As readers of this blog know, safety is DOT's number one priority, but we're also working hard to make sure that Americans have access to the transportation options they need to get where they're going. Today, we’re excited to announce a significant round of funding from the Federal Transit Administration that will achieve both of those important goals.
Through the FTA’s State of Good Repair and Bus Livability programs, we’re providing a total of $787 million dollars to support 255 different projects in 48 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. For the third year in a row, FTA is providing funds to help transit agencies around the country build, repair, and modernize their transit systems.
These are projects that will make a real difference in people’s lives. We’re replacing old buses with new technology that will reduce fuel and maintenance costs. And we’re improving access to transportation by renovating outdated facilities.
Each of these grants makes transit a safer, more efficient, and more reliable travel option.
As FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff said, “Since Day One, this Administration has been focused on addressing the maintenance backlog of our nation’s transit systems, and this is another down-payment on that effort."
Since many of these awards will replace aging buses for clean-fuel vehicles, these investments will also improve air quality not just for transit riders, but for everyone in the community.
On top of that, these funds will put people back to work modernizing our nation’s public transit systems.
And most importantly, these grants continue our mission of making transportation in America as safe as it can be. Our goal is to ensure passengers are safe when they board a bus—whether it’s in Portland, Maine or East Lansing, Michigan.
These grants build on the historic transit safety initiative in the transportation bill signed by President Obama a few weeks ago. MAP-21, as it's called, gives FTA oversight over transit safety for the first time. This long overdue new safety mission for FTA will provide Americans with confidence that the subways, streetcars, buses, and light rail systems they ride every day are the safest in the world.
It's also clear, by the overwhelming demand for these grants, that there is more good work to be done. For these 255 awards, FTA received 836 project applications requesting $4 billion. And that's after the two previous years' grants of more than $1.8 billion for hundreds of projects.
President Obama’s support for an America built to last is putting people back to work across the country modernizing our nation’s public transit systems. But we must continue investing in the infrastructure that made this country great.