The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) on Jan. 9 reported that $20 million in competitive grant funding is now available for FY 2023 through its Areas of Persistent Poverty (AoPP) Program, which “provides more resources to underserved and disadvantaged communities seeking to expand or improve transit systems.” Applications are due March 10, 2023.
The AoPP program supports planning and technical studies to improve public transportation in areas experiencing long-term economic hardship, including both rural and urban communities, according to FTA.
Eligible activities may include planning, engineering, or development of technical or financing plans for improved transit services; new transit routes; engineering for transit facilities and improvements to existing facilities; innovative technologies; planning for low- or no-emission buses; planning for a new bus facility or intermodal center that supports transit services; integrated fare collections systems; or coordinated public transit human service transportation plans to improve transit service in an Area of Persistent Poverty or Historically Disadvantaged Community, or to provide new service such as transportation for services to address the opioid epidemic, as well as increase access to environmental justice populations, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the effects of climate change.
Projects will be selected based on the evaluation criteria in the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO; scroll down to download), including President Joe Biden’s Executive Order on Advancing Equity Through the Federal Government, reported FTA, which noted that since “many economically distressed communities also face environmental challenges, special consideration will be given to projects that mitigate air, water and ground pollution.”
Eligible projects must be located in an Area of Persistent Poverty or Historically Disadvantaged Community; applicants may use FTA’s mapping tool to determine if proposed projects meet that requirement.
According to FTA, this NOFO will utilize FY 2021 and 2022 funding.
Since 2020, FTA has awarded 70 projects through the program, totaling more than $24.6 million. Among them:
- Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) received $450,000 through the FY 2021 program “to develop an engagement plan for communities that will be served by the planned 5.6-mile Red Line rail extension,” according to FTA. “The Red Line extension will reach some of Chicago’s most underserved communities, including Roseland, Washington Heights, West Pullman, and Riverdale, all of which have experienced decades of neglect and remain disconnected from opportunities in other parts of the city. The project will allow CTA to focus engagement efforts on the Far South Side by engaging with residents and other advocates to maximize the impact of increased transit access and the positive effect it can have on community revitalization efforts.”
- New Jersey Transit received $519,750 through the FY 2021 program “to conduct a modernization study for Newark Light Rail, which operates in the state’s largest city,” FTA reported. “The study will investigate options for improving station design, making four stations ADA-compliant and improving the customer experience. Each station is located in an area of persistent poverty.”
“FTA’s Areas of Persistent Poverty Program ends isolation and opens doors to opportunity for those who do not have a car or cannot drive,” FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez said.