Communities hope infrastructure law fixes racial wrongs

Baltimore, Maryland — Building roads and bridges often comes at the expense of the neighborhood.

One study estimates that more than a million Americans were evacuated when the highway was built decades ago.

Glen Smith was one of the affected people. He lived in West Baltimore in the 1960s and 1970s.

“I had all the good memories here until it broke,” Smith said in an interview from a bridge overlooking his old neighborhood.

Smith is very familiar with what has become known as the “highway that goes nowhere”.

The 1.5-mile road was planned and built in the 1960s and 1970s. The goal was to connect Interstate 70 and Interstate 95.

But the only part of the completed project was an extension of the road where Smith once lived.

The two interstates were never linked and the entire project was shut down.

Smith says his historically black community felt influential, but the others didn’t.

“It has eliminated more than 570 homeowners from this community, and we haven’t recovered,” Smith said.

“I often call it taking the heart of the body,” he added.

Since then, elected officials and engineers have pointed to projects and others as examples of systematic racism that existed decades ago when planning infrastructure projects.

often, The black community suffered the most when new roads were built.

“They did the same thing all over the country,” Smith said.

Infrastructure legislation changes

This year, the White House and Congress recognized a historic mistake when signing a bipartisan infrastructure bill.

The law includes $ 1 billion for a community reconnect pilot program. The money will be used to invest in the most injured areas.

Secretary of Transportation Pete Butigeg recently explained where the money goes.

In some cases, roads and bridges may disappear. Elsewhere, the new bus will probably stop.

“We don’t want to impose a universal answer,” Butigeg said in a recent White House briefing.

“We need to listen to the community,” he added.

Returning to Baltimore, Smith admits that perhaps $ 1 billion isn’t enough to follow the path that ruined the neighborhood.

But he wants to spend some money to improve transportation in the area and perhaps create jobs.

“We want to see something that benefits the community,” Smith said.

Communities hope infrastructure law fixes racial wrongs Source link Communities hope infrastructure law fixes racial wrongs

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