In a new story for Pew Stateline, reporter Aallyah Wright investigates concerns that the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill passed through Congress last week might not send money where its really needed, in rural areas around the country. As the money goes out to the states, who will in turn dole it out to cities and towns through grant programs, smaller communities worry the funds won’t be distributed fairly due to a lack of grant writers and unfamiliarity with federal and state grant rules.
From the story: “But in Georgia and other states, many rural officials and residents, particularly Black people, have their doubts. For decades, federal infrastructure money has flowed to some communities at the expense of others—especially communities of color.
Faith Dixon, a Black Lives Matter leader in North Dakota, said she was excited when she heard about the massive infrastructure deal, particularly the money to improve water systems and roads.
But she said questions such as, “Will the money go back into communities that are underrepresented?” and “Will it actually be used to build up rural communities?” began to cloud her mind.
“We see the streets are not fixed. We see potholes. We don’t see a lot of nice buildings, but we do see in [affluent] areas … new bridges, new parks, new streets,” Dixon said. “We want to make sure that that money is well spent. And that money is put back into the community.”
With state agencies promising to distribute funding fairly, its up to local leaders to compete for the money to repave streets and fix country roads.
To read the rest of the story on Stateline, click here.