Safe and more equitable streets: How recent federal legislation will improve the way we get around

February 1, 2023

New federal legislation gives a boost to states and cities to make our roads safer for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers across the country.

As part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Congress allocated $5 billion to the Safe Streets and Roads for All grant program that gives funding to states and local governments for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, including projects like making intersections safer, improved signage, installing sidewalks and bike lanes, among other improvements. 

Your state, county, or town is eligible for these dollars. 

In Rochester, New York, city leaders are hoping to fill in and redevelop parts of its Inner Loop expressway to reconnect the downtown area to some of its most at-risk neighborhoods and provide new walking and bicycling paths. 

In Fairfax County, Virginia, responding to community input that the roads felt unsafe for all users, county leaders recently endorsed dozens of safe streets improvements that could benefit from this funding. 

In addition to road safety, Congress addressed how transportation can exacerbate inequality. Funded by the infrastructure law and the Inflation Reduction Act, billions of dollars in Neighborhood Access and Equity Grants will help communities that have been divided by highways, often hindering opportunities and access to important services. The funding is available for things like covering a highway, adding trails and bike lanes, installing bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, and building new safety features to connect neighborhoods.

Transportation for America Director Beth Osborne called the neighborhood access and equity grants “valuable, needed investment to repair a longstanding barrier to accessing jobs and services especially for non-drivers, which will support local economic development and knit communities back together across overbuilt roadways.” 

Communities nationwide are planning how they will use these federal dollars to make life better for their residents spending the money on projects that bring increased health, safety, and climate benefits equitably. 

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Unleashing America’s Advanced Energy Future: Three Guides for Decisionmakers on how to use funding from the Inflation Reduction Act and Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act