Congresswoman Williams and Georgia Senators Urge Leadership to Achieve Biden Administration Vision for Reconnecting Neighborhoods Program, Fund It for Success

Restoring Neighborhoods and Strengthening Communities Act

ATLANTA – Today, Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05), Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA), and Senator Jon Ossoff (D-GA) sent a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer urging them to work to achieve President Biden’s full vision for a federal program to reconnect neighborhoods historically divided by highway infrastructure. 

The President’s American Jobs Plan included a $20 billion program to invest in the redesign or removal of infrastructural barriers built through communities of color after the enactment of the 1956 Federal Aid Highway Act. However, the Senate-passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act “included a version of the program funded only at $1 billion, which is one-third of the funding included in the House-passed INVEST in America Act and a mere five percent of the funding proposed in the American Jobs Plan,” said Congresswoman Williams, Senator Reverend Warnock, and Senator Ossoff.

“If this program only gets a small fraction of the funding our leaders have supported, it can only achieve a small fraction of the results we need,” said Congresswoman Williams, Senator Reverend Warnock, and Senator Ossoff. “We must prioritize stronger investment in this program as we finalize our investments in infrastructure.”

In the letter, Congresswoman Williams, Senator Reverend Warnock, and Senator Ossoff went on to highlight the impact the program will have on their constituents: 

“Advancing a robust reconnecting neighborhoods program will help us reckon with our past and uplift impacted communities, particularly people of color. Atlanta’s Sweet Auburn community was once a bustling Black business district until the construction of the Downtown Connector split the neighborhood. In Atlanta’s Summerhill community – first settled by freed slaves, becoming home to diverse residents including Black, Jewish, and Greek individuals – construction of Interstate 20 led to the demolition of housing units and the exit of its longtime residents and established Black-owned businesses. These neighborhoods and the residents who have lived in them have yet to recover and will be forever impacted by past decisions. 

“As Georgia elected officials, the final funding level for this program is more than just a number on a page. How we position this program for success is deeply personal to us and the people we represent. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed by the Senate on August 10th included a version of the program funded only at $1 billion, which is one-third of the funding included in the House-passed INVEST in America Act and a mere five percent of the funding proposed in the American Jobs Plan. If this program only gets a small fraction of the funding our leaders have supported, it can only achieve a small fraction of the results we need. We must prioritize stronger investment in this program as we finalize our investments in infrastructure.”

Click here to read the full text of the letter


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