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Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods Grant Program

Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods

Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods (RCN) combines two programs to create more opportunities to create greater connections and remove barriers in the transportation system

Crossing boundaries and removing impediments

Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods offers opportunities for communities of all sizes to create plans and conduct projects for connecting communities to opportunities

Barriers in the transportation system take on a variety of forms

Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods aims to support communities in developing multimodal solutions to creating greater equity and access in the transportation system.

Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods (RCN) Program Overview

The Office of the Secretary of Transportation (OST) has released a joint Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the Reconnecting Communities Pilot (RCP) and Neighborhood Access and Equity (NAE) FY23 programs, which will combine two major discretionary grants into one NOFO. Together, this combined program will be known as the Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods (RCN) Program. While they remain separate programs for the purposes of award, the programs share many common characteristics, including: 

  • Prioritizing disadvantaged communities; 
  • Aiming to improve access to daily needs such as jobs, education, healthcare, food, and recreation; 
  • Fostering equitable development and restoration; 
  • Reconnecting communities by removing, retrofitting, or mitigating highways or other transportation facilities that create barriers to community connectivity, including to mobility, access, or economic development. 

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Awards

Please select the links bellow to learn more about the FY23 awarded projects:

Grant Types

The RCN NOFO solicits grant applications for the Reconnecting Communities Pilot discretionary grant program, established by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), and for the newly created Neighborhood Access and Equity discretionary grant program, established by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
Under the combined RCN Program, USDOT offers three grant types:  

  • Capital Construction 
  • Community Planning 
  • Regional Partnerships Challenge
Grant Type Objective(s) Funding
Capital Construction

To fund both reconnecting-focused projects and smaller projects focused on reducing environmental harm and improving access in disadvantaged communities. Projects may address: 

  • A dividing facility
  • Mitigating a “burdening” facility (a source of air pollution, noise, stormwater, or other burden)
  • Improving access and building or improving Complete Streets.  

$1.15 Billion 

  • $148M RCP Capital Construction funds 
  • $1B NAE Funds 
Community Planning

To provide funds for planning activities to support future construction projects and allow for innovative community planning to address localized transportation challenges. Projects may address:

  • Planning to restore community connectivity
  • Community/public engagement
  • Assessing environmental impacts from transportation in underserved communities (i.e., air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, extreme heat hotspots, gaps in tree canopy coverage, or flood prone transportation infrastructure)
  • Developing local anti-displacement policies and community benefit agreements

$185 Million 

  • $50M RCP Planning funds
  • $135M NAE Funds 
Regional Partnerships Challenge To incentivize stronger partnerships between local governments, Tribal governments, MPOs/RPOs, State DOTs, and non-profit, private, and community partners to tackle persistent equitable access and mobility challenges, as well as greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Applicants must consist of a partnership between two or more eligible agencies.   $450 Million NAE Funds  

USDOT has combined these two programs into a single NOFO to provide a more efficient application process for project sponsors. While they remain separate programs for the purposes of award, the programs share many common characteristics, including: 

  • Prioritizing disadvantaged communities; 
  • Aiming to improve access to daily needs such as jobs, education, healthcare, food, and recreation; 
  • Fostering equitable development and restoration; 
  • Reconnecting communities by removing, retrofitting, or mitigating highways or other transportation facilities that create barriers to community connectivity, including to mobility, access, or economic development.  

Because of these shared characteristics, it is possible for many projects to be eligible and considered for both programs using a single application. The chart below illustrates the similarities and differences between the RCP and NAE opportunities. 

Image comparing the differences between the RCP and NAE grant programs under the RCN Program including statutory program, set-asides, award size requirements, and cost share requirements.

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