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U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx Announces LadderSTEP Technical Assistance Program

INDIANAPOLIS – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced a new technical assistance program – LadderSTEP – that will help seven cities foster sustainable economic development related to planned transportation projects. The choices made 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. Today’s announcement is part of a broader program at the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) that examines those choices, Ladders of Opportunity, and LadderSTEP is just one part of USDOT’s efforts to help promote opportunities for all Americans.  

“Transportation plays a critical role in connecting Americans and communities to economic opportunity,” Secretary Foxx said. “This pilot program is not only about helping seven cities achieve their visions for projects, but also about demonstrating that transportation infrastructure is about the people that use it, and not just the equipment needed to build it.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) LadderSTEP pilot program will provide Atlanta, Baltimore, Baton Rouge, Charlotte, Indianapolis, Phoenix, and Richmond with technical assistance to help promote thoughtful planning and economic growth.

CityFocus AreaRelated Projects
AtlantaVine CityMARTA, BeltLine, Streetcar
BaltimoreWest BaltimoreMARC Station
Baton RougeSouth Baton RougeNicholson Corridor Transit
CharlotteWest Trade AreaGold Line
IndianapolisRed Line CorridorRed Line Bus Rapid Transit
PhoenixSouth PhoenixLight Rail Transit
RichmondGreater FultonBroad Street Bus Rapid Transit

A number of national organizations have expressed interest in providing this technical assistance to the cities included in this pilot program, including:

  • LOCUS, a program of Smart Growth America is a national network of real estate developers and investors who advocate for sustainable, walkable urban development in America’s metropolitan areas.
  • The Urban Land Institute (ULI), a global non-profit whose more than 33,000 members provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities. ULI’s District Councils deliver its mission at the local level by conducting outreach and providing industry expertise to community leaders.

  • Enterprise Community Partners, a non-profit real estate investment company providing development capital through public-private partnerships with financial institutions, governments, community organizations and other partners.
  • Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a non-profit organization dedicated to developing and advocating for sustainable solutions to the challenges facing our planet. NRDC’s Urban Solutions program collaborates with national, state, and local leaders to find, finance and implement strategies for enhancing transportation and mobility choices, public health, green infrastructure, sustainable food systems, climate resilience, green and equitable neighborhoods, affordable housing and access to sustainable jobs.  
  • Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a national non-profit community development financial institution dedicated to helping community residents transform distressed neighborhoods into healthy and sustainable communities of choice and opportunity —good places to work, do business and raise children.

Other organizations interested in assisting these cities in revitalizing these communities should contact USDOT for information.

The Ladders of Opportunity program at USDOT seeks to help more Americans reach opportunity by ensuring that our transportation system provides reliable, safe, and affordable ways to reach jobs, education and other essential services. LadderSTEP is one part of USDOT’s efforts to create those opportunities. Other initiatives in this program include;

  • Resources to ensure that disadvantaged populations have a chance to enter the transportation workforce, like this Local Hire initiative;
  • The “Safer People, Safer Streets” program that is making communities across America safer for residents who don’t drive;
  • Discretionary grants that connect people to opportunity by investing in transportation projects that better connect communities to centers of employment, education, and services, and that hold promise to stimulate long term job growth, especially in economically distressed areas;
  • Interagency efforts like the one between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that works to help communities nationwide improve access to affordable housing, increase transportation options, and lower transportation costs while protecting the environment;
  • And support for equitable surface transportation policies like the ones supported in the GROW AMERICA Act.

Later this month, USDOT will host a summit of regional planners from across the country who want to better use data to integrate Ladders elements into their planning processes.


Thursday, April 23, 2015
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