FTA recognizes that landscaping is an integral and functional element of many transit facilities. For example, landscaping can be used to aid in the absorption or drainage of storm water, prevention of erosion, support of structures on a steep grade, minimization of noise impacts, protection of habitat, provision of shade in hot climates, channeling of pedestrian or vehicle traffic, definition of publicly accessible and inaccessible areas, and many other purposes. In interpreting the term “functional landscaping” under this provision of law, FTA draws a similar distinction, as with art, between functionally appropriate landscape design and landscape elements installed solely for visual or aesthetic appeal.
For example, an eligible landscaping expense would include the installation of shade trees near a passenger station entrance. Likewise, FTA would allow the use of grant funds to install dense shrubs surrounding the area containing the transit system’s electrical equipment. FTA would expect the grantee to select particular varieties of trees and shrubs that are well-suited for the particular location and climate.