Phoenix Receives Millions in Federal Funding for Public Transit

August 12, 2020

PHOENIX — The Federal Transit Administration is awarding the Phoenix Public Transit Department over $6.9 million in funding for new buses, U. S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao announced Tuesday. The grant will go towards boosting the existing bus system in the city of Phoenix. 

"Even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we have continued to provide essential public transit services to the community," said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego in a statement. "This grant will help enhance the efficiency and reliability of our bus fleet while providing access to jobs, schools and important health services our residents need."

Brenda Yanez, spokesperson for the Phoenix Public Transit Department, told Patch that the money will provide funding for buses that have met or exceeded their lives. "We're estimating about 15 new buses for local routes," she said.

The transit administration said in a statement that it had received approximately 282 applications from cities across the country, all of which exceeded available funds for buses and bus facilities. In order to be eligible for the program, recipients had to demonstrate that funds would be allocated "to fixed route bus operators, states or local governmental entities that operate fixed route bus service, and Indian tribes," according to the grant description.

The transit administration awarded over $464 million in infrastructure grants to 96 projects in 49 states and territories. Phoenix was the only city in Arizona to win funding for its bus system. 

"Improving transportation infrastructure is vital to our residents who rely on our transit system, and it is key to building and strengthening an economy," said Councilwoman Thelda Williams, chair of the Phoenix City Council's Transportation, Infrastructure and Innovation Subcommittee. "I appreciate U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao's commitment to provide grants that will improve the safety and reliability of bus service at this critical time."

Phoenix has been actively purchasing new buses since 2014, replacing an average of 40 a year, the statement said.