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United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

U.S. Department of Transportation Announces Key Priorities, Funding for Public Transportation Under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

Monday, November 15, 2021

Law will provide up to $108 billion for transit – most significant federal support in nation’s history

WASHINGTON – The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is the largest investment in American infrastructure in generations, and marks an inflection point for American transit. It will boost transit funding for communities all over the country by an average of 30% – helping communities address maintenance backlogs, modernize and expand. The new funding provided under the bill will help transit agencies reduce the current maintenance backlog by 15% and replace more than 500 aging subway, light rail, and commuter rail cars. It will further modernize the nation’s transit fleet by replacing more than 10,000 fossil-fuel powered transit vehicles with cleaner electric or low-emission transit vehicles. 

Following President Biden’s signing of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal into law, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today announced key priorities and historic funding amounts for public transportation. The law authorizes up to $108 billion, including $91 billion in guaranteed funding for public transportation – the most significant federal investment in transit in the nation’s history.

Transportation passengers across the country will see more reliable transit service as older vehicles and facilities are repaired or replaced, and cleaner air in their communities thanks to a transition to low- and no-emission transit vehicles. The funding will help us respond to climate change, while creating more ways for people to get to work, to play, to access healthcare, and to visit friends and family. 

"As the transit industry renews ridership, this historic support will help us transform the way we plan and use public transportation in the United States," said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez. "Long-overdue investments in transit infrastructure will deliver new and expanded public transit services, especially in communities that have suffered from historical funding inequities."  

Key priorities for public transportation under the legislation include: 

  • Safety: The law will enhance state safety oversight programs by strengthening rail inspection practices, protecting transit workers and riders from injuries, and ensuring safe access to transit.
  • Modernization: The law will reduce the maintenance backlog by repairing and upgrading aging transit infrastructure and modernizing bus and rail fleets.
  • Climate: Funding in the law will support replacement of thousands of transit vehicles, including buses and ferries, with cleaner, greener vehicles. 
  • Equity: Investments in the law will improve transit service for communities that have historically had more limited access to transit and provide for substantial upgrades to accessibility.

Key funding levels and programmatic changes for public transportation over a five-year period (Fiscal Years 2022 to 2026) include: 

  • Increased funding for FTA formula and competitive grant programs for America’s communities, including:
    • $33.5 billion for the Urbanized Area Formula Program to support transit operations in 500 communities across the country.
    • $23.1 billion for the State of Good Repair program to assist in financing capital projects to maintain public transit systems. 
    • $5.6 billion in Low or No Emission Vehicle Competitive Grants to support the transition of transit vehicles to low or zero emission technologies.
    • $5.1 billion in Buses and Bus Facilities formula and competitive grants.
    • $4.6 billion for Rural Area Formula Grants to support transit investments and operations in rural areas communities, including $229 million for Public Transportation on Indian Reservations formula and competitive grants.
    • $2.2 billion for the Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities program.
    • $3.9 billion for additional Urbanized and Rural Formula Program assistance through the Growing States and High-Density States formulas.
    • $966.4 million to support Metropolitan and Statewide Planning programs.
  • Up to $23 billion for the Capital Investment Grants (CIG) Program, with $8 billion guaranteed to invest in new high-capacity transit projects that communities choose to build.
  • Four new competitive grant programs, including a guaranteed:
    • $1.75 billion for an All Stations Accessibility Program to reduce the number of legacy rail transit stations that remain inaccessible to individuals with disabilities.
    • $1.5 billion for Rail Vehicle Replacement Grants to replace railcars that are past their useful life and improve reliability, safety and accessibility for transit passengers.
    • $1 billion for Ferry Service for Rural Communities to improve access and mobility in areas where ferry service is a critical link for communities. 
    • $250 million for an Electric or Low-Emitting Ferry pilot program to support the transition of passenger ferries to low- or zero-emission technologies.
  • $193 million for transit research activities and $62 million for technical assistance and workforce development activities.

To support the implementation of these historic funding investments and new programs for public transportation under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, FTA is preparing fact sheets and related information for transit agencies, recipients of federal funding, and other transit stakeholders. Learn about funding and programs on FTA’s website and through additional webinars and outreach that will take place in the coming weeks and months.