New reconciliation package includes funds for safety, access

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In response to the proposed Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, Transportation for America Director Beth Osborne released this statement:

We are glad to see Congress is taking climate needs and inflation reduction seriously. We are particularly excited that they included $3 billion in Neighborhood Access and Equity grants to redesign arterial roadways, particularly those that impact communities of color. This is a valuable, needed investment to repair a longstanding barrier to accessing jobs and services especially for non-drivers, which will support local economic development and knit communities back together across overbuilt roadways.

Huge arterial roadways become a barrier and divide communities precisely because they are not safe. Their design prioritizes high-speed vehicle travel through the corridor over all other road users, including drivers trying to cross and anyone moving through the area outside of a car. The result is an ever-growing number of pedestrians, particularly pedestrians of color, being hit and killed on our roadways. Smart Growth America’s new Dangerous by Design report documents that 67 percent of pedestrian deaths occur on arterials, which make up 15 percent of roadways. By providing funds to redesign these roadways, these grants can help to connect the community, support local economic development, save people money on gas by allowing them to get out of their cars, close an obstacle to economic opportunity and, in the process, save lives. 

The role street design plays in pedestrian deaths has been overlooked for far too long. These grants are an important step to boost local economies and improve the safety of our streets. We thank Congressional leaders for including the important program in the reconciliation.

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