San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) will receive $270 million and $120 million, respectively, from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) under the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Additional Assistance Grant Program; the funding is awarded to transit systems demonstrating additional pandemic-associated needs.
The ARP Additional Assistance Grant Program funding covers operating expenses related to maintaining day-to-day operations, cleaning and sanitization, combating the spread of pathogens on transit systems, and maintaining critical staffing levels. It is supplemental to funds distributed as part of the ARP Act of 2021.
On Sept. 7, 2021, FTA announced that $2.2 billion in FY 2021 Additional Assistance Grant Program funding was available through a discretionary process to eligible recipients or sub-recipients of Urbanized Area Formula funds (49 U.S.C. 5307) or Rural Area Formula funds (49 U.S.C. 5311) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
BART reported on March 3 that it received notification of the $270 million award.
“We want to thank our Congressional delegation for their support and advocacy for transit,” BART General Manager Bob Powers said. “The pandemic has made clear our operating funding model of relying so heavily on riders is outdated and hampers our efforts to provide equitable service, especially for low-income riders and marginalized communities. Increased federal funding allows BART to continue to invest in service improvements and safety enhancement as we welcome riders back to transit.”
BART said it was previously allocated $1.3 billion from the CARES Act, Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021, and American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The federal funding has been used “to fully restore service hours, improve safety, enhance cleaning, and modernize equipment to make riding BART easier,” according to the transit agency.
U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin (both D-Md.) and Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-Va.) on March 3 announced WMATA’s award of $120 million from the ARP Additional Assistance Grant Program.
“As we work to overcome the most recent challenges presented by the Omicron spike, we’re proud to see the American Rescue Plan continue to deliver needed support to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority,” the Senators said. The new funding “will help ensure that WMATA is able to meet the needs of its riders, including public servants, residents, and commuters in the DMV [District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia] region.”
“We are thankful to our Congressional delegation as well as the Biden Administration for their support of WMATA’s grant application under the American Rescue Plan which provides Metro [WMATA] $120 million in operating funding and will support continued operations,” WMATA General Manager/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld said. “These funds will be helpful in our continued preparation to keep the region moving as many reenter the workplace and resume leisure activities.”
In related developments, FTA has awarded ARP Act of 2021 grants to Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), $912.1 million; Metra (Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corporation), $513.6 million; Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT, $332.5 million); Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA, $1.24 billion); New Jersey Transit (NJT, $1.6 billion); New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority; Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon ($289.1 million); Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority ($285.7 million); Washington state’s Sound Transit ($275.3 million); Miami-Dade (Fla.) Department of Transportation and Public Works ($249.4 million); Pittsburgh, Pa.-based Port Authority of Allegheny County ($216.9 million); San Diego (Calif.) Metropolitan Transit System ($140.4 million); Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority ($859.6 million); Orange County (Calif.) Transportation Authority ($163.9 million); San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District ($330.8 million); Denver (Colo.) Regional Transportation District ($304.2 million); Houston Metro ($298.6 million); and San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency ($288.2 million).