U.S. Department of Transportation announces historic new funding opportunity that could reconnect St. Pete communities

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St. Petersburg, FL — The U.S. Department of Transportation issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity yesterday (June 30, 2022) for the first-of-its-kind Reconnecting Communities pilot program established under President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Applications for grant opportunities will be open through October 13 and will provide funding opportunities to reconnect people to economic mobility and essential services within their communities.

This $1 billion program will help reconnect communities that were previously cut off from economic opportunities due to insufficient or ineffective transportation infrastructure. 

This is an historic opportunity for the City of St. Petersburg to pursue a share of $1 billion in federal resources for worthy projects in our community. 

Commitment to shared prosperity and equitable development will be given priority. 

“As one of my top priorities, our Administration is working to incorporate equity into all polices to ensure growth benefits the entire community. This new available funding can serve as a catalyst for building a connected city and dismantling historic transportation barriers to success while connecting businesses to customers and employees and providing safe transportation options, said St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch.

Mayor Welch plans to meet with City staff to explore how to best tap into this historic funding, which comes at a crucial and pivotal moment on the heels of the Historic Gas Plant District RFP announcement at the Tropicana Field site.

Reconnecting a community could mean adapting existing infrastructure — such as building a pedestrian walkway over or under an existing highway — to better connect neighborhoods to jobs — or improved transportation access through new crosswalks and redesigned intersections. 

This new program is an opportunity to support planning efforts that advance projects to a phase where they are more competitive for additional capital funding opportunities.

“I’m grateful to the Biden Administration, including Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, for their work to reconnect communities and their partnership with cities across our nation on this important work,” Mayor Welch said.

Added Secretary Buttigieg: "Transportation can connect us to jobs, services, and loved ones, but we‘ve also seen countless cases around the country where a piece of infrastructure cuts off a neighborhood or a community because of how it was built," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. "Using funds from President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are proud to announce the launch of Reconnecting Communities: the first-ever dedicated federal initiative to unify neighborhoods living with the impacts of past infrastructure choices that divided them."