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US provides $ 1 billion to reconnect highways, rail-divided neighborhoods

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Washington — US Transport According to provincial officials, the US government will provide $ 1 billion to areas divided by highways, rail and other transportation infrastructure.

This fund aims to repair the decades of road and railroad construction that has disproportionately driven minority and low-income communities.

According to historians, local officials across the country have taken advantage of the 1950s and 1960s interstate highway construction boom to pave black districts like Rondo in St. Paul and downtown. Destroyed what was considered a "slam" district near the business district of. 15th district of Syracuse, Minnesota or New York.

Over the next five years, the Department of Transportation will help undo some of its damage through projects such as highway coverings and the construction of pedestrian walkways. Grants will be awarded through the Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program. Railroad line, officials said.

"Our focus is not on assigning blame, it's about solving problems, not getting caught up in guilt or regret," Secretary of Transportation Pete Butigeg said in a conference call. rice field.

The $ 1 billion distributed over five years is less than the $ 20 billion that President Joe Biden originally sought from Congress.

However, authorities said the funds would help get the project on track and make the hundreds of billions of dollars included in other areas of Biden's signature infrastructure law readily available. Of the $ 195 million available this year, $ 50 million is allocated to plans to help the community develop their ideas.

Biden's Department of Transportation has already funded similar projects through other grant programs, including efforts to build parks on the downtown Atlanta highway and the "greenway" of pedestrians and bicycles in St. Louis. It offers.

(reported by Andy Sullivan, edited by Chris Reese)