- The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) will allocate $281 million in additional FY 2018 funding to five transit projects in Arizona, California, Minnesota and Texas.
- The projects chosen are the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) Red and Blue Line Platform Extensions; Los Angeles Westside Purple Line Section 3; Minneapolis Orange Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT); San Diego Mid-Coast Light Rail; and the Tempe, AZ Streetcar.
- The funding comes from FTA's Capital Investment Grants (CIG) program, which supports major transit infrastructure investments across the country.
All of these projects are long anticipated and this funding injection will help push them into subsequent phases. It comes months after the FTA was accused of slow-walking the release of funds, which advocates said jeopardized the future of some projects.
The FTA offers municipalities and transit agencies a variety of grants and one that receives a lot of recognition as of late is the No- or Low-Emission Grant program. This summer that program allocated $84.5 million to 52 projects in 41 states. The grant program has become more prominent as cities increasingly are trying to green their municipal and transit fleets with alternative fuel vehicles.
The new round of FY 2018 funding comes from the CIG program, which helps with large-scale, capital-intensive transit projects. The hefty price tags for such projects make it difficult for cities to foot the bill alone and they typically secure multiple forms of funding including the CIG grants. For example, Los Angeles' Purple Line extension is part of a giant transit system overhaul intended to innovate and ease congestion. The city is pushing for its rail expansion and improvements to be finished — or at least nearly finished — in time to ease congestion when it hosts the 2028 Olympics.