Baltimore To Receive $2 Million Federal Grant To Redevelop The “Highway To Nowhere”

Baltimore City’s “Highway to Nowhere.” Photo by Famartin via WikiMedia.

What’s happening?

The federal government approved Baltimore’s request for $2 million in grant funding to redevelop the site of the “highway to nowhere,” a long-abandoned project to connect Interstate 70 with Interstate 95, Jeff Barker reports for the Baltimore Sun. Only 1.4 miles of highway were built when the project was dumped in the 1970s due to backlash from how it uprooted communities in West Baltimore.

What are the details of the grant?

The grant, filed in October and awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation, will allow the city to study options to renovate the unfinished highway site into a park or other community space in an effort “to realize the communities’ vision for a unified West Baltimore,” according to the city’s application. 

The grant will aid the city in addressing the decades-long damage inflicted on the West Baltimore community, which the application described as “[removing] 14 contiguous blocks of a predominantly middle-class African-American community causing the demolition of 971 homes, 62 businesses, and displacing over 1,500 people.”

U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin said the redevelopment of the site is the Maryland federal delegation’s highest priority. 

“It’s never too late to undo the wrongs of the past if we have a clear and renewed vision for the future,” said U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume, a Baltimore Democrat, in a Tuesday news release obtained by the Baltimore Sun.

Anything else I should know? 

Cardin and U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen, another Maryland Democrat, pledged in 2021 to push legislation called the Reconnecting Communities Act that would allow communities to remove harmful highway projects. The legislation was later folded into President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill. 

You can read more here. 

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