WASHINGTON (KNWA/KFTA) — On August 11, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg announced that the Biden-Harris Administration has awarded $24.6 million to Arkansas from the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program.

The grant will help move forward on projects that “modernize roads, bridges, transit, rail, ports, and intermodal transportation and make our transportation systems safer, more accessible, more affordable, and more sustainable,” according to a Department of Transportation press release. This year’s total allocations nationwide include more than $2.2 billion thanks to the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides an additional $7.5 billion over five years for the program to help meet the strong demand to help projects get moving across the country. 

“We are proud to support so many outstanding infrastructure projects in communities large and small, modernizing America’s transportation systems to make them safer, more affordable, more accessible, and more sustainable,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Using funds from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this year we are supporting more projects than ever before.” 

Projects were evaluated on several criteria, including safety, environmental sustainability, quality of life, economic competitiveness and opportunity, partnership and collaboration, innovation, state of good repair, and mobility and community connectivity. Within these areas, the Department considered how projects will improve accessibility for all travelers, bolster supply chain efficiency, and support racial equity and economic growth, especially in historically disadvantaged communities and areas of persistent poverty. 

Arkansas’s award will support the City of Conway’s Connect Conway. This project will develop approximately 15 miles of infrastructure that consists of multi-use paths, sidepaths, bridges, cycle tracks, and trailheads, removing physical barriers and connecting west and east Conway.

The project includes high visibility crosswalks, pedestrian signage, rectangular rapid-flashing beacons, and high-intensity activated crosswalks. The new multimodal trail infrastructure will provide residents in an underserved and disadvantaged community with safe access to 14 major employers including the University of Central Arkansas, ten parks, seven schools, three universities and colleges, and three major retail areas.

In addition, the system will provide residents with access to healthy recreation and transportation options and reduce emissions and air pollution. This project improves transportation access to complementary developments in the area, including the Central Langin area, the new aquatics center, and the transportation system.