Reconnecting Communities Program (RCP)
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A new discretionary program created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), the Reconnecting Communities Pilot program (RCP) will provide $1 billion in funding over the next five years to support planning, capital construction, and technical assistance to restore community connectivity equitably and safely through the removal, retrofit, mitigation, or replacement of certain transportation infrastructure that have created mobility, access, or economic development barriers.
Facilities that are eligible for this program include highways, roads, streets, or parkways, as well as other transportation facilities such as railroad tracks, that have created barriers to connectivity due to high speeds, grade separations, and other design factors. RTC is confident that regional trail proposals to connect neighborhoods, particularly neighborhoods that were historically divided by now defunct railroad corridors, could be competitive submissions for this new program.
This program focuses on restoring community connectivity and eliminating barriers to mobility, access, or economic development through two types of grant funding opportunities – each with their own eligibility and applicant requirements – as well as provide technical assistance for eligible applicants:
- Planning grants to study the feasibility and impact of addressing an existing eligible facility or to conduct planning activities necessary on an existing facility. These grants are to be used to plan studies associated with addressing an existing facility that decreases mobility, public engagement activities to seek input on removing or converting an existing facility, or other transportation planning activities required in advance of addressing a barrier. Eligible applicants include States, units of local government, federally recognized Tribal governments, metropolitan planning organizations, and nonprofit organizations.
- Technical assistance for recipients that demonstrate need as an underserved, overburdened, and disadvantaged community.The Department will prioritize technical assistance to these communities to assist in building organizational or community capacity to engage in transportation planning and identify innovative solutions to local infrastructure challenges.
- Capital construction grants for the removal, mitigation, or replacement of existing eligible facilities for which all necessary studies and planning activities have been completed. Facility owners must serve as eligible recipients of these grants, likely a state or local government agency with jurisdiction. Other entities may partner with facility owners.
The first round of funding for the RCP program will open with the release of the FY 2022 Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) expected in summer 2022. More information about the program and the application will be released at this time.
To prepare, consider your community’s transportation challenges, especially in areas of your community that are underserved, overburdened, or disadvantaged. Identify which facilities have created these challenges and barriers to connectivity, safety, and mobility. Consider who should be involved and whether a broad range of community members have been engaged or need to be engaged in planning. Consulting and partnering with others who can expand on community outreach, construction mitigation, and anti-displacement plans can help set the safeguards in place to not create further harms caused by the removal of an existing barrier.
- Type: Discretionary grant program
- Administered By: The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT)
- Year Created: 2021 with the passing of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL)
- Federal Share: The federal share is 80% for planning grants and no more than 50% of total project costs for capital construction grants.
- Also Known As: RCP
- The United States Department of Transportation Reconnecting Communities Grant Page: https://www.transportation.gov/grants/reconnecting-communities
- The United States Department of Transportation – Overview of Funding and Financing at USDOT: https://www.transportation.gov/rural/toolkit/overview-funding-and-financing-usdot
- The Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration’s Transportation Planning Capacity Building Program: http://www.planning.dot.gov/default.aspx
- The Federal Highway Administration’s Community Impact Assessment: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/livability/cia/index.cfm
- Combined NOFO: Reconnecting Communities Pilot and Neighborhood Access & Equity Programs: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDOT/bulletins/35ffd91
- Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods (RCN) NOFO Release: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDOT/bulletins/363a746
- Biden-Harris Administration Announces New, Streamlined Funding Application Process for Infrastructure Projects That Reconnect Communities: https://www.transportation.gov/briefing-room/biden-harris-administration-announces-new-streamlined-funding-application-process