Who is involved

Community Connectors

Who has control over the hundreds of billions in federal and state transportation dollars for transportation projects? Who are the entities involved in spending this money? Who are the agencies involved in making the decisions? Start here to find out more about the people you need to know: who is involved.

State DOTs: Why they have so much control and money

State departments of transportation (DOTs) are responsible for directing hundreds of billions in federal and state transportation dollars to transportation projects. Despite a common impression that USDOT controls spending, Congress gives states near-total flexibility to spend federal money however the states see fit. This means that state DOTs have the primary role in shaping the priorities of our nation’s transportation systems. Read more about state DOTs >>

a line of people in suits digging from a pile of dirt for a ceremonial groundbreaking for a new highway

MPOs: Important regional decision makers with limited authority and money

Metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) are regional organizations that allow jurisdictions across a region to collaborate on planning and spending a portion of federal transportation funding in areas with a population of 50,000 and over. While important, they have less authority and control less money than state DOTs do. Read more about MPOs >>

USDOT: Why the federal government has less control than you think

The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) implements the federal transportation policy passed by Congress and signed by the President. Though most federal dollars are controlled by states, USDOT interprets and implements federal transportation policy, manages some important competitive grant programs, and provides oversight of America’s transportation dollars. Read more about USDOT >>

a view up at the facade of the USDOT headquarters building

Community Connectors: tools for advocates

You may be fighting against a freeway expansion. You may be trying to advance a Reconnecting Communities project to remove an old highway. You might be just trying to make wide, dangerous arterial roads a little safer for people to cross. This Community Connectors portal explains common terms, decodes the processes, clarifies the important actors, and inspires with helpful real-world stories.

Thank you

We are grateful to support from the Summit Foundation, the Barr Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for their support of various pieces of this ongoing project.