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Biden announces $3 billion project to restore communities split by highways as he continues campaign blitz

President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced $3 billion in funding meant to help reconnect communities split by highways and other infrastructure projects decades ago as he continues his post-State of the Union campaign blitz in several crucial battleground states.

The $3.3 billion, funded by the infrastructure law and Inflation Reduction Act signed by Biden earlier in his term, will go toward projects across 40 states, according to the White House.

Announcing the funding during a campaign speech in Milwaukee, Biden said his administration is “making decisions to transform your lives decades to come - and we’re going it all across America.”

The projects will “increase access to health care, schools, jobs, places of worship, and other essential services and opportunities, and will strengthen communities by covering highways with public spaces, creating new transit routes, adding sidewalks, bridges, bike lanes, and more,” according to a White House fact sheet.

Special attention will be paid to areas that were split by the construction of the federal highway system decades ago.

Such projects decimated predominantly Black and brown communities across the country, which were in some cases leveled completely to make space for roads and highways. Other communities were essentially cut off from the rest of the city by the projects.

Biden’s campaign visit to Milwaukee on Wednesday was the latest in a series of post-State of the Union events across several crucial 2024 battleground states, and the first since Biden clinched the Democratic nomination for president after a slate of primary victories on Tuesday. He also visited Pennsylvania on Friday and Georgia over the weekend.

Milwaukee will host the Republican National Convention in July, where former President Donald Trump, who also clinched his party’s nomination on Tuesday, will officially be named the nominee.

Biden repeatedly needled both Trump and Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson during his Milwaukee remarks, referencing Johnson’s likening of Social Security to a “Ponzi scheme” and a recent interview where Trump suggested he was open to making cuts to programs like Medicare and Social Security.

“I want to assure you: I will never allow it to happen,” Biden said of potential cuts, adding that Trump “failed the most basic duty any president owes to the American people: the duty to care.”

Milwaukee is among the cities that will benefit from the $3 billion infrastructure boost announced by Biden on Wednesday. About $36 million will be used to revitalize the city’s 6th Street Corridor.

Johnson, Biden pointed out, voted against the infrastructure law.

“My predecessor and his allies in Congress, including Sen. Ron Johnson, who voted - well, he voted against the infrastructure law that funds this project - they want to undo everything I just talked about,” Biden said.

The president spoke before an invited crowd of about 200 people inside an auditorium at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee. His speech was quick and he did not linger to shake hands after his remarks.

While protestors, angry at the administration’s support for Israel as its war with Hamas continues in Gaza, gathered nearby for a demonstration they called a “genocide Joe rally,” the president’s remarks were not interrupted.

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