Federal funding to study an I-94 highway-to-boulevard conversion is on the table this summer.
The 2021 federal infrastructure bill (Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act) included the creation of the Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program. This program provides $1 billion over a 5 year period to reconnect communities that were divided and disproportionately harmed by the construction of highways. One quarter of this funding is dedicated to planning grants to help cities fully evaluate potential projects to heal the damage caused by highways, including highway-to-boulevard conversions.
The application period for the Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program launched on June 30 and will conclude on October 13. This grant program is a critical opportunity to give Minneapolis and St. Paul the resources needed to fully evaluate the Twin Cities Boulevard and further study how a highway-to-boulevard conversion could work on I-94.
We are calling on Minneapolis and St. Paul city leaders to make a public commitment to submit a joint planning grant application this summer. We are also asking the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Hennepin & Ramsey County and the Metropolitan Council to support this application.
This grant should be used to evaluate a highway-to-boulevard conversion for the Rethinking I-94 project, including:
- Hiring a firm with past experience designing highway-to-boulevard conversion projects to lead the study
- Hiring researchers to holistically evaluate the impacts of highway removal
- Evaluating policies to create wealth-building opportunities for impacted communities and prevent displacement & gentrification
Take action today by sending an email to Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, Minneapolis Public Works Director Margaret Anderson Kelliher, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, St. Paul Public Works Director Sean Kershaw, City Council Members in both cities and other Rethinking I-94 decision makers.
You can also call City leaders using the phone numbers and talking points below.
This issue will be discussed during the Twin Cities Boulevard Accountability Forum on July 19 at 6pm. Register here.