Tucked inside the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that’s set to go before the U.S. House of Representatives this week is a provision to remove or retrofit federal highways that have divided communities of color across the country, cutting them off from economic opportunities and deepening racial inequality for decades.
But the funding for the Reconnecting Communities Initiative, which began as a separate bill before it was added to the broader infrastructure package, has shrunk from a respectable $20 billion down to $1 billion in the legislation before the House. The scale-back has prompted discussion about the need to restore Black communities and neighborhoods isolated by federal infrastructure projects—a result that advocates say is based on more than a century of white supremacist urban planning.
Someone at the forefront of that conversation is Joan Fitzgerald, professor of public policy and urban affairs at Northeastern, who, along with a colleague, recently wrote about the subject for The Conversation. Fitzgerald—whose work links racial equity issues.