Virginia Receives Nearly $3 Million Reconnecting Communities Grant

Two Virginia cities were awarded federal funding aimed at improving connections between neighborhoods cut apart by freeway construction.

1 minute read

February 24, 2023, 5:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


The cities of Richmond and Norfolk, Virginia were awarded almost $3 million in federal funding through the Reconnecting Communities grant program, reports Kassidy Hammond for WRIC. 

The grant is targeted at redressing the impacts of Interstates 95 and 64, which isolated the historically Black Jackson Ward neighborhood from the city, cutting off economic opportunities and displacing thousands of residents. The $1.35 million allocated to Richmond will fund a new bridge or freeway ‘lid,’ yet to be determined.

The Reconnecting Communities program is part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and one of the first federal efforts that directly acknowledges the destructive impacts of freeway construction on urban neighborhoods. While the program is designed to repair the damage rampant freeway construction inflicted on many communities of color, often dividing neighborhoods and cutting off access to transportation, parks, and urban amenities, some critics warn that transportation departments could use the money to counterintuitively fund road expansion projects.

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