The Federal Highway Administration issued a notice of funding opportunity on July 7 for $60 million worth of Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment or ATCMTD program grants – a program that, for the first time, includes a focus on racial equity, environmental justice, and access to opportunity.
[Above photo by the FHWA]
Established in 2016 under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation or FAST Act, the ATCMTD program provides funding to help states, local governments, transit agencies, and metropolitan planning organizations install advanced technologies at “large scale” to improve safety and reduce travel times for drivers and transit riders.
Other federal programs are also highlighting the inclusion of racial equity, environmental justice, and access to opportunity in transportation funding decisions.
For example, the U.S Department of Transportation is making “climate change, environmental justice, and racial equity” key factors in the award of $905 million to 24 projects in 18 states via the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America or INFRA discretionary grant program.
The Federal Transit Administration is also making those factors central to a notice of funding opportunity issued July 1 for $16.3 million in competitive grants for transit projects that help lift communities out of poverty.
The agency noted that, along with a focus on underserved communities, projects for that grant money will be selected in part on their ability to increase racial equity, in keeping with the President’s Executive Order 13985, entitled “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.”
USDOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg reemphasized in remarks at a June 29 event in Syracuse, NY, that diversity, equity, and inclusion or DEI factors will continue to witness growing prominence in federal transportation infrastructure funding efforts.
“We’re now looking at every program we’ve got through the lens of equity – including the authorizations we already have,” he explained.
“We’re making sure that our grant programming is built with a view toward equity,” the secretary said. “We’re making sure that those who actually live in communities where these projects are located get the opportunity to work on them.”