FTA: $4.45B for Major Transit ProjectsWritten by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) on March 9 announced that 18 large transit projects in 11 states across the U.S. were recommended to receive $4.45 billion for construction by U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
According to the FTA, these large rail and bus rapid transit (BRT) projects were recommended to receive federal support in President Biden’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 Budget Request to Congress. Nine of those projects would receive funding recommendations for the first time while others on the list are already under construction or far along in the planning process.
In addition to recommendations for FY 2024 funding, FTA has allocated $1.1 billion in FY 2022 and 2023 funding to 31 transit projects nationwide. This funding, the agency says, will “help improve transit access to the millions of Americans who depend on it every day, help reduce emissions, and create good-paying construction jobs across the country.”
Two of the nine projects recommended to receive funding for the first time include the following rail projects:
- In Illinois, the Chicago Transit Authority Red Line Extension project will add 5.6 miles of heavy rail to Chicago’s Far South Side, reducing commute times, improving mobility and accessibility for transit-dependent residents, and promoting economic development. ($350 million)
- In Utah, the Utah Department of Transportation FrontRunner Strategic Double Track project will include double-tracking sections of the current FrontRunner system, and purchasing 10 new train sets, increasing capacity. ($316.8 million)
The President’s FY 2024 Budget also includes proposed funding for the following four rail projects with existing construction grant agreements:
- In California, $643 million is recommended for two projects: the Los Angeles Westside Subway Section 2 and Section 3 rail projects. The Westside Subway provides a critical connection for the region’s second-largest job center and connects downtown Los Angeles with the Westside.
- In Minnesota, $291.9 million is recommended for the Minneapolis Southwest Light Rail Transit project. The Southwest Light Rail adds 14.5 miles to the existing METRO Green Line and connects downtown Minneapolis, downtown Saint Paul, St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka, and Eden Prairie.
- In Washington, $250.7 million is recommended for the Seattle Lynwood Link Light Rail extension project. This project will extend the light rail system from Northgate station in King County to the Lynnwood City Center Station in Snohomish County and is intended to relieve congestion, improve transit performance, and enhance mobility choices.
The FY 2024 budget request also includes proposed funding for five projects in the Capital Investment Grants(CIG)/Expedited Project Delivery (EPD) pipeline, which continues funding recommendations for projects that received partial funding in prior budgets:
- In California, $500 million recommended for the BART Silicon Valley Phase II Project will extend BART service six miles through downtown San Jose to Santa Clara and will enhance connectivity of regional transit services, promote economic development, and improve mobility.
- In California, $167 million recommended for the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor Phase I Project through FTA’s Expedited Project Delivery Program. This light rail transit system would improve mobility in eastern San Fernando Valley by providing an improved north-south transit connection.
- In New York/New Jersey, $700 million recommended for the proposed Hudson Tunnel Project to improve reliability for NJ Transit and Amtrak trains to support construction of a new two-track heavy rail tunnel along the Northeast Corridor from the Bergen Palisades in New Jersey to Manhattan.
- In New York/New Jersey, $496.8 million recommended for the proposed Second Avenue Subway Phase II Project. The Second Avenue Subway project will provide transit access in Manhattan to East Side residents, workers, and visitors, and improve mobility for all New Yorkers.
According to FTA, the projects will “improve how people travel in their communities, create and sustain jobs in construction and operations, and help communities provide better, more frequent transit service.” More transit, the agency adds, means “more access for everyone–to economic opportunities and services essential for daily life–as well as reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.”
“Transit connects people to jobs, schools, loved ones and more,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “We’re proud to deliver this funding to expand transit across the country, which will create good-paying construction jobs and provide better options for people to get where they need to go.”
The Fiscal Year 2024 Annual Report on Funding Recommendations accompanies President Biden’s FY 2024 Budget Request. “Building on the President’s strong record of fiscal responsibility, the Budget more than fully pays for its investments—reducing deficits by nearly $3 trillion over the next decade by asking the wealthy and big corporations to pay their fair share,” FTA said in a release.
The listed projects, which require a local funding match, seek funding through the FTA CIG and EPD Pilot programs. The report allocates $2.85 billion in annual appropriations requested from Congress and $1.6 billion in FY 2024 funding provided through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
Federal support will begin to flow to project sponsors only after FTA signs a grant agreement. Today’s report, FTA says, details the FY 2024 funding recommended for each project once project sponsors meet the requirements in law.
“Transit is a great equalizer for our nation,” said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez. “For the men and women who will use these systems, this investment will open doors to opportunities they may otherwise never have had. For the communities where they’ll be built, every dollar we provide will result in five dollars, or even more, of economic growth.”
The CIG Program and EPD Pilot Program are the Federal government’s primary grant programs supporting large new transit capital projects that are locally planned, implemented and operated. This includes investments such as new and expanded subway systems, commuter rail, light rail, streetcars, and BRT.
FTA’s Annual Report on Funding Recommendations for the Fiscal Year 2024 CIG and EPD Pilot Programs, including links to individual project profiles, is available on FTA’s website.