FTA announces $20 million funding to help improve transit in economically distressed areas
Provided as part of FTA’s Areas of Persistent Poverty Program, the $20 million funding will provide more resources to underserved and disadvantaged communities that are seeking to expand or improve their transit systems.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has announced a new Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) to help improve transit in areas experiencing long-term economic distress.
The $20 million in competitive grant funding through FTA’s Areas of Persistent Poverty (AoPP) Program will provide more resources to underserved and disadvantaged communities that are seeking to expand or improve their transit systems.
“At a time when transportation is the second-largest household expense for most American families, it is more important than ever to ensure that everyone has access to affordable public transit,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “The new resources we are announcing today (9 January 2023) will make it easier for people in our most underserved communities to access jobs, school, healthcare and other vital services.”
The AoPP programme supports planning and technical studies to improve public transportation in areas experiencing long-term economic hardship – in rural and urban communities alike. The programme also funds planning for transit agencies to transition to low- and no-emission vehicles and the required charging equipment.
“Transit is the great equaliser – particularly in rural areas, where having access to an affordable, reliable bus ride means people can get to their destinations, in a timely manner,” said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez. “FTA’s Areas of Persistent Poverty Program ends isolation and opens doors to opportunities for those who do not have a car or cannot drive.”
Given that many economically distressed communities also face environmental challenges, special consideration will be given to projects that mitigate air, water and ground pollution.
The AoPP Program supports projects in large and small urban areas, as well as in rural and tribal areas, although eligible projects must be located in an Area of Persistent Poverty or Historically Disadvantaged Community. Since 2020, FTA has awarded 70 projects through the programme, totalling more than $24.6 million, including:
- In Alabama, the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham received $495,000 to help connect people living in areas of persistent poverty to the city’s bus rapid transit (BRT) system
- The Delaware Transit Corporation received $630,000 to improve transportation for low-income areas in the Route 9 Corridor by enhancing bus service, micro-transit and pedestrian access to jobs, schools, healthcare and other services
- In Pennsylvania, the Port Authority of Allegheny County received $594,000 for comprehensive planning for a corridor project that will focus on the East/Central Pittsburgh Connection. The project will link several communities to overcome geographic barriers and increase transit efficiency between the city’s southern and eastern neighbourhoods.
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