Buttigieg Requests Federal Tax Dollars for ‘Chinatown Stitch’ Project

(USNewsMag.com) – Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said the federal government is responsible for fixing its past failures in infrastructure management which have caused harm to local communities.

A video shared by NBC News on Monday, May 13th, highlighted an urban design initiative in Philadelphia called the “Chinatown Stitch.” The project will put a cap on the Vine Street Expressway, which has cut through the Chinatown community for several years, displacing some residents and raising safety concerns, as well as concerns over noise pollution and other problems for residents. The video is the second installment by the Department of Transportation (DOT) in a series called “Investing in America.”

Buttigieg says that although infrastructure and transportation should connect, the two have often “served to divide” and that federal dollars were used to contribute to those divisions in the past with poor decisions in infrastructure development and transportation planning. The Transportation Secretary said federal dollars should instead be used as “part of the solution.”

In March, the DOT announced a $159 million grant for Philadelphia as part of a program known as “Reconnecting Neighborhoods and Communities.” That program is designed to use transportation to reconnect communities that were cut off decades prior due to failing infrastructure.

The cap, which will cover part of the 1.75-mile expressway, is meant to slow traffic in that area in order to reclaim the area for community use and reconnect the neighborhood. Buttigieg was adamant that the planning process for the project would be in the hands of local community leaders. He said the government would not provide any plans, only the funding, and that it was up to the community to come up with the ideas, which won’t be “invented at [DOT] headquarters in Washington.”

Local activists have been trying to fight back against the construction project for decades. Cecilia Moy Yep, who appears in the DOT video, said resistance to it goes back over 50 years and that she was one of the first people displaced by it at the time. In the video, the 94-year-old described the public meeting that took place in 1966.

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