With help from federal COVID-19 relief funding, the Texas Transportation Commission has approved $89 million in transit funding at its June meeting. It is the largest amount of funding at one time for transit agencies across the state. This funding supports equitable, reliable transit services that are an essential part of life for many people across Texas.
These funds support rural and urban transit services in over 96% of the state’s land area, serving 41% of the state’s population.
- State funds: $35 million
- Federal funds: $54 million
The funding includes over $10 million from the federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act to help transit agencies manage the impacts of COVID-19. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Texas transit agencies have worked diligently to maintain safe and reliable transit services throughout the state. TxDOT funding contributed to the nearly 20 million transit rides provided in Fiscal Year 2020, even during the pandemic.
“When most services shut down during the pandemic, these transit agencies continued serving thousands of Texans across the state,” TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams said. “In a time when they were needed most, these agencies helped people get to jobs, groceries or the medical care they needed. This additional funding will continue to improve access for Texans, enabling TxDOT to fulfill our mission of ‘Connecting You with Texas.’”
“During the pandemic we saw how important these transit agencies are for many Texans, especially in the more rural regions of the state,” Texas Transportation Commissioner Alvin New said. “Transit can be a lifeline for many people, and I’m happy to see this amount of funding go to these communities.”
These funds also include over $7 million for selected public transportation projects that address the needs of seniors and individuals with disabilities. There were 39 projects across the state selected in a competitive process to receive funding, including:
- Valley Metro in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, which will be able to expand its transit service offerings with on-demand microtransit, increasing its flexibility in scheduling and routes, and offering advance reservations to seniors and individuals with disabilities.
- Spartan Public Transportation in the Levelland area, which will be able to fill existing service gaps, maintain vehicles, pay mobility managers who help plan and manage trips, and purchase four accessible replacement vehicles.
- South East Texas Regional Planning Commission in the Beaumont area, which will use these funds to continue and expand its collaborative work with local transit agencies that provide seniors with curb-to-curb paratransit service to nutrition centers, Area Agency on Aging programs, and foster grandparent programs.
The approved awards fund public transportation providers in rural, small urban, and large urban areas. Funds can be used to support a combination of service and capital program expenses. Each transit agency determines specifically what they pay for with the funds they receive.
Visit here for a list of the agencies and communities that received funds.
Source: Texas DOT; photo source: TxDOT Twitter