US Transportation Secretary, Elaine L Chao has announced new grants to enhance transit mobility options and revitalise the country’s bus network and new funding opportunities for agencies to develop new data tools that can improve road safety.
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) will award US$423m in transit infrastructure grants nationwide to improve the safety and reliability of the USA’s bus systems and enhance services for transit riders. Demand for the FTA’s Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program far exceeded available funds, as the agency received applications for 318 eligible projects totalling approximately US$1.9bn in funding requests, from a total of 270 applicants in 43 states and territories. During the 2019 fiscal year, the FTA has made available more than US$12bn through both formula and competitive grant programs to support public transportation. The new funding supports projects to replace, rehabilitate, and purchase buses and related equipment, as well as projects to purchase, rehabilitate, and construct bus-related facilities.
A total of 94 projects in 42 states and the District of Columbia will receive funding from the new program, and those selected include:
- In Arizona, two projects will receive a total of US$17.4m, including approximately US$17.3m to the Northern Arizona Intergovernmental Public Transportation Authority to construct a new Downtown Connection Centre in Flagstaff and purchase all-electric buses; and US$160,000 to the White Mountain Apache Tribe to purchase new vehicles and expand transit service for tribal residents;
- In Michigan, the City of Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) and Flint Mass Transportation Authority (MTA) will receive a total of US$12.8m, including US$8.5m to modernise Detroit’s fare collection system on buses and US$4.3m to help Flint purchase new buses that will replace diesel buses that have exceeded their useful life;
- In North Carolina, three projects will receive a total of US$24.5m, including US$17.3m to the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to help several rural transit systems replace vehicles and construct public transportation facilities throughout the state; as well as US$6.8m to the Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation and US$480,000 to the City of Salisbury to purchase new vehicles to replace those that have exceeded their useful life.
“More people travel by bus than any other form of public transportation,” said the FTA’s acting administrator, K Jane Williams. “This Administration is committed to rebuilding our nation’s transportation infrastructure and helping to improve bus service nationwide.”
The USDOT has also published a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) to build the capacity of state, local, and tribal governments to use innovative new data tools and information to improve roadway safety. The new finance is an important step in the agency’s Safety Data Initiative, which helps communities devise policies to reduce roadway fatalities. The funding opportunity makes available up to US$3m to develop, refine, and deploy safety tools that address specific roadway safety problems. USDOT anticipates making awards of US$250,000 to US$500,000 to each successful applicant, with those eligible including: state or local governments, metropolitan planning organizations and regional governments, other political subdivisions of a state or local government, and tribal governments.
Chao said, “This is part of the Department’s ongoing effort to utilize predictive data analytics to identify and address systemic factors contributing to crashes and improve roadway safety in communities across America.”