USDOT to invest approximately $16.2M in transit improvement grants for 40 poverty-stricken areas

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Transit initiatives in 32 states and two territories affected by persistent poverty will soon get a boost from the U.S. Federal Transit Administration (FTA), which announced last week $16.2 million in competitive grants for this purpose.

In all, 40 projects that met the demands of FTA’s Areas of Persistent Poverty (AoPP) program will benefit, including state and local governments, transit agencies and nonprofit organizations. The projects work to create better transit for residents with traditionally little or no transportation options. An extension of the Biden administration’s Justice40 initiative, racial equity and public health efforts, these grants were awarded for planning, engineering, technical studies and financial plans to improve transit in low-income areas, as defined by the recent Census.

“Transit can be the great equalizer, but if you live in a transit desert, where options are few and far away, you don’t have access to that power,” FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez said. “FTA’s Areas of Persistent Poverty Program removes barriers to opportunity by increasing access to jobs, school, and services for some of our residents who need it the most.”

Recipients included such things as $650,000 for the Mississippi DOT to help Claiborne County and its partners to adapt technology to make ride management and access simpler in rural areas, $585,000 for efforts by the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority to partner with local public agencies and nonprofits in addressing barriers to transit access and $112,500 for the White Mountain Apache Tribe of Arizona for a study determining where to locate a new bus transfer station, among others.

Nearly $63 million worth of projects had been submitted by applicants, which the FTA winnowed down based on its specific criteria. An additional round of grants should follow soon, though, thanks to injections of funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.