Washington (February 28, 2023) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Representatives Richard Neal (MA-02) and Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) today celebrated more than $2 million in funding—through the Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program, which was created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law—to improve road-way infrastructure that connects underserved communities in Boston and North Adams.
Of these funds, $1.8 million supports reconstruction efforts in Boston’s Chinatown to create an outdoor community space that connects residents, improves public health, and reduces carbon emissions. In October 2022, members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation sent a letter to the Department of Transportation in support of the City of Boston’s efforts to collaborate with the Chinatown community to improve air quality and public health in the neighborhood, which has experienced some of the worst air and noise pollution in the state after parts of the neighborhood’s land were seized and bulldozed to create interstate freeways during the 1960s.
Separately, more than $750,000 in funding will commission an overpass study to investigate the flow of traffic in North Adams that would aim to better connect the downtown. The overpass, which was constructed when North Adams experienced comprehensive revitalization, created a significant barrier to community connectivity.
“The Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program improves our outdated transportation infrastructure so that residents in historically underserved communities can breathe cleaner air, stay connected with one another, and access the full spectrum of economic opportunity that transit justice provides,” said Senator Markey. “I will continue to push for climate-resilient infrastructure for communities of color that have been denied and lack access to accessible, reliable transit in Massachusetts.”
“Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, more than $2 million in federal funding for Boston and North Adams will help reconnect our communities, improve roadway infrastructure, and reduce carbon emissions in open spaces,” said Senator Warren. “This federal investment is an important step to right the injustices of past infrastructure decisions that divided communities, and I’ll keep fighting for federal resources like this that build opportunity for families across Massachusetts.”
“President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has already delivered more than $3 billion for the Commonwealth, addressing the most pressing infrastructure needs confronting our communities,” said Congressman Neal. “The funding announced for the City of North Adams under the Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program will help connect the City’s downtown, providing a catalyst for economic growth and sustainability throughout the region.”
“For too long, Chinatown residents have been subjected to disproportionate air and noise pollution – an environmental injustice that continues to disproportionately impact communities of color across the Massachusetts 7th,” said Rep. Pressley. “This investment in our road-way infrastructure is sorely needed and will make our communities healthier, more climate-resilient, and more accessible, and I look forward to seeing it implemented as soon as possible.”