USDOT readies American Rescue Plan funds for transit agencies

March 30, 2021

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is making the $30.5 billion in funding provided in the American Rescue Plan Act available this week for transit agencies. FTA will send notification through the Transit Award Management System when the funds are available for obligation.

“Transportation workers are serving on the front lines of this pandemic: delivering the vaccine, getting people to essential jobs and providing goods and services to people who need them,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “The critical American Rescue Plan funding we are announcing today will help prevent service cuts, protect employees from layoffs, keep riders and workers safe and strengthen our economy.”

The law includes the following for the transit industry:

  • $26.09 billion for urbanized area formula grants;
  • $317.2 million for rural area formula grants, which includes:
    • $30 million in formula funds for tribal governments; 
    • $5 million in competitive tribal government grants; and 
    • $6.34 million in formula Rural Transit Assistance (RTAP) formula funds.
  • $50 million for mobility for seniors and persons with disabilities grants;
  • $100 million for non-urbanized intercity bus program recipients;
  • $25 million for competitive planning grants; and
  • $2.21 billion in grants for recipients in need of financial assistance to maintain operations over and above the aid that has been provided.

The American Rescue Plan also included $1.68 billion for qualifying projects in the Capital Investment Grants (CIG) Program, which includes $250 million for Small Starts projects and $1.43 billion for New Starts and Core Capacity projects. 

The 23 New Starts and Core Capacity projects in 13 states that will receive funding through the CIG Program allocation include:

  • Phoenix, South Central Light Rail Extension/Downtown Hub
  • Los Angeles, Regional Connector
  • Los Angeles, Westside Subway Section 1
  • Los Angeles, Westside Subway Section 2
  • Los Angeles, Westside Subway Section 3
  • San Carlos, Peninsula Corridor Electrification Project
  • San Diego, Mid-Coast Corridor Transit Project
  • San Francisco - Third Street Light Rail-Central Subway Project 
  • San Francisco, Transbay Corridor
  • Santa Ana and Garden Grove Streetcar
  • Honolulu - High Capacity Transit Corridor
  • Chicago, Red and Purple Modernization Phase 1
  • Gary, Double Track Northwest Indiana
  • Lake County, West Lake Corridor
  • Boston, Green Line Extension
  • Maryland National Capital Purple Line
  • Minneapolis, Southwest Light Rail Transit
  • Kansas City, Streetcar Main Street Extension
  • Hudson County, Portal North Bridge Project
  • New York - East Side Access
  • Dallas, DART Red and Blue Line Platform Extensions
  • Seattle, Lynnwood Link Extension
  • Seattle, WA Federal Way Light Rail Project

FTA noted funds will be made available at 100-percent federal share and primarily directed to operations and payroll. While the formula funds will be made available this week, FTA says eligible funding recipients can begin developing and submitting grant applications immediately. 

Competitive funds will be made available through Notices of Funding Opportunity (NOFOs) published in the Federal Register and grants will be awarded following a competitive review and project selection process based on criteria outlined in the NOFOs. FTA has until 180 days from when the law was enacted to issue a NOFO for the $2.2 billion in available grants. 

“This is an important moment in our nation’s pandemic response,” said FTA Acting Administrator Nuria Fernandez. “The American Rescue Plan Act contains funding to help speed up vaccine distribution and provide relief to transit agencies so they can continue to provide service to the many Americans who depend on transit to get to essential jobs, healthcare and vaccine appointments.” 

FTA will host a webinar about the American Rescue Plan Act funding on Friday, April 2, at 2:00 p.m. to provide additional guidance to transit stakeholders. More information about the webinar is available on FTA’s website.