U.S. Transportation Sec. Anthony Foxx is pushing for a federal highway policy that meets the country's transportation needs while considering the impacts on communities.
Foxx told Diane Rehm today that he grew up in a low-income neighborhood in Charlotte within two blocks of I-85 and I-77.
"We now live with a system that has in some cases bifurcated neighborhoods, in some cases put a constraint on the ability of some areas to be as economically healthy and as strong as they possibly can be," said Foxx.
"The good news is that we are at a point where a lot of this infrastructure is aging and we'll either have to repair or replace it, and so we need to be thoughtful about how we do that."
He told Rehm that poor and minority communities weren't invited to the table when the highways were originally laid in the 1950s. He says communities need support for a better plan.
"Federal policy should really look at putting, not only more dollars, but putting more dollars into local communities so that, as these decisions are made, there's real money that allows local areas to really have robust discussions about where these facilities should be placed."
Foxx says he encourages states to consider rebuilding in place, where possible.