The Gulfton area is one of two communities—along with Kashmere Gardens—that will benefit from $43.4 million in federal grant money aimed at improving connectivity and climate resilience in areas that have historically faced underinvestment.

What happened

The Biden administration announced the grant funding in a March 13 news release as part of $234.8 million allocation for 130 communities across 41 states. The funding comes from the $3.3 billion Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act passed in 2022.

The funding specifically targeted communities that were cut off by transportation infrastructure and have seen burdens related to pollution. Recent air quality studies have also shown urban heat islands, high levels of traffic and lack of tree cover have led to high levels of ozone pollution in Gulfton.

A look back

In February 2023, Houston received $552,160 as part of a federal pilot program to study transportation connections in Gulfton and come up with an implementation plan for how to undo damage done by past infrastructure decisions, including those that severed accessibility in the community.

Houston's planning and development department then embarked on a 12-month planning process to study and design better connections to Wisdom High School, the Hillcroft Transit Center, the Mahatma Gandhi District and the Brays Bayou Greenway Trail, among other projects.

The latest

It was not immediately clear how the $43.4 grant would be split between Gulfton and Kashmere Gardens. In the March 13 release, Biden administration officials said the funding would go toward improving sidewalks, drainage and tree cover as part of a broader effort to "create climate-resilient streets that support a multimodal mobility network."

"These walkability and resiliency improvements would help two of Houston’s most economically disadvantaged communities address mobility and accessibility needs, social equity concerns, and climate vulnerability while acting as a model for future neighborhood investments," officials wrote. "This project will allow for the creation of resilient pedestrian networks that enhance mobility and connectivity while alleviating environmental and socioeconomic barriers that burden the communities."

What they're saying

U.S. Rep. Lizzie Fletcher, D-Houston, who represents the Gulfton area, said she authored several letters to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in support of the award. The funding will benefit Gulfton's roughly 37,000 residents and will also go toward green storm water infrastructure, Fletcher said in a March 13 news release.

"Gulfton is a vibrant part of Texas' Seventh Congressional District, and this investment will enhance multimodal accessibility and improve the overall well-being for members of the Gulfton community, enabling Houstonians to travel safely to and from work, school and other destinations," Fletcher said in a statement.