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Bipartisan infrastructure bill could expand federal support for urban tree placement gaps

The bipartisan infrastructure bill (H.R. 3684) moving in the Senate this week would expand federal support for urban tree placement gaps through a mapping program. The Healthy Streets initiative would put more efforts towards increasing tree canopy cover in marginalized neighborhoods nationwide. The bill authorizes $100 million a year for five years under a federal grant program to achieve better tree equity.

Multiple studies have shown that poorer neighborhoods have less tree canopy than richer areas.

Up to this point nonprofit groups and corporations have driven drive tree-planting efforts and boosting urban canopies in cities of all sizes both rural and urban.

The funding could cover the purchasing and planting of trees and the development of tree canopy plans. It also would encourage cities to use porous pavement—more permeable types of concrete, asphalt, and pavers—to absorb stormwater and reduce urban hot spots.

Preserving mature trees and strategically planting younger trees slow stormwater runoff, alleviate the urban heat island effect and provide increased mental well-being among other benefits like biodiversity net gain, erosion control etc.

Language of the bill can be found here.