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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

The Federal Transit Program Turns 60

"Collage of photos - FTA program turns 60"

The idea for the federal transit program was born with a message to Congress by President John F. Kennedy in 1962 and launched in 1964 when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Urban Mass Transportation Act.

Over its nearly six decades, the federal transit program has helped transform transit in America from scattered bus systems and a small number of high-capacity systems to a diverse set of transit providers in thousands of communities. Today, FTA administers a $20 billion annual program with the historic funding provided by the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

As we approach the 60th anniversary of the federal transit program on July 9, 2024, FTA will highlight milestone programs and initiatives that have fulfilled the FTA’s mission to improve America’s communities through public transportation. 


In video 1, we provide an overview of the federal transit program, from supporting small independent bus systems and a few subway lines in the 1960s to today’s network of transit providers serving thousands of communities nationwide.
Bus rapid transit is the fastest-growing mode of public transportation. In this video, learn about how this transit newcomer became such a popular way to travel and FTA’s role in setting it up for success.

Did You Know?

Social Media Posts

Facebook Post 07-09-2023 Happy Birthday to us! On July 9, 1964, the federal transit program was born as the Urban Mass Transit Administration following legislation championed by President Kennedy and signed by President Johnson. It was the nation’s first federal program to support “mass transportation.” See post
07/09/2023 04:27 PM EDT

Did you know? More than 70,000 transit buses run on fixed routes every day in the United States, and about 75% of them are funded, in part, by FTA. These buses are on the streets in over 500 urban areas across the country, including thousands of cities and towns. See post
09/22/2023 01:53 PM EDT

Did you know the nation’s transit systems have 4,530 miles of track in subway, light rail, streetcar and related systems?  Of these, 4,074 miles have been built or replaced since 1960 under the federal transit program – enough to lay track from New York to Milan! See post
10/06/2023 02:05 PM EDT

Did you know? @mta in New York City is by far the largest transit provider in the nation. Every year, more than 2.3 billion commuters, residents and visitors travel on NYC subways and buses. To support a network that helps power the Big Apple’s economic engine, FTA provides $2.8 billion a year and supports capital projects to improve and expand the network. See post
10/26/2023 02:05 PM EDT
Did you know? Colorado provides more rural transit than any other state. Colorado, which provides over 13 million rural transit trips annually, is also home to the nation’s first and longest rural bus rapid transit system, run by Roaring Fork Transportation Authority. The VelociRFTA BRT opened in 2013 and runs 40 miles throughout Colorado’s Western Slope region. FTA supports the state’s 42 rural transit systems with about $22 million every year. See post
11/20/2023 12:27 PM EDT