit against the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) over TxDOT’s plans to spend over $1 billion to expand I-35 to 19+ lanes in the north and south of the Austin area.

Groups file lawsuit against TxDOT over Austin-area I-35 expansion project |
KVUE June 28, 2022
Several groups have filed a lawsuit against the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) in opposition to its plan to expand Interstate 35 in the Austin area.

Texas Government Sued Amid Environmental Concern Over Highway Widening
Law Street Media June 28, 2022
Rethink35, Texas Public Interest Research Group, and Environment Texas filed a complaint against the Texas Department Of Transportation and its executive director, Marc D. Williams, alleging the defendants violated National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

Idaho’s Highway 95 expansion near Moscow faces opposition from environmental group
Idaho Capital Sun June 29, 2022
Highway and environmental safety clash as the construction project prepares to break ground

Three Austin-based advocacy groups sue TxDOT over I-35 expansion through Central Texas
Austin American-Statesman June 29, 2022
Three Austin-based advocacy groups are suing the Texas Department of Transportation over plans to expand 28 miles of Interstate 35 through Central Texas, claiming that the agency improperly split the project into three parts and has failed to properly study its overall impact.

DOT launches ‘Reconnecting Communities’ grant program to bolster transportation – NY1
NY1 June 30, 2022
The Biden administration on Thursday unveiled its new Reconnecting Communities pilot program, an effort that aims — as its name suggests — to “reconnect communities that were previously cut off from economic opportunities by transportation infrastructure,” per a statement. 

Biden Administration Announces First-Ever Funding Program Dedicated to Reconnecting …
Department of Transportation June 30, 2022
Today, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and other senior leaders from USDOT will join 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 the first-of-its-kind Reconnecting Communities pilot program.

Biden administration to spend $1B reconnecting communities – Detroit Free Press
Detroit Free Press June 30, 2022
The Biden administration is launching a $1 billion pilot project funded by last year’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help reconnect communities where highway projects of the past displaced neighborhoods in many U.S. cities.

Buttigieg taps funds to undo transportation damage in neighborhoods
The Washington Post June 30, 2022
For decades, planners and politicians have spent money to carve highways through disadvantaged neighborhoods.

U.S. to provide $1 bln to reconnect neighborhoods divided by highways, rail | Reuters
Reuters June 30, 2022
The U.S. government will provide $1 billion to neighborhoods that have been divided by highways, rail lines or other transportation infrastructure, officials from the U.S. Department of Transportation said on Thursday.

Four Things Advocates Need to Know About the ‘Reconnecting Communities’ Program
Streetsblog USA June 30, 2022
A disappointingly small new federal fund to help repair the devastation inflicted by highway builders on predominantly Black, brown, and poor communities is now accepting applications 

Feds Launch $1B Initiative to Rework Infrastructure That Cut Apart Cities – Route Fifty
Route Fifty June 30, 2022
Localities applying for federal money to reconnect neighborhoods carved apart  by highways, rail lines or other infrastructure will get an edge if they consult with long-time residents, businesses and community groups, the Biden administration announced Thursday.

US infrastructure: Buttigieg launches $1B pilot to reconnect disadvantaged communities
Fox Business June 30, 2022
Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced a $1 billion pilot program aimed at reconnecting communities that were previously cut off from economic opportunities by transportation infrastructure. 

Pete Buttigieg Earmarks $1B to End Racism in Highway Planning – The Crime Report
The Crime Report June 30, 2022
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg plans to implement the first road-building program centered on racial equity, earmarking $1 billion in aid toward the effort, reports the Associated Press.

Pete Buttigieg launches $1B pilot to build racial equity in America’s roads – NPR
NPR June 30, 2022
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Thursday launched a $1 billion first-of-its-kind pilot program aimed at helping reconnect cities and neighborhoods racially segregated or divided by road projects, pledging wide-ranging help to dozens of communities despite the program’s limited dollars.

US Announces Community Reconnection Program July 1, 2022
The U.S. Department of Transportation Thursday announced a $1 billion plan to reconnect U.S. communities that are cut off from economic opportunities by transportation infrastructure.

US Department of Transportation now accepting applications for Reconnecting … – Smart Cities Dive
Smart Cities Dive July 1, 2022
The U.S. Department of Transportation announced Thursday it is accepting applications for the Reconnecting Communities pilot program.

DOT announces “Reconnecting Communities” initiative in Birmingham – WVTM 13
WVTM 13 July 1, 2022
U.S Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg announced an initiative aimed at helping communities restore connectivity between neighborhoods along with Birmingham city leaders.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announces ‘Reconnecting Communities …
Yellowhammer News July 1, 2022
Thursday, Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg traveled to Birmingham and announced the $1 billion pilot “Reconnecting Communities” program, which is meant to help cities and neighborhoods that were racially divided by roads and other transportation infrastructure projects.

Buttigieg announces funding of program to aid communities harmed by racist urban planning
The American Independent July 1, 2022
Racism has played a key role in the planning and implementing of public infrastructure projects across the country.

Neighborhoods Wrecked by Racist Freeway Construction Could Get a Boost From New Biden Fund
Gizmodo July 1, 2022
The federal government on Thursday announced a program targeted at undoing the racist road and highway development of past decades. 

Buttigieg Announces $1B Program To Reconnect Low-Income Communities – The Root
The Root July 1, 2022
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is spearheading a $1 Billion pilot program named Reconnecting Communities to help connect cities and roads that were racially segregated and divided by road projects.

US Transportation Department to spend $1 billion on reconnecting divided cities | National
The Moore County News July 1, 2022
The U.S. Department of Transportation on Thursday announced a new program aiming to spend $1 billion in an effort to reconnect disconnected cities.

This is the U.S. government’s $1 billion plan to fix racist infrastruc – Fast Company
Fast Company July 1, 2022
The Biden administration announced on Thursday that it is launching a $1 billion project to redress damage done to historically disadvantaged communities—primarily Black and brown neighborhoods—which have been the target of past racist infrastructure projects. 

I-345 Debate: How Much Time Does the Evil Highway Really Save Us? – D Magazine
D Magazine July 1, 2022
Our Matt Goodman reported Monday on a recent meeting of the city’s Transportation Committee.