Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and U.S. Representatives Dwight Evans (D-PA-3) and Brendan Boyle (D-PA-2) announced $1.8 million in federal funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act for the City of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Reconnecting Communities Pilot grant program, created by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The project will study ways to reconnect Chinatown across the Vine Street Expressway (I-676), which split the historic neighborhood apart when it was constructed.
“For more than 50 years, Chinatown residents have suffered the consequences of harmful infrastructure decisions that divided their neighborhood in half,” Senator Casey said. “This community has worked for decades to reconnect their home. I was proud to advocate for this project to receive funding from the infrastructure law, which will bring Philadelphia one step closer to righting historical wrongs and connecting residents to more economic opportunities.”
Congressman Evans said, “I was proud to co-lead the Reconnecting Communities initiative in the House and to support this funding, which will allow Philadelphia to develop attainable solutions that bridge the divide created by the expressway and provide Philadelphians, especially within the Chinatown community, with better connections to opportunities and allow residents to enjoy a safer, healthier experience in their neighborhood.”
“The construction of the Vine Street expressway came at a steep cost to the Chinatown community that it now bisects,” said Congressman Boyle. “By repairing and restoring community connections, we can create safer and more inclusive spaces for all residents of Chinatown. It is my hope that this feasibility study will serve as a catalyst for future funding initiatives to begin reconnecting this neighborhood and to address the social and economic impacts of highway construction.”
“PCDC is honored to be included amongst such venerable colleagues, and we are hopeful for the future of Chinatown,” said John Chin, Executive Director, Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (PCDC). “This Reconnecting Communities grant will pave the way to undo decades of harm and displacement wrought upon Chinatown by the construction of the Vine Street Expressway. The funding from this grant will provide meaningful change for Chinatown businesses, residents, and future generations.
The IIJA established the Reconnecting Communities Pilot (RCP) grant program, the first-ever federal program dedicated to reconnecting communities that were previously cut off from economic opportunities by transportation infrastructure. Funding supports planning and capital construction grants to restore community connectivity through the removal, retrofit, mitigation, or replacement of eligible transportation infrastructure facilities. Senator Casey supported the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation, the City of Philadelphia, and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT)’s joint application for this funding.