The millions of people who depend on transit each day to get to work, to school, to the doctor, or to the grocery store expect a safe and comfortable ride. And the Federal Transit Administration's new "State of Good Repair" discretionary grant program is helping those riders by making sure America's transit systems are in the best working condition possible.
Yesterday, the FTA awarded a combined $776 million to rural and urban transit providers in 45 different states and the District of Columbia. Each of the 152 projects those dollars make possible will help bring buses, bus facilities, and related equipment into the state of good repair transit riders across America deserve.
For example, in Arizona the City of Phoenix will replace buses that have aged beyond their useful lives with diesel-electric hybrid buses that will provide safer, more reliable rides while reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.
And in Colorado, the Regional Transportation District will upgrade and renovate the Boulder Maintenance Facility and the Platte Facility, both built in the 1970s. The two locations are in need of major repair as most of the original equipment is beyond its useful life expectancy and in need of upgrades to meet current code.
Whether it's replacing aging buses with fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles, constructing new bus shelters and maintenance facilities, or installing updated fare boxes and fleet tracking systems, we are helping transit agencies deliver safer and more reliable service, operate more efficiently, and lower fuel costs.
And we're doing it for good reason. Because the FTA estimates that 40% of the nation's buses are in marginal to poor condition. In fact, a report we released in June, The National State of Good Repair Assessment Study, projected that the cost of bringing US rail and bus transit systems into a state of good repair is close to $78 billion.
Yesterday's grants are a welcome start. And from Alaska to Alabama, the rural and urban transit providers whose projects were awarded money are glad to have those funds.
So are the transit-dependent customers they serve.