Posts Tagged ‘Public transit grants’

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.

APTA Has Grants to Bolster Public Transit

August 7, 2020

The American Public Transportation Association said it will award grants of $5,000 to $10,000 to transit coalitions to protect or expand public transportation, including rail.

In a news release, APTA said the grants will be seek to emphasize quick solutions to improve ridership, incorporate outreach to communities of color and/or promote efforts to activate college student as transit advocates.

APTA said projects with a “focused advocacy component” may be considered for additional funding.

A local public transportation coalition is defined as a group of people seeking to promote transit that has the support of local APTA members and becomes a member of the National Alliance of Public Transportation Advocates before receiving a grant.

Grant applications will be accepted until Aug. 21 and awards will be announced Sept. 16.

FTA Has Funding to Expedite Capital Projects

July 31, 2020

The Federal Transit Administration said it will make available $225 million in grant funding to be used to expedite completion of new transit capital projects.

The funding is being made available under a pilot program authorized by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act.

Eligible capital projects must use public-private partnerships, be operated and maintained by employees of an existing public transportation provider, and have a federal cost share not exceeding 25 percent of the project cost.

Currently, $100 million of the grant funding is available for allocation. Up to eight projects can be awarded funding.

FTA Grant Program Promotes Service Innovation

January 16, 2020

The Federal Transit Administration is providing $11 million in challenge grants that are to be used to help transit agencies explore new service models.

In a news release, FTA said the Accelerating Innovative Mobility initiative seeks to encourage innovation by promoting new approaches to improving transit system design, service and financing.

The AIM grants will be detailed in an upcoming FTA notice of funding opportunity, but the agency will seek to create a national network of transit agencies to test and share project results, and use FTA technical assistance centers to promote promising innovations.

FTA officials said that the federal fiscal year 2020 competitive grant programs will have $615 million and highlight innovation as part of their selection criteria.

Akron Metro Gets $3M State Grant

October 31, 2019

Akron Metro RTA will use a $3 million grant funding from the state to upgrade bus stops and pay for maintenance of its bus fleet.

The public transit agency said the funds will also be used for a new program known as Flex Ride that is slated to launch next year and connect suburban job centers with workers in need of transportation.

“This money is mainly focused on capital improvement projects,” said Metro RTA Planning Director Valarie Shay of the grant from the state.

“And by getting grant money to put towards capital projects it also frees up some money in our budget to be able to put towards service. So it all kind of ends up coming together.”

The funding comes from the Urban Transit Program and the Ohio Transit Partnership Program.

In other news, Metro said it will offer free rides on election day on Nov. 5 and Veterans Day on Nov. 11.

The transit agency has also rolled out a cashless ticketing operation through the EZfare mobile app.

Riders who download the EZfare app can set up an account with an email address and credit or debit card.

They can use their mobile device to purchase a bus pass and show it to the bus operator.

Passengers will need data or Wi-Fi to buy a bus pass, but do not need data or Wi-Fi to activate the pass when boarding.

After Metro launched EZfare in August on its Northcoast Express routes it determined that 20 to 30 percent of passengers were using the mobile ticketing feature.

Thirteen Ohio and northern Kentucky transit agencies use the EZfare app, including PARTA in Portage County, MCPT in Medina County, Laketran in Lake County and SARTA in Stark County.

Passengers can access tickets and passes from any of the agencies through the same app, making it easier to transfer to other buses and travel to different counties.

Transit, Amtrak do Well in Budget Bill

May 3, 2017

A proposed federal budget for the remainder of fiscal year 2017 contains funding for public transportation and Amtrak, the American Public Transportation Association reported.

Congress is expected to vote on the budget this week to fund the federal government through Sept. 30.

The FY17 omnibus appropriations bill contains $12.4 billion in funding for the Federal Transit Administration, $657 million above the FY 2016 enacted level.

The transit formula grants total is $9.7 million while about $2.4 billion would go toward “New Starts” funding, including $1.5 billion for current Full Funding Grant Agreement transit projects.

Amtrak would receive a $75 million increase to $1.495 billion.

Also included in the bill is $199 million for positive train control funding authorized under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act.

The Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements grant program would receive $68 million; the Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair grant program would get $25 million; the Restoration and Enhancement Grants would get $5 million; and the Transit Security Grant program, $88 million.

The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant program would be funded at $500 million.

Trump Budget Would Hit Ohio Public Transit

March 20, 2017

The proposed fiscal year 2018 budget submitted to Congress by the Trump administration would put funding-starved public transportation in Ohio in even more dire straits.

“We’re barely hanging on. It’s just going to make the existing problems even worse,” said Kirt Conrad, president of the Ohio Public Transit Association and CEO of the Stark Area Regional Transit Authority.

President Donald J. Trump wants to cut the U.S. Department of Transportation budget by $2.4 billion, which is 13 percent.

Much of the adverse effect on public transportation could come from cuts to grant programs that benefit public transit systems.

The New Starts program, which was authorized to fund $2.3 billion in new rail or bus-rapid transit lines or to expand existing lines through 2020, was used by Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s HealthLine on Euclid Avenue.

“It [budget cuts] really potentially cuts future transit expansions in the country in general. It’s not just Ohio; in the whole country, public transit is at risk,” Conrad said. “In Ohio, without the federal support, I do not see those expansions.”

Also slated to be cut is the TIGER grant proram, which has also been used to fund transit in Ohio.

TIGER grants have funded rehabilitation of RTA stations, including the Little Italy-University Circle station and the University-Cedar station.

Two TIGER grants awarded in 2016 funded bicycle infrastructure in Cleveland and Akron.

Ohio transportation officials say the state’s transit systems rely on federal funding because Ohio limits the use of gas tax revenue to road projects.

Further squeezing public transit systems is a coming loss of revenue from a Medicaid MCO sale tax, which had been used for transit funding.

Starting in 2019, public transit systems in Ohio will lose $34 annually from that revenue source.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich has proposed increasing state funding for public transportation by $10 million to make up part of the slack being left by the loss of the Medicaid MCO sales tax.

“Access to public transit is just getting worse, not better, in Ohio,” Conrad said.

Although the impact of the proposed Trump budget on highway construction and maintenance funding has yet to come into clear focus, transportation officials say that the loss of TIGER grants will have an adverse effect by removing another source of federal funding.

A $125 million TIGER grant helped pay, for example, for the new eastbound span of the George V. Voinovich (Innerbelt Bridge).

The Trump budget would also shift responsibility for air traffic control from the Federal Aviation administration to an independent, non-governmental organization.

NARP Decries Amtrak, Transit Budget Cuts

March 17, 2017

The National Association of Railroad Passengers said Thursday that the Trump administration budget for Amtrak for the fiscal year 2018 appears to have been adopted from a model proposed by the conservative Heritage Foundation.

The administration described the budget blueprint as a “skinny budget” and it contains few program details.

NARP contends that while President Donald Trump has talked up the need for transportation infrastructure investment, “his administration’s first budget guts infrastructure spending, slashing $2.4 billion from transportation. This will jeopardize mobility for millions of Americans and endanger tens of thousands of American jobs.”

The budget, which must be approved by Congress, would end all federal funding for Amtrak’s national network trains.

NARP said this would leave 23 states, including Ohio, without rail passenger service.

The Trump budget would also cut $499 million from the TIGER grant program, which has been used to advance passenger rail and transit projects and eliminate $2.3 billion for the Federal Transit Administration’s “New Starts” Capital Investment Program, which is used to fund the launch of transit, commuter rail, and light-rail projects.

Political analysts have noted that no budget proposal sent to Congress has emerged without changes.

It is likely that transportation advocacy groups will lobby Congress hard to restore the funding that Trump wants to cut.

FTA Offering Transit Oriented Grants

April 17, 2016

The Federal Transition Administration is offering $20.5 million in competitive grants to support transit-oriented development projects.

Being provided by the agency’s Transit-Oriented Development Planning Pilot Program, the grants will be made for comprehensive planning in communities that are developing or implementing major new transportation projects.

FTAPlanning work must be associated with a transit project for which the community intends to seek funding through FTA’s Capital Investment Grant Program or that recently received funding through CIG.

“This funding opportunity will help communities plan development that creates jobs, encourages transit use, and gives residents convenient access to work, school, medical care, housing and other vital services,” said FTA Senior Adviser Carolyn Flowers. “Transit-oriented development helps ensure that the benefits of new transit lines extend throughout a community.”

The pilot program was created as part of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act.