The Federal Transit Administration plans to award $20 million to 47 communities to help improve public transportation options in areas that are experiencing, in the agency’s words, “long-term economic distress.”
[Above image by the FTA]
The FTA said its Areas of Persistent Poverty or AoPP program provides support to state and local governments, transit agencies, and nonprofit organizations to create better transit for residents with limited or no transportation options.
The agency said AoPP-funded investments can be used to support efforts to initiate transit service as well as improve service and modernize transit vehicle fleets, from procuring low- and no-emission buses to launching scheduling applications for smart devices and improving bus stops.
“Transit is the great equalizer, providing rides for those who do not have a car or cannot drive, and particularly in rural and Tribal areas, having access to an affordable, reliable bus ride can mean the difference between isolation and opportunity,” said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez in a statement. “[Our] AoPP program is about forging connections for people who need accessible transit the most.”
The grants are specifically awarded for studies to improve transit in Census-defined low-income areas, the agency added, while also supporting coordinated human service transportation planning to improve mobility and access or provide new services – including paratransit services.
Three state departments of transportation and one state DOT transit division received funds from this round of AoPP disbursements:
- The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities received $785,400 to conduct a statewide transit study that assesses transportation needs statewide, with a focus on small, tribal and disadvantaged communities. The assessment will list barriers to access and recommend solutions to reconnect communities and will identify capital projects alongside equity considerations.
- The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority – a division of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation – received $127,367 to complete the design of on-route battery-electric bus chargers at the Ashmont bus station. This station serves as a major transportation hub, facilitating connections between the subway, trolley, and 11 bus routes. The project will support transit reliability for the neighboring disadvantaged communities these stations serve and contribute toward the MBTA’s ambitious target of electrifying the entire bus fleet by 2040.
- The Maine Department of Transportation received $650,462 to help two rural public transit agencies create a community-based transportation model that will aggregate transportation services, including non-emergency medical transportation and taxi companies. It will also automate its dispatch operations and fare card system with real-time data, which will allow the systems to expand and provide more service.
- The Montana Department of Transportation received $451,500 to plan for new transit services in the city of Bozeman. The project will incorporate climate change, racial equity, and environmental justice into the transit development plan, as well as generate a financing plan that will provide a long-term sustainable funding source for these new services.