Posts Tagged ‘Federal Transit Administration’

Pittsburgh Transit Agency Gets FTA Grant

September 22, 2021

The Port Authority of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh will receive a $216.9 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration through its American Rescue Plan program.

The grant is part of more than $30 billion for public transportation in the American Rescue Plan Act, signed into law last March. No local share is required for this funding.

FTA Has Service Restoration Grant Money

September 16, 2021

The Federal Transit Administration said it has $25 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan to help public transportation agencies resume service that was suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Route Planning Restoration Project will help fund restoration of public transit routes as well as to examine ridership following the  pandemic, reduce travel times and make adjustments to increase the quality or frequency of transit service for low-income riders and those in disadvantaged neighborhoods or communities who may need increased service to get to jobs, shopping and health care.

Transit agencies have until Nov. 15 to apply for funds from the program.

FTA said in a news release that projects will be selected in part on whether they will increase racial equity and advance environmental justice.

Applications will also be reviewed for their effect on climate change and if they provide service that connects those in underserved communities, while helping cut down on car and other trips that increase emissions, particularly in those communities, which are often the most impacted by airborne pollution.

The maximum award amount for any prospective applicant may be up to $1 million and a local match is not required.

FTA Has $2.2B in Pandemic Grant Funding Available

September 10, 2021

The Federal Transit Administration said this week it will take applications for $2.2 billion in competitive grant funding for transit systems demonstrating additional pandemic-associated needs. 

The grants were allocated by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

FTA officials said additional assistance funding can be awarded to transit systems that demonstrate additional assistance is needed to cover operating expenses related to maintaining day-to-day operations, cleaning and sanitization, combating the spread of pathogens and maintaining critical staffing levels.

Applications for the funding must be submitted by Nov. 8.

Most Transit Agencies Meet Safety Plan Deadline

August 11, 2021

The Federal Transit Administration said this week that more than 700 transit agencies have certified safety plans in place.

The plans were created in response to a 2018 FTA directive that safety plans be completed and certified by July 20, 2021. 

The rule requires agencies that receive the FTA’s urbanized area formula grants to set safety performance targets in a safety plan that is reviewed and certified every year.

An agency that fails to file a compliant plan by the deadline would have been ineligible for further FTA grants.

FTA officials said in a news release that because no two transit systems are alike, no two safety plans are alike, resulting in more than 700 different plans across the country.

FTA Funds Transit Jobs Program

August 4, 2021

The Federal Transit Administration has awarded $5 million to fund a cooperative agreement with the International Transportation Learning Center to support the first Transit Workforce Center.

In a news release, the FTA said this will serve as the authority’s first ever national technical assistance center to help transit agencies recruit, hire, train and retain a diverse workforce.

The center was created to conduct workforce development technical assistance activities for transit agencies, with a strong focus on frontline transit worker skill development. 

It will develop partnerships between transit agency management and labor organizations, and create new programs, including apprenticeships, FTA officials said. 

House Budget Bill Boosts Transportation Spending

July 20, 2021

The House Appropriations Committee last week approved a spending bill for fiscal year 2022 that would boost spending on transportation programs over FY2021 levels.

The bill, known as the Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies legislation provides an increase of $1.9 billion for the U.S. Department of Transportation.

USDOT is allocated $105.7 billion in budgetary resources, a 22 percent increase above the FY2021 enacted level ($86.7 billion) and the President Joseph Biden’s FY2022 budget request of $87 billion.

Among the spending levels authorized for transportation programs are:

• $1.2 billion for National Infrastructure Investments, a 20 percent increase from FY 2021. It includes $20 million for Transportation Planning Grants to assist areas of persistent poverty, a 100 percent increase over FY 2021. An additional $100 million is included for a new grant program to “spur thriving communities nationwide.”

•$4.1 billion for the Federal Railroad Administration, up 46 percent from FY 2021. This includes $625 million for the new Passenger Rail Improvement, Modernization, and Expansion (PRIME) grant program “to support projects that improve, expand or establish passenger rail service”; $500 million for the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) grant program, a 33 percent increase from FY 2021; $2.7 billion for Amtrak, a 35 percent boost over FY 2021, which includes $1.2 billion for Northeast Corridor Grants and $1.5 billion for National Network Grants.

• $15.5 billion for the Federal Transit Administration, including $12.2 billion for Transit Formula Grants to expand bus fleets and increase the transit state of good repair; $2.5 billion for Capital Investment Grants to construct more than 23 new transit routes nationwide, a 22 percent increase above the FY 2021 enacted level and equal to the president’s budget request; and $580 million for Transit Infrastructure Grants to purchase more than 300 zero-emission buses and 400 diesel buses, and to support “transformative research for transit systems,” which is a 12 percent increase above FY 2021.

Fernandez Confirmed as FTA Administrator

June 16, 2021

Nuria Fernandez has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as administrator of the Federal Transit Administration.

She had been serving as acting administrator since she was appointed deputy secretary on Jan. 20.

Fernandez previously served as general manager and CEO of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority in California; as chief operating officer of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York; and senior vice president of design and construction for the Chicago Transit Authority and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

She has also served as chair of the American Public Transportation Association.

AAO Wants Probe of RTA Railcar Procurement

May 15, 2021

An Ohio rail advocacy group wants an investigation into the procurement process being used by the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority to buy new railcars.

All Aboard Ohio said it contacted the Federal Transit Administration’s inspector general after it learned from unnamed GCRTA sources and a railcar manufacturer that RTA twice denied deadline extensions sought by one or more manufacturers.

The builders said they needed more time to respond to RTA’s pending request for proposals.

AAO said it fears the denials could suppress competition among bidders, which could increase the costs for what is expected to be a $240 million program to replace the cars.

The car replacement project is expected to be RTA’s most expensive capital project in its history.

In a statement, RTA said it continues to pursue acquisition of new rail cars but declined to provide further details on the process.

The statement said RTA is following FTA’s best practices and is in compliance with state and federal regulations.

RTA issued a request for proposals on Feb. 22 that gave interested parties 12 weeks to prepare and submit proposals by May 19.

The transit agency plans to buy 18 railcars and seek options to buy dozens more later. RTA wants to use federal funding to finance some of the purchase.

The agency plans to use one model on all of its rail lines. Currently, it has two types of cars with one dedicated to use on the Red Line and another on the Green and Blue lines.

AAO contend that at least one rail car manufacturer was unable to visit the RTA railcar maintenance shop until April.

The advocacy group said deadline extensions for such projects are considered a “best practice” by the FTA, and had been done on projects in in California, New York, and Illinois in an effort to enhance competition among bidders.

“We hope that FTA’s [inspector general] will be able to determine why FTA’s best practices are not being followed here,” AAO said in its letter to the FTA, saying the deadline should be extended by a month.

FTA Announces $10M Grant Program

April 24, 2021

The Federal Transit Authority this week said it has available $10 million in competitive grant funding under its Pilot Program for Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Planning

Grants will be awarded in support of comprehensive planning efforts that help connect communities, improve access to public transportation and affordable housing, and combat climate change, advance environmental justice and promote equitable delivery of benefits to underserved communities, FTA said in a news release.

Priority will be given to projects that will help improve air quality in nonattainment and maintenance areas for certain criteria pollutants under the National Ambient Air Quality Standards and promote equitable delivery of benefits and services to underserved communities. 

This could include comprehensive planning studies around station areas for new fixed guideway projects, such as light rail, heavy rail, commuter rail, or bus rapid transit systems that have a designated right-of-way.

Fernandez Nominated to Lead FTA

April 14, 2021

Nuria Fernandez has been nominated by the Biden administration to serve as administrator of the Federal Transit Administration.

She has served as deputy administrator since Jan. 20. Previously Fernandez was general manager and chief executive officer of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority in California.

Fernandez also has served as chief operating officer for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York City, as senior vice president of design and construction for the Chicago Transit Authority, and worked at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

She is past chair of the American Public Transit Authority and has served on the boards of the Mineta Transportation Institute and The Transportation Learning Center.