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The Biden-Harris administration announced the awarding of $105 million to the state of Michigan to aid with the removal of the Interstate-375 freeway, shortening the project's timeline by approximately two years.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced the grant in Detroit alongside U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, according to a Sept. 15 Washington Post report.
“We have seen examples in many communities, including here, where an infrastructure decision serves to divide and we raise this issue not to wallow in it but to challenge ourselves to do something about it,” Buttigieg said, according to Washington Post. “And now we are putting our money where our mouth is.”
The I-375 was initially constructed following World War II, the Washington Post reported. The digging of the freeway displacing more than 100,000 residents. The freeway runs between the banks of the Detroit River and the I-75. However, officials say it has harmed Black communities by creating a barrier preventing them from accessing investment opportunities.
With the highway and its parts reaching the end of their life span, the Michigan Transportation Department decided to remove them, according to the Washington Post. The filling of the trench, along with replacing it with a narrower boulevard at the same level as nearby streets, is expected to cost $270 million.
“They very intentionally wiped out that whole district and laid the freeway in a way that displaced thousands of people," Duggan said, according to Washington Post. "What we’d like is to knit the community back together.”