Federal grants to help disadvantaged communities plan transportation projects

April 24, 2024

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is awarding $23.6 million in grants to help 112 communities through the second year of the Thriving Communities Program (TCP).

TCP provides technical assistance for underserved areas to utilize Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) funds to identify, develop and deliver transportation projects.

The grants will go to three national and six regional teams, called Thriving Communities Capacity Builders, who will then use the funds to assist local communities. TCP covers two years of free mentorship for disadvantaged areas to execute transportation projects that support local economic development, health, environment, mobility and access.

In 2023, its inaugural year, 37 of the 64 selected communities secured federal funding through DOT grant programs such as Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A), Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) and the Rural and Tribal Assistance Pilot Program.

For example, in Detroit, TCP has supported the Detroit Intermodal Freight Terminal (DIFT) Project, aimed at improving freight transportation efficiency. In Detroit’s southwest area, 85% of census tracts are disadvantaged, facing health and safety issues due to heavy truck traffic. With additional technical assistance, the city has been able to organize the DIFT 2.0 plan, mitigating community impact of notable freight projects.

“The Thriving Communities participants have proven that this technical assistance model can tremendously impact their success rate not only in competing for federal grants, but also in better utilizing innovative solutions to deliver their projects more efficiently and cost-effectively,” Build America Bureau Executive Director Morteza Farajian said in a statement.  

The FY 2023 national capacity builders are:

  • Rural Community Assistance Partnership Inc., which will use $4,250,000 to support 16 communities.
  • Abt Associates Inc., which will use $4,957,180 to support 20 communities.
  • Conference of Minority Transportation Officials, which will use $4,250,000 to support 16 communities.

The FY 2023 regional capacity builders are:

  • Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, which will use $2,000,000 to support 18 communities.
  • State of Colorado Governor’s Office of Economic Recovery, which will use $2,000,000 to support six counties.
  • Fayette-Raleigh Metropolitan Planning Organization, which will use $2,000,000 to support 11 communities in West Virginia.
  • Louisiana Division of Administration Planning Office, which will use $1,921,000 to support six communities.
  • Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission, which will use $1,188,443 to support 14 communities in New Hampshire and Vermont.
  • New York State Department of Transportation, which will use $1,040,779 to support five communities.

Photo courtesy of the Michigan Environmental Council

Gracie Warhurst

Gracie Warhurst has joined Strategic Partnerships, Inc. as a writer and digital content creator for the new Government Market News portal. With a rich background in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin, Warhurst has experience as editor-in-chief of a literary magazine, assistant web editor, and project manager for an AI journalism project. She also contributed as a reporter during the development of SPI's news portal. Warhurst graduated summa cum laude in December 2023 with a Bachelor's in Journalism and a certificate in creative writing, making her a valuable asset to the SPI team.

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