How a New Program is Helping Small Cities Transform Their Transportation Systems

  • Date: 08/21/2023

Last year, a consortium of organizations lead by Bloomberg Philanthropies quietly launched a sprawling resource called the Local Infrastructure Hub, which provides communities under 150,000 residents with a full slate of "grant application boot camps," peer mentorships, and expert design guidance aimed at making their bids for federal funding as competitive as possible.

It was stressed that the only thing greater than the structural challenges facing small-city Americans is their potential to catalyze a national transportation revolution — and that without them, it's simply not possible to make real progress on our collective transportation goals, like ending car crash deaths and taming climate change.

Those innovations, though, often happen in the face of daunting obstacles. In the 15 months since the hub first launched, Anderson's heard countless stories about tiny towns struggling to attract and retain the talent they need just to keep the lights on, never mind submit grant applications that beat out world-class metropolises with decades of big grant victories under their belts. Some small town staffs are so overburdened that they struggle to even start their applications until a few weeks before the deadlines, or struggle to compile the kind of robust crash data that DOT wants to prove the safety projects they're funding are saving lives.

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