Posts Tagged ‘public transit funding’

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.

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.

Biden Budget Proposal Boosts Amtrak Spending 35%

May 30, 2021

Amtrak would get a 35 percent boost, most of it for capital projects, if Congress adopts the Biden administration budget.

The administration has proposed $2.7 billion for Amtrak with a major share of that funding set to be used for track and station improvements, fleet refreshment, and systemwide maintenance. Another $625 million would create a new grant program, Passenger Rail Improvement, Modernization and Expansion, to develop and expand rail corridors across the nation.

The U.S Department of Transportation would receive $88 billion in total.

This includes $13.5 billion for transit projects of which $2.5 billion is for Capital Investment Grants, a $459 million increase, to accelerate projects already in process and support new projects seeking approval.

Another $550 million would go toward Transit Infrastructure Grants of which $250 million is for the Zero Emission Bus Program.

The Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity grant program would receive $1 billion in funding.

SEPTA To Gradually Restore Suspended Service

April 26, 2021

Service restorations and a hiring freeze are highlights of the operating budget recently approved by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.

SEPTA said the restoration of service suspended during theCOVID-19 pandemic would be gradual.

This includes restoration to 96 percent of pre-pandemic service for buses, subways, trolleys, and the Norristown High Speed rail line.

SEPTA officials said that by fall 80 percent of regional rail service will have been restored.

Bus service is currently at at about 85 percent of pre-pandemic levels while regional rail is at about 64 percent.

Aside from a hiring freeze SEPTA is making other cost cut as part of its $1.5 billion operating budget. The budget includes $368 million in federal COVID-19 relief funding.

The agency’s capital budget is expected to be announced this week.

Pandemic Aid Available for Public Transit

March 30, 2021

The $30.5 billion in COVID-19 relief to public transit systems that was earmarked in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 is now available, the Federal Transit Administration said on Monday.

The funding includes $26.6 billion to be distributed by statutory formulas to urban and rural areas, to tribal governments, and for the enhanced mobility of seniors and individuals with disabilities.

Another $2.2 billion is available for FTA grant recipients in communities that demonstrate additional pandemic-associated needs.

FTA said the funding is available at the 100 percent federal share and primarily directed to operations and payroll.

The program makes $1.7 billion available for projects in the Capital Investment Grants Program and $25 million for competitive planning grants.

The transit agency will hold a webinar on April 2 to provide more information about the grants.

Senate Ups Aid to Amtrak, Public Transit

March 9, 2021

Two Indiana projects would benefit from the $30.5 billion for public transit that is part of H.R. 1319, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which was approved by the Senate last Saturday.

The Senate increased by $1.25 billion the funding for public transit over what the House approved on Feb. 27 and also increased the funding for Amtrak over the House-passed levels.

The bill now goes back to the House for further consideration. The House passed a modified version of the legislation providing $1.9 trillion in COVID-19 emergency funding.

Although some senators proposed amendments that would have cut, transferred or removed the aid to public transit, few of those amendments received a roll call vote and none were approved.

However, the Senate did approve an amendment to make 23 public transit programs eligible for federal Capital Investment Grants.

The House is expected to take up the amended version of the bill today and if approved it would go to President Joseph Biden for his signature.

No projects from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Kentucky or West Virginia, were included among the 23 public transit projects eligible for CIG grants.

The two projects in Indiana that will qualify for funding include a double tracking of the South Shore Commuter rail line and a project to establish the West Lake Corridor commuter rail corridor between Hammond and Dyer

The project cost of the West Lake Corridor is $945 million and with a CIG grant share of 38 percent or $355 million. The local share for the project is $590 million.

The South Shore double tracking project cost is $491 million with a CIG grant share of of 38 percent or $173 million. The local share is $318 million.

The American Rescue Plan Act includes $1.7 billion for Amtrak. That is a $200 million increase in funding from what the House approved last month.

Under the Senate version of the legislation $970 million will go toward the Northeast Corridor while the national network will receive $730 million.

The bill also provides $285 million to Amtrak “in lieu of commuter rail and state-supported route payments.”

The bill includes $166 million “to restore service on long-distance routes and to recall and manage furloughed employees.”

The breakdown of other public transit funding in the bill includes $26.09 billion for transit systems in urban areas and $317 million for grants in rural areas.

Also approved was $50 million in grants to benefit services for seniors and those with disabilities; $2.21 billion for operating assistance grants  pertaining to addressing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic; and $250 million for Small Start projects that are recipients of a CIG allocation or an applicant in the project development phase.

House Committee OKs COVID-19 Aid for Amtrak, Public Transit

February 11, 2021

A congressional committee on Wednesday approved transportation funding for a COVID-19 relief bill.

The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure approved a plan put forth by committee Democrats to provide $1.5 billion for Amtrak and $30 billion for public transit.

The committee also approved a policy rider directing Amtrak to restore without 90 days daily service for long-distance trains that operated daily before last fall.

The Amtrak funding had to survive two efforts by committee Republicans to eliminate it.

The committee defeated a motion by Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pennsylvania) to cut the Amtrak funding from the bill.

Another committee member, Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Arkansas) withdrew an amendment to transfer the Amtrak emergency funding to a highway-rail grade crossing program.

Crawford withdrew his amendment after Committee Chair Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) agreed to work with Crawford on the grade crossing issue in the upcoming surface transportation reauthorization bill.

The bill now advances to the full House. The Senate is expected to consider a counterpart COVID-19 pandemic relief bill.

Amtrak funding as approved by the House committee would be broken down to $820,388,160 for the Northeast Corridor and $679,622,840 for the national network.

The bill directs that not less than $165,926,000 of the combined amounts of the NEC and national network is to be used to restore all long-distance service in effect as of July 1, 2020, and to recall all workers put on furlough on or after Oct. 1, 2020.

Another clause provides that not less than $109,805,000 from the combined amounts of the NEC and national network shall be used in lieu of capital payments that the state-supported routes and commuter authorities were required to pay.

Amtrak is to use $174,850,000 from the national network funds to offset amounts required to be paid by states for covered state-supported routes.

The $30 billion earmarked for public transit is to be used to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus pandemic and includes eligibility for operating expenses to prevent layoffs and avoid cuts to service.

The legislation includes mandates for how the funding it to be allocated among urbanized areas, rural areas and for services for seniors and those with disabilities.

Some of the public transit emergency aid can also be used for planning purposes.

COVID-19 Transportation Aid Levels Proposed

February 9, 2021

Democrats in the House of Representatives have reportedly settled on funding levels for transportation that would be included in a proposed $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill.

Under the proposal, transit agencies would receive $30 billion, Amtrak would get $1.5 billion, airlines would receive $14 billion and airports would get $8 billion.

The COVID-19 aid funding for transit falls short of the $39.3 billion that transit systems were seeking.

Amtrak funding would nearly match the $1.541 billion that the intercity passenger carrier is seeking from Congress.

However, it exceeds the $20 million that President Joseph Biden had proposed.

Biden’s initial proposal contained no funding for Amtrak or airlines.

A House committee is expected to begin working this week on the COVID-19 pandemic aid proposal.

Buttigieg Meets With Amtrak, Transit Officials

February 6, 2021

Newly confirmed Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg stood on a boarding platform at Washington Union Station on Friday to urge compliance with a federal mask mandate aboard trains, planes and buses.

Pete Buttigieg

He also pledged that the Biden Administration will provide financial relief for public transit systems through its American Rescue Plan.

The remarks came during a meeting with Amtrak and Washington public transit officials.

 “We depend on many essential workers for our economy and for our way of life,” Buttigieg said.

“And while many Americans are wrestling with the complexities of working from home, many other Americans don’t have the opportunity, or the option, to work from home, and they are supported by these extraordinary workers who look after the safety, efficiency and effectiveness of American travel.”

Buttigieg said that above all he wanted to thank transportation workers for making it possible for essential trips to be taken and essential goods and service to be delivered during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The mask mandate stems from an executive order signed by President Joseph Biden on Jan. 21 directing facial masks for domestic and international travel.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued its own mandate on Jan. 29 requiring the wearing of facial masks while on public transportation and while in transportation terminals.

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration on Jan. 31 issued a security directive stating the mask mandate applies to passenger railroads, intercity bus services and public transportation.

In the meantime, a coalition of 22 transit agencies has called on Congress to provide $39.3 billion in pandemic relief to public transit systems in order to avoid further service and job cuts.

Amtrak, Transit Did Well in Budget Bill

December 23, 2020

Public Transit and Amtrak did reasonably well in the legislation approved by Congress this week to fund the federal government through the end of the 2021 fiscal year on Sept. 30.

The $1.4 billion omnibus budget bill include $15.5 billion for public transportation and passenger rail, a $10 million increase from the enacted levels of FY 2020.

The funding breaks down to $2.8 billion for passenger rail and $13 billion for the Federal Transit Administration.

Amtrak’s FY2021 funding included $700 million for operating and capital projects in the Northeast Corridor.

Of that $75 million is earmarked for bringing Amtrak-served facilities and stations into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The national network received $1.3 billion for long-distance and state-supported trains, including $50 million for the latter.

Among the policy riders attached to the budget bill was one stating it is the sense of Congress that long-distance passenger rail routes provide much-needed transportation access, particularly in rural areas.

The long-distance passenger rail routes and services should be sustained to ensure connectivity throughout the national network.

Another rider sets aside $100 million to support the acquisition of new single-level passenger equipment in proportion to the use of this equipment for Amtrak’s NEC, state-supported, and long-distance services.

The bill “reminds” Amtrak that Congress removed the prohibition on the use of Federal funds to cover any operating loss associated with providing food and beverage service on Amtrak routes.

That action was part of a one-year extension of federal surface transportation authorization legislation approved last September.

Amtrak also was directed to “continually review and evaluate the locations and trains that may be eligible for private car moves, update the guidelines for private cars on Amtrak if additional locations or trains meet Amtrak’s criteria, and notify private car owners of these changes.”

In other budget provisions, the Consolidated Rail Improvement and Safety Improvements program received $375 million for rail projects of which at least $75 million is to be used for projects that support the development of new intercity passenger rail routes including alignments for existing routes.

Not less than $25 million is to be used for capital projects and engineering solutions targeting trespassing.

The Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair program received $200 million to repair, replace, or rehabilitate qualified railroad assets to reduce the state of good repair backlog and improve intercity passenger rail performance.

The Restoration and Enhancement Grants program received $4.7 million for initiating, restoring, or enhancing intercity passenger rail transportation.

Of the $13 billion appropriated for the Federal Transit Administration, $2 billion is to be used for for Capital Investment Grants and $516 million for Transit Infrastructure Grants.

The bill reestablishes an 80/20 cost share split between the federal government and state government for the CIG program.