May 23, 2022
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The Federal Transit Administration recently made $1.47 billion in grants available to help modernize bus fleets and facilities nationwide.

[Above photo by the FTA]

FTA also awarded $2.2 billion in American Rescue Pan or ARP funds to 35 recipients in 18 states to help public transportation agencies suffering from COVID-19 ridership losses pay for day-to-day operations.

Photo by the FTA

Those funds are part of what the agency said is the Biden administration’s “commitment to modernize our nation’s transportation infrastructure, create and maintain good-paying jobs, and combat climate change as we build out clean energy fleets.”

FTA said in a statement that the $1.47 billion worth of “clean bus” grants comes from the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act or IIJA signed into law in November 2021.

That funding will flow through two separate programs, the agency added.

First, the IIJA provides $5.5 billion over five years for the FTA’s Low or No Emission (Low-No) Grant Program  to help transit agencies purchase or lease U.S.-built low or no-emission. For fiscal year 2022, IIJA funding for grants via the “Low-No” program amounts to some approximately $1.1 billion.

Photo collage by the FTA

Furthermore, FTA said 5 percent of each grant under the Low-No program must be used for workforce development and training, with the agency issuing “tools” via its new Transit Workforce Center to help agencies do this.

Second, the IIJA provides nearly $2 billion over five years FTA’s Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program to help transit agencies purchase and rehabilitate buses, vans, and related equipment, and build bus facilities. For FY 2022, IIJA funds will provide roughly $372 million for grants via that program.

Concurrently, FTA said the $2.2 billion in ARP funds it is awarding to 35 recipients in 18 states to keep transit workers across the country on the job to ensure trains and buses keep running. Eligible applicants included eligible recipients of FTA Urbanized Area Formula funds or Rural Area Formula funds, including Indian tribes, the agency said.

Nuria Fernandez

“Millions of Americans rely on their local transit systems to get to work and school, access medical care and critical services, relieve congestion, and reduce pollution,” said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez in a statement.

“The [COVID-19] pandemic has shown that public transportation is more essential than ever, which is why these funds are crucial to avoid drastic service cuts and layoffs that would damage the economy and public health,” she added.

FTA noted that, with this announcement, it has allocated some 99 percent of the $30.5 billion in ARP funding designated to support the nation’s public transportation system and plans to allocate the remaining $25 million in planning grants funded by the ARP “soon.”

editor@aashto.org

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