Through transportation, we can help ensure that the rungs on the ladder of opportunity aren’t so far apart and that the American dream is still within reach for those who are willing to work for it.

Transportation plays a critical role in getting Americans from their communities to economic opportunity and bringing economic opportunity into communities. The choices we make regarding transportation infrastructure at the Federal, State, and local levels can revitalize communities, create pathways to work, and connect hardworking Americans to a better quality of life.

In 1973, Congress passed the Federal-Aid Highway Act, which for the first time allowed states to use highway trust fund dollars to support public transit. That's just one of the ways the Department has helped connect Americans to opportunities that might have otherwise been beyond their reach. DOT continues to help Americans reach opportunity by ensuring that our transportation system provides reliable, safe, and affordable ways for people to reach jobs, education, and other essential services outside their communities. More recently, DOT investments in new and existing transit facilities like the Union Depot in St. Paul, MN, have helped stimulate private investment and created jobs within communities.

From the Secretary of Transportation's personal leadership in this area to our many Operating Administration programs, below are several examples of current DOT initiatives to connect Americans to opportunity.

  • The Transportation Planning Capacity Building Program helps decision-makers, transportation officials, and planning staff build skills in planning, consensus building, and understanding policy guidance and regulations so they can better address transportation needs in their communities.
  • The TPCB Public Involvement Techniques Guide offers a variety of public involvement techniques available to transportation agencies and assists practitioners in coordinating full public involvement, which in turn helps residents have a greater say in the projects and plans that will affect their communities.
  • The Innovative Public Transportation Workforce Development program from the Federal Transit Administration offers funding to help train a new generation of skilled workers and support long-term careers in the public transportation industry.
  • DOT's Local Hiring initiative seeks to enhance opportunities for local workers to obtain jobs on infrastructure projects by ending 40 years of federal policies preventing grant recipients from implementing hiring programs that give preference to the very people who live in the communities where they’re building projects.
  • The TOD Technical Assistance Initiative provides technical assistance and support for transit oriented development (TOD) activities focused on supporting economically distressed communities across the country with assistance that ranges from on-the-ground support to web-based tools.
  • Our Ladders of Opportunity Transportation Empowerment Pilot is helping build and restore connections, develop workforce capacity, and catalyze neighborhood revitalization in seven communities by providing technical assistance and by working to attract public and private resources to game-changing transportation projects.
Updated: Wednesday, February 3, 2016
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