Reconnecting Kalamazoo
February 28, 2024

Reconnecting Communities Pilot Overview

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL)  established the $1 Billion Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods Grant Program as the first-ever federal program dedicated to reconnecting communities that were previously cut off from economic opportunities by transportation infrastructure. The program includes both planning and capital grants to support projects that restore community connectivity through the removal, retrofit, mitigation, or replacement of eligible transportation infrastructure facilities. For FY 2022, the BIL allocated up to $198M for the program:

  • $50M for community planning grants 
  • $148M for capital grants 

USDOT announced the first round of awards, totaling $185M in February 2023; this included six capital grants and 39 planning grants.

This case story highlights Kalamazoo’s Downtown Revitalization project, which will convert former state highway routes that run through the downtown, and accompanying one-way streets, into all two-way complete streets, reconnecting the city’s predominantly Black neighborhoods with Downtown Kalamazoo and creating a more bike and pedestrian friendly transportation network. 

Kalamazoo also received a $5.9M RAISE planning grant, authorized by the BIL, for the Michigan Avenue component of the Downtown Revitalization project. This illustrates the fact that large-scale projects like this one in Kalamazoo may be eligible for multiple funding streams that can be stacked to maximize impact. The Local Infrastructure Hub has a RAISE-focused case story available which shows how it is funding a new transit hub in Lincoln, NE.

Fast Facts on Kalamazoo, MI

CityCounty of KalamazooState of Michigan
Population72,873261,17310,034,113
Black or African American alone22.1%11.9%14.1%
Poverty rate27.8%14.1%13.4%
Median Household Income$44,296$61,739$63,202

Considerations for municipal leaders

  • What is the role and influence of transportation infrastructure in the community? 
  • How can transportation infrastructure that acts as a barrier in communities be reimagined to connect communities? 
  • What are the challenges to removing, retrofitting, or replacing infrastructure that serves as physical barriers within communities? 
  • How will project leaders engage with community members in innovative ways? 

Other Resources

Safe Streets and Roads For All Grant Program

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) established the new Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) discretionary program, with $5 billion in appropriated funds over five years, 2022-2026. The SS4A program funds regional, local, and Tribal initiatives through grants to...

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