The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) this week announced a $16.3 million competitive grant funding opportunity for projects that help lift communities out of poverty by supporting transit service improvements in underserved communities.
FTA's Areas of Persistent Poverty Program supports planning, engineering, and technical studies or financial planning to improve transit services in any areas experiencing long-term economic distress, in rural and urban communities alike. It can also fund the planning or studies of low and no emissions transit vehicles and associated infrastructure.
Along with a focus on underserved communities throughout the U.S. as a whole, projects will be selected, in part, on their ability to increase racial equity. Projects ratings will also benefit from their ability to lessen environmental damage to communities that have historically faced greater impacts from air, water, and ground pollution. Many of the eligible communities are in rural areas, which experience challenges in providing public transportation, ensuring safety, and keeping transit assets in a state of good repair.
"This program will support local strategies to help remove barriers to opportunity and increase equity in underserved communities," FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez said in a statement. "We want to ensure that transportation connects people to people, people to jobs and school, and people to all kinds of opportunities."
The FTA says eligible projects for this funding opportunity must be located in a county that consistently had greater than or equal to 20% of the population living in poverty over the 30-year period preceding the date of enactment of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, as measured by the 1990 and 2000 decennial census and the most recent Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates; or in a census tract with a poverty rate of at least 20% as measured by the 2014-2018 five-year data series available from the American Community Survey of the Bureau of the Census; or in any territory or possession of the U.S.
SOURCE: Federal Transit Administration