Why equity is critical to our future infrastructure spending

Any infrastructure policy that doesn’t place equity at its center will fail to meet our society’s future needs.

The first freeway in Los Angeles, Interstate 10, was completed in 1935 at a cost of $877,000, about $14 million in today’s dollars. It was considered a triumph in traffic management and design, ushering in a new era of mobility that accelerated the region’s economic growth. It also had another impact: entrapping Ramona Gardens, a mostly Black community, in a constant flow of highly noxious emissions. Today, the 1,700 residents of Ramona Gardens suffer from dangerously high levels of respiratory disease, including twice the state average rate of childhood asthma.

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