The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) on Tuesday praised U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) and U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-California) for sponsoring $480,000 in Community Project Funding for SCAG’s Highways to Boulevard Regional Study. This funding was included in the Fiscal Year 2022 Omnibus Appropriations Act (H.R. 2471) that was approved by Congress with a bipartisan vote last week and signed by President Joe Biden today.
The Highways to Boulevard Regional Study will identify and evaluate urban highways within the SCAG region, particularly those intersecting with Environmental Justice Areas, Disadvantaged Communities, or Communities of Concern, to identify candidates for conversion to city streets. Both the State of California and the federal government acknowledge that past transportation decisions have put up physical barriers that divided communities and amplified racial inequalities. Many of these communities experience higher than average transit ridership and lower than average vehicle ownership; yet the transportation system that serves the community is entirely focused on motor vehicle through-put. Future conversion projects may free up additional land for affordable housing or green spaces with complete streets features.
“We are grateful to Senators Feinstein and Padilla for championing SCAG’s proposed study to further our efforts to advance planning that addresses longstanding inequities across the region,” said Kome Ajise, Executive Director of SCAG. “It is remarkable to have the federal government support this project that can offer a path for communities to reknit by exploring opportunities to replace or improve aging highways with mobility options that better fit the context of the surrounding neighborhoods.”