EPA Award recognizes collaboration on transit equity and environmental justice

Last week, we learned the Central Corridor Stops for Us campaign was one of five winners of a National Achievements in Environmental Justice Award sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The campaign – led by a broad partnership featuring neighborhood, religious, housing, transit, environmental and labor organizations – successfully secured the inclusion of three new light rail transit stations for the Central Corridor LRT line. The stations will provide access for the transit-dependent communities of East University Avenue, connecting residents to housing, jobs, education and other amenities throughout the Twin Cities metro region.

As we wrote last January, when the additional stations were announced, the change was enabled by a new ruling that loosened restrictions on the amount of local money that could be used as a match for federal dollars. A new financing plan was put together on the strength of prior groundwork and collaboration among the Coalition members and their governmental and philanthropic partners.

While the award stresses successful partnerships, we should also note the message it sends about the vital connection between equal access to transit and environmental justice and racial equity. It underscores the value that everyone in the neighborhoods affected by development should be treated fairly and benefits should include the interests of low-income residents.

This has been a value of the Funders Collaborative from the very start, and it applies equally to the work ahead on affordable housing, sustaining small businesses and transit-oriented development.

This award continues a stream of accolades for the many broad-based collaborations along the Central Corridor. And we are proud to have contributed to the funding for station planning and construction for these three stations. Our funding would not have been made without the sustained efforts by the community groups named in the citation. Congratulations to the Stops for Us Coalition (here’s an expanded list of the groups named in the award)!

Read the EPA press release here.