U.S. DOT interactive map encourages investment in underserved communities

Jan. 7, 2020

The map illustrates data sets for highway, bridge, and transit prospects in opportunity zones

The U.S. DOT has launched a new interactive map designed to highlight federal investment in major infrastructure projects located in and around underserved rural and urban communities.

The detailed information about vital infrastructure resources located in and near these areas—dubbed "opportunity zones"—is intended to encourage further economic investment.

“Opportunity zones have the potential to increase job creation in underserved communities, especially in rural areas, and the department is working to ensure there are transportation links to opportunity zones,” U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said in a statement.

The 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act created a new economic development tool called opportunity zones, which is defined as an economically distressed community designated by the state’s governor and certified by the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. Opportunity zones were created to increase economic development in low-income and distressed communities. Opportunity zones have been designated in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories.

For the past two years, U.S. DOT has worked to engage opportunity zones by updating the criteria of infrastructure programs to address underserved, low-income rural and urban communities. To date, the department has issued 13 Notices of Funding Opportunity that contain opportunity zones language. These programs awarded more than $2 billion in FY 2019.

The U.S. DOT interactive map illustrates data sets for major federal highway projects; interstate exits; National Highway System bridges; intercity bus stations; commuter and light-rail stations; Amtrak; intermodal rail facilities; intermodal marine facilities; major ports; airports; National Highway System; and rail sidings.