USDOT Selects Accelerator For America And Partners As A ‘Capacity Builder Team’ And Awards $5+ Million


By Yusef Robb

As part of its Thriving Communities Program, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has selected Accelerator for America (Accelerator) and its partners – WSP USA, Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners (SIP), and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University – to be a Capacity Builder Team. Together, they will help 14 under-resourced and disadvantaged communities access new infrastructure funding opportunities that have been made available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Accelerator and its partners will bring their expertise and resources to bear to help these communities deliver neighborhood-enhancing transportation projects. USDOT awarded $5.05 million for the Accelerator team’s Complete Transit Oriented Neighborhoods work.

USDOT praised the Accelerator team for having “practical, hands-on experience working with all levels of government delivering innovative solutions and cutting-edge research while leveraging local expertise and community insights.” 

In a USDOT release, Secretary Pete Buttigieg said: "The historic investments we are making in America’s infrastructure must reach the communities that need them the most. With the new Thriving Communities program, we are helping under-resourced communities better access federal funding for transportation projects that will create jobs, improve safety, and strengthen their economies.”

“We are grateful for the confidence that USDOT has in Accelerator for America and our partners,” said Accelerator CEO Mary Ellen Wiederwohl. “Having worked with more than 70 cities nationally on economic and infrastructure development, we are excited to work with a new cohort of communities who are using the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to improve people’s lives.”

“WSP USA is extremely honored to have earned this capacity builder award,” said Denise Turner Roth, national Advisory executive. “To be included alongside FHWA, Accelerator for America and partners, in a strategic effort to thoughtfully serve these under-represented and disadvantaged communities, is at the core of our mission to ensure equity in all we do. I am especially honored that our partnership also included NC A&T State University, an HBCU in my adopted hometown of Greensboro, North Carolina. Every day we strive to plan and deliver transformative projects to bring communities together and serve the common good, and this investment is certainly a positive step in that direction.”

“Thriving communities need resilient, future-ready infrastructure,” said David Gilford, Head of Policy and Strategic Partnerships at SIP. “We look forward to working with Accelerator for America and the team to help strengthen neighborhoods across the country through creative partnerships and innovative infrastructure projects.”

“The NCAT team is very excited to be part of the selected capacity builders to work with diverse communities throughout the US. As the largest HBCU, NCAT is well positioned to face great research challenges and nurture the next generation of leaders in business, technology, and society development,” said Dr. Rongfang (Rachel) Liu, the UPS Endowed Professor of Supply Chain Management and Director of the Transportation Institute at the Deese College of Business & Economics, North Carolina A&T State University. “As part of the Capacity Building team, NCAT will work with our teammates, WSP, Accelerator for America and Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners, to thoroughly understand and evaluate the needs of the under-served and overburdened communities, provide assistance in developing plans, implement strategies and tactics, and sustain true improvement to the economic activities and quality of life via transportation projects.”

In total, USDOT awarded $21.15 million to four Capacity Builder Teams to help 64 communities nationwide. Over the next two years, the Accelerator team will work with its 14 communities to grow their technical and grant management skill sets and long-term capacity with tools including analytics, playbooks and financial models. The team will support community-based organizations and disadvantaged business enterprise partners with diverse skills and relationships throughout the country that bring specialized, region-specific technical assistance, and community engagement capabilities. 

The Accelerator team will work with:

1.       City of Tempe, AZ

2.       Anaheim Transportation Network, CA

3.       Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments, CT

4.       Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization, FL

5.       City of Brockton, MA

6.       Baltimore City Planning Department, MD

7.       Hinds County, MS 

8.       City of Charlotte, NC

9.       Metropolitan Area Planning Agency, NE

10.     City of Albuquerque, NM

11.     City of Glens Falls, NY

12.     City of Cleveland, OH

13.     VIA Metropolitan Transit Agency, TX

14.     Pierce County Public Transportation Agency, WA


Accelerator for America helps Mayors develop and deploy real-time solutions to increase economic mobility, attract and leverage public and private investment, and deliver a more inclusive recovery for cities and their most disadvantaged communities. Our work is uniquely driven by our coalition of Mayors and other leaders from the public, private, philanthropic, labor, non-profit and academic sectors, who are ideally positioned to help cities navigate this dynamic era of change in America.

Accelerator is a “do tank” committed to urgent action and is a recognized center of excellence and trusted resource in our two founding focus areas: economic development and transit and infrastructure.


WSP USA is the U.S. operating company of WSP, one of the world’s leading engineering, environment and professional services firms. Recognized on Fast Company’s Brands that Matter List for 2022 as a top Community-Minded Business, WSP USA brings together engineers, planners, technical experts, strategic advisors and construction management professionals who are dedicated to collaborate in the best interests of serving local communities. WSP USA designs lasting solutions in the buildings, transportation, energy, water and environment markets. With more than 15,500 employees in 300 offices across the U.S., WSP partners with its clients to help communities prosper.


Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners (SIP) is pioneering the future of infrastructure. SIP is a consolidated holding company that develops, acquires, and invests in both advanced infrastructure projects and the technologies that enable those projects. Leveraging a virtually unparalleled ecosystem of leading technologists and institutional infrastructure investors, including anchor investors Alphabet, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, and StepStone Group, SIP builds innovation platforms that address some of the largest and most impactful opportunities in infrastructure today: smart roads built for autonomous vehicles (Cavnue), robotized recycling (Polysift), virtual power plants (Resilia), and shared solutions that expand the reach of 5G networks (CoFi).


As an interdisciplinary research, training and technology transfer unit, Transportation Institute (TI), Directed by Dr. Rongfang (Rachel) Liu, draws faculty, staff, and students from various departments within the Deese College of Business and Economics, the College of Sciences and Technology, the College of Engineering and across the entire NC A&T State University. TI has been a leader in transportation-related research, education, and technology transfer since it was established in 1970. The Institute’s mission is “to serve as a national, regional, and local clearinghouse for transportation education, research, and outreach; offering seminars, workshops, lectures, publications, and other information for public and private transportation practitioners, decision-makers, and the general public.”


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