Sep 25th 2014 | Posted in State, Transportation by Mary Scott Nabers

U.S. Federal Highway Administration logo

U.S. Federal Highway Administration logo

Transportation needs nationwide are growing exponentially with the rapid increase in this country’s population. That, combined with declining revenues at the federal, state and local levels, has government officials seeking financial assistance to make necessary infrastructure improvements.

Some of those communities recently received federal grant assistance that will help modernize bus service, replace aging buses with new ones and provide reliable transportation for those who depend on public transit. The grants are part of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Ladders of Opportunity Initiative. The shortage of funding that communities are experiencing for transit improvements is indicated by the fact that the FTA received 446 proposals from 282 applicants, representing total project costs of $1.4 billion, or 14 times more than the funding available.

FTA officials note that bus travel is the number one form of transit for Americans. Unfortunately, nearly half of the buses people depend on every day are in marginal or poor condition.

Twenty-four recipients in 19 states will share the $100 million in competitive grant funds as part of the FTA initiative. The money is intended to help communities improve, modernize and expand transit bus service to facilitate easier access for disadvantaged and low-income populations to the services that can help improve their quality of life.

The program is aimed at populations such as veterans, seniors and youths who depend on public transit to connect with schools, jobs, health care, job training and other vital services.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, in announcing the awards, said transportation is more than getting from on point to another. “It’s about getting from where you are to a better life.”

One example of how the funds will be used is in Detroit, where more than $25.9 million was allocated to the city’s Department of Transportation. Up to 50 new hybrid and clean diesel buses will be purchased with the funds. The addition of the new buses is expected to ease overcrowding, reduce wait times and provide more reliable and accessible service to the Central Business District and throughout other parts of the city. Workers will be able to connect with jobs, education and other opportunities.

In Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority received more than $1.66 million in grant funds. The Authority will use the money for capital improvements at four bus stops along Cesar Chavez Avenue in the perimeter of the Los Angeles Union Station. That will include purchase of land for a bus pavilion, new bike facilities and emergency safety call boxes, enhanced landscaping and paving and four new bus shelters equipped with solar-powered lighting and real-time bus data.

Not only will the grant funds provide for long overdue transit improvements, but they will also create contracting opportunities for vendors, many of which will result in the creation of jobs within the communities.

View the complete list of recipients and how their grant funds will be used at http://www.fta.dot.gov/grants/15926_16153.html.

Mary Scott Nabers

As President and CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc., Mary Scott Nabers has decades of experience working in the public-private sector. A well-recognized expert in the P3 and government contracting fields, she is often asked to share her industry insights with top publications and through professional speaking engagements.