WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) today joined Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-3), and Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch to announce two major federal grants to support livable and sustainable communities in Bridgeport.
“The awards announced today will continue the revitalization of the City of Bridgeport, spurring economic growth and paving the way for an improved quality of life for those who live in this area,” said Congressman Jim Himes. “After 30 years of delay and setbacks, the development of Steel Point turns an under-utilized brown field site into a modern and progressive urban community. For too long, Bridgeport has been passed over as a viable place to live and work. This extraordinary commitment from the federal Department of Transportation and the partnership developed between the federal government, the City of Bridgeport and Bridgeport Landing Development begins a new chapter in Bridgeport’s evolution.”
Along with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Assistant Secretary Peter Kovar, the delegation announced $3.5 million in federal funds to help plan and coordinate sustainable, transit-oriented development along the I-95 Corridor from New York City through New Haven at a press conference at the Bridgeport Intermodal Transportation Center. The NY-CT Sustainable Communities Consortium, which includes the cities of Stamford, Norwalk, Bridgeport, and New Haven, will be awarded the funding through HUD’s Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant program.
“Regions that embrace sustainable communities will have a built-in competitive edge in attracting jobs and private investment,” said Peter Kovar, HUD Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations. “Planning our communities smarter means parents will spend less time driving and more time with their children; more families will live in safe, stable communities near good schools and jobs; and more businesses will have access to the capital and talent they need to grow and prosper. In awarding these grants we were committed to using insight and innovation from our stakeholders and local partners to develop a ‘bottom-up’ approach to changing federal policy as opposed to ‘top-down.’ Rather than sticking to the old Washington playbook of dictating how communities can invest their grants, HUD’s application process encouraged creative, locally focused thinking.”
The delegation also announced that the Bridgeport-Steel Point Project will receive over $11 million in Transportation Investment Generation Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant funding through the Department of Transportation for the construction and modernization of roadways around the Steel Point Peninsula, which will create pedestrian and bike-friendly streets that connect neighborhoods to public transit, help open the Steel Point waterfront to the public, and support commercial and residential development.
“As Connecticut communities recover from the recession, responsible and sustainable planning will help create affordable housing options for families, take advantage of our public transportation infrastructure, and spur economic development by connecting businesses with workers and consumers,” said Senator Chris Dodd. “This new funding will help revitalize our cities and towns, and contribute to long-term growth and development throughout the state.”
“This is great news for Connecticut,” said Senator Joe Lieberman. “The Sustainable Communities regional planning grant will help bring to life innovative proposals for stronger, more vibrant communities and easier transportation. The TIGER grant investment in the Steel Point Harbor roadway reconstruction will not only create immediate and permanent jobs, it will ultimately make the East Side neighborhood a better place to live. Senator Dodd, Congressman Himes, and I worked hard to ensure that Connecticut submitted the most competitive applications possible and these projects were given fair consideration.”
‘This is a great day for the City of Bridgeport,” said Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch. “The TIGER award means we can turn the corner on Steelpointe and start moving this project forward. And, the added good news about our Sustainable Communities grant application is another tremendous boost to our City and our partnership municipalities and metropolitan planning organizations. This money will create employment opportunities, enable us to expand transit-oriented development in an area of the City that has great growth potential and improve the livability of Bridgeport both at Steelpointe, and in the East Side near the planned second train station. We are very thankful to our legislative delegation – Senators Dodd and Lieberman and Congressman Himes for supporting our application and making our case to HUD and DOT.”
The Steel Point TIGER award is the largest federal grant Bridgeport has ever received and will allow the city to finally make development of this blighted property a reality. Today’s grant announcements supplement additional investments Congressman Himes has pursued during the past two years, including:
- Over one million dollars for the Greater Bridgeport Transit Authority to renovate their maintenance facility so that it runs more efficiently and at a lower cost;
- Over $2 million to renovate Bridgeport’s bus engines so that buses are more reliable and fuel-efficient;
- Over $5 million to Southwest Community Health Center to build a new multiple-use health center and supportive housing residence; and
- Over a million dollars to tear down the Congress Street Bridge and begin the process of rebuilding it, a project that was decades in the making and once completed will help to mitigate congestion substantially.