Transit and mobility projects to benefit from BUILD grants

Dec. 7, 2018
Bus, rail and mobility-focused projects will receive funding in the tenth round of the popular grant program.

Several transit and mobility projects across the U.S. will advance efforts to "build" their systems after the the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) notified recipients of the department's popular, but competitive, Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant program.

Projects in Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Oklahoma and New Mexico all received funding in this round of BUILD grants, formally known as TIGER grants.  

The city of Springfield, Ill., was awarded $22 million for the Springfield Rail Improvement Project. The city will use the finance the replacement of the existing single track bridge with two new double track bridges over both 5th and 6th Streets to accommodate the expanded rail corridor, which is part of the Chicago to St. Louis High Speed Rail (HSR) Program. Stakeholders said making improvements to the heavily-traveled corridor will increase track capacity, improve grade-crossing safety, alleviate east-west congestion in Springfield, improve community livability by eliminating train horn noise, support increased commercial activity and create meaningful jobs.

GoTriangle will receive $20 million to help construct a bus transfer facility that will connect to the new downtown Raleigh Union Station. The Raleigh Union Station bus project, better known as RUS Bus, also incorporates a mixed-use, high-rise building above the terminal that could include office and retail space, a hotel and residential units with an affordable housing component.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) will use its $15 million grant to advance the 30th / 31st Street Subway / Trolley Improvements project, which includes include new elevators at the 31st Street entrance and a new head house at 30th Street. The project is part of a larger expansion of Philadelphia's 30th Street Station being coordinated with Amtrak.

The city of Oklahoma City is the recipient of a $14.3 million grant that will go toward the development of bus rapid transit along the city's northwest corridor. The corridor is the longest and most intensely developed urban corridor in the city, containing about 120,000 jobs, 75,000 residents and three hospitals. BRT is being developed along an eight-mile segment and stakeholders say the project will strengthen the corridor's economic vitality and workplace accessibility. 

Eastgate Regional Council of Government for Youngstown has been awarded a $10.8-million grant for the SMART2 Corridor project to redevelop critical transportation infrastructure with a new multimodal network in Youngstown’s downtown and central business district. The investment will go toward the purchase of transit shuttles and systems, pedestrian and bicycle facilities and energy efficient technology upgrades that will help provide reliable transportation between Youngstown State University, Mercy Health Hospital, the Youngstown Business Incubator and Eastern Gateway Community College.

Two transit projects in Florida were recipients of grants including $9.5 million to Miami-Dade County's Strategic Miami Area Rapid Transit (SMART) Plan. According to the county, the SMART Plan will advance six rapid transit corridors with the grant supporting work to expand two park-and-ride facilities. Another $12.5 million was awarded to Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) to be applied toward the Bay Street Innovation Corridor project.

The joint project between JTA and its community partners including the city of Jacksonville, North Florida Transportation Planning Organization and the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce, will implement the first phase of the Ultimate Urban Circulator (U²C) Program, down Bay Street. The U²C expands the existing automated people mover system, elevated above the downtown street network, into an urban circulator system, with transitions to the street level, reaching more destinations than it does today. The corridor will incorporate technology and Smart City innovations to support economic development and enhance mobility.

A $1.29 million grant to New Mexico will fund improvements to the North Central Regional Transit District (RTD) in Española. The award will enable North Central RTD to build a maintenance facility, standalone vehicle wash bay and fueling station.  

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 made available $1.5 billion for BUILD grants through September 30, 2020. For this round of BUILD Transportation grants, the maximum grant award was$25 million with no more than $150 million awarded to a single state, as specified in the FY 2018 Appropriations Act. At least 30 percent of funds must be awarded to projects located in rural areas. 

This is a developing story, which will be updated as more information on the grant awards is released. 

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.