U.S. Department of Transportation announces over $10 million funding opportunity for transit planningWritten by David C. Lester, Editor-in-Chief
More federal dollars have been made available for transit planning.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today announced the availability of approximately $10 million in competitive grant funds through a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for FTA’s Pilot Program for Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Planning. The funds will support comprehensive planning efforts that help connect communities, improve access to public transportation and affordable housing, and support President Biden’s call to combat climate change, advance environmental justice, and promote equitable delivery of benefits to underserved communities.
“When people can move safely and easily by public transit, foot, bike, wheelchair, or any other means, it can change a community for the better,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “This type of investment can save residents money and time, and reduce pollution impacting our neighborhoods. We are thrilled to help more local governments plan creatively around transit, so their communities can benefit from the good jobs, affordable housing, and economic revitalization that accompany it.”
In support of the President’s January 20, 2021 Executive Orders on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis (EO 13990) and Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government (EO 13985), FTA will prioritize projects that will help improve air quality in non-attainment and maintenance areas for certain criteria pollutants under the National Ambient Air Quality Standards and promote equitable delivery of benefits and services to underserved communities. This consideration will further the goals of the Executive Orders, including the goal to prioritize environmental justice.
“This announcement comes at an especially fitting time, coinciding with the celebration of Earth Day. Equitable transit-oriented development helps those at the local level respond to climate change and affordable housing challenges, particularly in underserved and overburdened communities,” said FTA Deputy Administrator Nuria Fernandez. “The TOD planning program will encourage mixed-use, mixed income development around new transit projects to increase access to opportunities and improve mobility for residents.”
FTA’s Pilot Program for TOD Planning funds comprehensive planning to increase transit access and to encourage ridership with mixed-use and mixed-income development near public transportation projects. Examples of eligible projects include comprehensive planning studies around station areas for new fixed guideway projects, such as light-rail, heavy rail, commuter rail, or bus rapid transit systems that have a designated right-of-way. Information on previously funded projects can be found here.
In order to apply for program funding, an applicant must be an existing FTA recipient – either a project sponsor of an eligible transit project or an entity with land use planning authority in the project corridor. To ensure that work meets the needs of the local community, transit project sponsors and land use planning authorities must partner to conduct the planning work. The application period will close on Monday, June 21, 2021.
FTA’s TOD Pilot Program was established under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) and amended by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. The program is authorized through Fiscal Year 2021.