Advocates from St. Paul, Minn. are hoping to restore some of what the Black community lost when a highway was run through their core neighborhood — and to provide an unconventional model for other communities across the country to do the same.
President Biden won points among some antiracist transportation advocates for calling out federal highway projects for destroying Black communities — and then lost points by failing to call for the USDOT itself to make reparations to the people it has harmed.
Cities might soon get the kind of federal money they need to tear down the downtown highways that federal dollars paid them to build — and to reinvest in communities of color that those highways destroyed.
“It’s disproportionately Black and brown neighborhoods that were divided by highway projects because they didn’t have the political capital to resist,” Buttigieg said on Sunday. "We have a chance to get that right.”
America was already faced with the need to make critical transportation investments. And then COVID-19 hit, upending travel patterns and undercutting the traditional sources of government transportation revenue.
Progressive advocates are making the case that new infrastructure money would actually be best spent tearing urban highways down — and reinvesting in the Black and brown communities that those bad road projects tore apart decades ago.