U.S. Department of Transportation Announces $19.5 Million to Improve Transit Access in Selected Communities Around the Country
Contact: Sarah Clements
TACOMA, WA. – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today announced that 21 organizations around the country will receive a share of $19.5 million in grants to support comprehensive planning projects that improve access to public transit. The funds are made available through FTA’s Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Planning Pilot Program for communities that are developing new or improved mass transit systems. A list of selected projects is available online and in the Federal Register.
“Our nation’s transportation demands have exceeded our capacity, causing millions of Americans to lose precious time stuck on congested roads and transit systems,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “By investing in transit planned around housing, jobs and services, these communities are creating ladders of opportunity for their citizens and laying a strong foundation for economic development that our growing nation demands.”
FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillan announced the grants in Tacoma, Washington, home of Sound Transit, one of the grant recipients. She was joined at the announcement by Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland, city council representatives and other local officials.
“Transit-oriented development is critical to the success of new projects and to the economy of the local communities they serve,” said FTA Acting Administrator McMillan. “These grants will help communities like Tacoma develop a transportation system that encourages people to use transit to reach jobs, education, medical care, housing and other vital services that they need.”
Sound Transit, in partnership with the City of Tacoma, will receive $2 million in FTA funding to support the development of a mobility and economic development plan for communities along the proposed Tacoma Link expansion, a 2.4-mile extension of the Tacoma Link light rail line.
In total, FTA’s TOD Pilot Program will provide grants for comprehensive planning work in 17 metropolitan areas around the country, helping communities integrate their land-use and transportation planning efforts as they improve their transit systems.
Among the planning projects selected nationwide:
- The Utah Transit Authority (UTA) will receive $250,500 to work with the cities of Provo and Orem and other partners to analyze land use, markets, housing and essential service conditions along the corridor where the Provo-Orem Bus Rapid Transit line is being planned. The planning project also includes financial, regulatory, parking and development review strategies to promote transit-oriented development in the corridor.
- The Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) will receive approximately $1.1 million to work with local partners to develop a toolkit of policy and regulatory changes to encourage transit-oriented development in the areas surrounding the planned Downtown Riverfront Streetcar project. The toolkit will include updated plans and guidelines for areas along the streetcar route, updated zoning codes that encourage transit-oriented development, an infrastructure assessment, and an analysis of affordable housing.
- GoTriangle (formerly Triangle Transit) in Durham, North Carolina, will receive approximately $1.7 million to support its efforts to implement transit-oriented development along the Durham-Orange Light Rail project, a light rail line that the agency is developing between Durham and Chapel Hill. This includes working with the City of Durham and the Town of Chapel Hill to educate the community about the benefits of transit-oriented development, conducting an economic analysis of the corridor and each station area, generating affordable housing strategies, and creating zoning and regulatory tools that support transit-oriented development.
FTA’s TOD Pilot Program was established under the current transportation funding authorization, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). To be eligible for the Pilot Program, the planning work must be associated with a transit project for which the local community intends to seek funding through FTA’s Capital Investment Grants (CIG) Program. The CIG Program is FTA’s primary grant program for funding major transit capital investments, including rapid rail, light rail, bus rapid transit and core capacity projects.
Earlier this year, the Obama Administration announced a new proposal for transportation funding, the GROW AMERICA Act, which would make critical investments in transit and other infrastructure needed to promote long-term economic growth, enhance safety and efficiency, and support jobs for the 21st century.