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FTA Announces $2.2B in Transit Grants

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

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The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration recently announced the availability of $2.2 billion in competitive grants for transit systems.


Demonstrating additional pandemic-associated needs, the notice of funding opportunity specifies that the grants will only be eligible for recipients or subrecipients requiring additional COVID-19 pandemic-associated fiscal support.


“As public transit systems continue to recover from the devastating financial and public health impacts of COVID, they must have the resources they need to keep trains and buses running, especially in heavily transit-dependent communities,” said U.S. Transportation Deputy Secretary Polly Trottenberg


“The funding opportunity we are announcing today will help connect people to jobs, services and opportunities, while supporting crucial health and safety measures for the traveling public and our nation’s dedicated transit workforce.


Adam Fagen, CC-SA 2.0, via Flickr

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration recently announced the availability of $2.2 billion in competitive grants for transit systems.


According to the FTA, the $2,207,561,294 in funding is being provided through the American Rescue Plan of 2021, which was signed into law earlier this year by President Joe Biden.


The Administration reports that Additional Assistance Funding will be awarded to transit systems that demonstrate its need for additional assistance to cover operating expenses related to maintaining day-to-day operations, cleaning and sanitization, combating the spread of pathogens on transit systems and maintaining critical staffing levels.


“The Additional Assistance Funding will support transit agencies demonstrating a continuing need for assistance in maintaining daily operations,” added FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez. “Public transportation connects people to jobs, education and vital services, and this program will help transit agencies continue to provide critical transit services in communities that need it most.”


In reviewing the applications, the FTA reports that it will conduct evaluations based on the level of financial need, including projections of future financial need to maintain service as a percentage of the 2018 operating costs.


However, funding that is requested by an eligible applicant must not have been replaced by funding made available through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021, or other ARP funding.


The NOFO was placed on public inspection at the Federal Register on Sept. 8 and officially published on Sept. 9. Those interested in submitting applications must do so electronically through the website by 11:59 PM ET Nov. 8.


For those seeking additional information, the FTA reports that it plans to host a webinar about the NOFO on Sept. 23 at 3 PM ET. Registration information has yet to be made available.


Additional FTA Funding, News


Just last month, the U.S. Senate passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act—a $1.2 trillion bipartisan bill—after weeks of negotiations.


Looking to the transportation and transit industry sectors specifically, the infrastructure package outlines $66 billion for passenger and freight rail, $39 billion for public transit and $25 billion for airports.


Although the resulting bill is less than the roughly $2.2 trillion "American Jobs Plan" that Biden had proposed earlier this year, Democratic leaders have pledged to pursue the rest of their spending priorities as part of a second $3.5 trillion budget measure.

The pilot program is aimed at aiding minority and disadvantaged people by ensuring local hiring for public works construction projects. The reinstatement reverses a prior decision made by the Trump administration.
Under Buttigieg, both the FHWA’s and FTA’s programs will give contracting agencies expanded flexibility to use hiring preferences to enhance workforce development opportunities for those in economically or socially disadvantaged communities.
According to a press release by the USDOT, FHWA’s Enhancing Workforce Development Opportunities Contracting Initiative will assist to rebuild the skilled workforce needed to improve the nation’s transportation infrastructure. Over the course of four years, transportation agencies and contractors will be better equipped to recruit qualified construction workers.
According to the Federal Register, Congress had authorized the Urban Mass Transportation Administration—a predecessor agency of the FTA—to conduct oversight of major capital projects and to promulgate a rule in recognizing that the management and oversight of major capital projects, specifically in the Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation Assistance Act of 1987, needed strengthening.

The rule "redefines a 'major capital project' as a new fixed guideway project—or an expansion, rehabilitation or modernization of an existing fixed guideway system—with a total project cost of $300 million or more and with a Federal investment of $100 million or more.”

Previously, major capital projects were defined as a project costing $100 million or more but didn’t include federal support as a factor.

In the new ruling, the USDOT has saved $4.37 billion in regulatory costs to the economy and consumers, in addition to exceeding President Donald J. Trump’s 2-for-1 plan, issuing at its peak 23 regulatory reform actions for every new single regulatory action. At the time of this publication, the USDOT has issued 65 regulatory reform actions and six significant regulatory actions.



Tagged categories: Department of Transportation (DOT); Funding; Government; Grants; Mass transit; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Project Management; Public Transit

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