The bipartisan Infrastructure investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) is the largest amount of money used on American infrastructure in a generation. Public transit is one of the largest aspects of our nation’s infrastructure, and it desperately needs an upgrade. As part of our ongoing series covering the IIJA, we investigate the funding of public transit, and what that means for the cities, states, and entities that receive that funding.
Public Transit Funding
The IIJA is investing $91.2 billion to repair and modernize public transit. The legislation supports expanded public transportation choices nationwide, replacing thousands of deficient transit vehicles, including buses, with clean, zero emission vehicles, and improving accessibility for the elderly and people with disabilities. According to the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA), these are what the funds will be used for:
- Low or No Emission Bus Grants: $5.62 billion of competitive grants to help transit agencies purchase or lease low or zero emission buses.
- Bus and Bus Facilities Competitive Grants: $1.97 billion of competitive grants to replace, rehabilitate, purchase, or leas buses, bus-related equipment, and facilities.
- Urbanized Area Formula Grants: $33.4 billion in formula grants for transit capital and operating assistance in urbanized areas, and for transportation-related planning.
- Metropolitan Transportation Planning Program: $799.4 million in formula grants for planning organizations for work elements that result in a balance and comprehensive intermodal transportation planning for the movement of people and goods in the metropolitan area.
- Statewide Transportation Planning Program: $167 million in formula grants to be used for comprehensive planning, engineering, design, and evaluation of public transportation projects and studies involving modes other than transit when performed as part of the metropolitan planning process.
- Pilot Program for Transit Oriented Development: $68.9 million in competitive grants to help support the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) mission of improving public transportation for America’s communities. This provides funding to local communities to integrate land use and transportation planning with a new fixed guideway or core capacity transit capital investment. Examining ways to improve economic development and ridership, foster multimodal connectivity and accessibility, improve transit access for pedestrian and bicycle traffic, engage the private sector, identify infrastructure needs, and enable mixed-sed development near transit stations is a must.
- Passenger Ferry Grant Program: $150 million is provided for projects that support passenger ferry systems in urbanized areas.
- Ferry Service for Rural Communities Program: $2 billion for ferry services that operated a regular service at any time during the five-year period ending March 1, 2020, and that served no less than two rural areas located more than 50 nautical miles apart.
- Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities: $2.2 billion in formula grants will provide financial assistance in meeting the transportation needs of seniors and individuals with disabilities where public transportation is unavailable, insufficient, or inappropriate.
- Formula Grants for Rural Areas: $4.1 billion in grants will provide funding to improve, initiate, or continue public transportation service in non-urbanized areas, and provide technical assistance for rural transportation providers.
- Rural Transportation Assistance Program: $91.6 million in grants will be provided to fund states for transportation research, technical assistance, training, and related support services in rural areas.
- Appalachian Development Public Transportation Assistance Program: $137.4 million in grants will fund states in the Appalachian region to support the provision of public transit services in rural areas.
While many of these programs will help update our public transit options and infrastructure, the list isn’t done. There is a great deal more funding for our infrastructure that will help everyone fully utilize public transportation. Stay tuned for part 2 of the funding for public transportation, and read our past IIJA articles only at Roads & Bridges.