Announced on Friday, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) will be helping 64 communities across the country get access to funding from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) through the Thriving Communities Program.
The new program provides two years of no-cost technical assistance to disadvantaged communities that will help identify, develop, and deliver transportation projects to communities. In the first year of this program a large proportion of the communities selected had submitted previous applications for federal funding that were unsuccessful because they did not have the same resources to complete their applications.
"The historic investments we are making in America’s infrastructure must reach the communities that need them the most,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “With the new Thriving Communities program, we are helping under-resourced communities better access federal funding for transportation projects that will create jobs, improve safety, and strengthen their economies.”
Funding from the program aims to help communities get assistance for a variety of tasks. Communities submitted Letters of Interest for support and were selected through a competitive process.
“Growing an inclusive and stable economy requires technical assistance that helps communities develop and advance projects that connect people to the resources they need,” said Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy Christopher Coes.
Selected communities will be grouped into four "Communities of Practice" identified by USDOT based on their unique technical assistance needs. The Communities of Practice are:
- Main Streets – Focused on Tribal, rural and small-town communities and the interconnected transportation, community, and economic development issues they face.
- Complete Neighborhoods – Focused on urban and suburban communities located within Metropolitan Planning Organization planning areas working to better advance complete streets policies and coordinate transportation with land use, housing, and economic development.
- Complete Transit-Oriented Neighborhoods – Focused on urban and suburban communities located within metropolitan regions working to advance equitable transit-oriented development and improve safe, reliable and accessible transit service.
- Networked Communities – Focused on those communities located near ports, airports, freight, and rail facilities to address mobility, access, housing, environmental justice, and economic issues.
Thriving Communities ensures that all communities have an equal opportunity to benefit from federal infrastructure funding. USDOT’s technical assistance is part of the Thriving Communities Network, an interagency initiative among the Departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, Energy, Commerce, and Agriculture, the General Services Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
“Communities that have long faced historic underinvestment and disadvantage are finally going to get the technical assistance they need to explore innovative concepts and build better transportation solutions through the Thriving Communities Program,” said Build America Bureau Executive Director Morteza Farajian.