WASHINGTON — The Federal Transit Administration and U.S. Department of Transportation Thursday announced $300 million in competitive grants for cities and local agencies to pay for 53 transit proposals including bus, streetcar and trolley projects.
The grants will support so-called urban circulator and bus transit-related projects. They were cobbled together from leftover annual appropriations and funds for transit projects that never reached the finish line, transportation officials said during a teleconference with reporters.
A number of municipal bond issuers are among the recipients, including transportation entities in Chicago, St. Louis, and San Francisco.
The largest grants are worth about $25 million each and were awarded to urban circulator proposals in Chicago, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Charlotte, N.C., and Fort Worth. Those projects rose to the top of a pool of 65 applications, which requested a total of more than $1 billion for urban circulator grants.
The Chicago Department of Transportation will use its funding to build bus priority lanes through two miles of the city’s downtown and to provide additional bicycle lanes, bus lanes and streetscape enhancements.
St. Louis will build a two-mile streetcar project that may include private investment, Charlotte will build a 1.5-mile streetcar route, Cincinnati will build a six-mile streetcar line connecting two neighborhoods with the central business district, and the Fort Worth Transportation Authority will build a 2.5-mile streetcar loop connecting six “urban villages.”
Streetcars are making a comeback, according to FTA head Peter Rogoff.
“Cities across America are recognizing that they can restore economic development downtown, giving citizens the choice to move between home, shopping and entertainment without ever looking for a parking space,” Rogoff said.
In addition to the urban circulators, the FTA selected 47 bus-related projects in 31 states to receive bus and bus livability grants. The administration received 281 applications requesting more than $2 billion for such projects.
The Chicago Transit Authority was awarded $11 million for a bus transit project; New York City DOT received $18.4 million for its 34th Street Transitway bus and pedestrian project; and Stamford, Conn., received $16 million for a 2.25-mile multimodal transitway connecting downtown and Interstate 95 with the city’s intermodal transportation center and Boston Post Road.
Additional awards of more than $5 million went to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, the San Joaquin Regional Transit District, the Central New York Regional Transportation Authority, the Denver Regional Transportation District, the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority, the
Albuquerque Transit Department and the Broward County, Fla., DOT, which serves the Fort Lauderdale metropolitan area.