It’s official: Transit projects awarded $195 million in BUILD grants

Dec. 12, 2018
This round of grants will advance more than $630 million in transit-related projects.

Public transportation projects in 12 states and the District of Columbia accounted for 13 percent of the $1.5 billion in Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grants awarded in Fiscal Year 2018.

The funding for the grant program, previously known as Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER), was made available through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018. 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. 

"We are pleased that the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has awarded BUILD grants to critical and noteworthy public transit projects," said American Public Transportation Association (APTA) President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas.

According to APTA, public transportation projects have received an average of 29 percent of the annual grant funds since inception of the TIGER program in 2009. In grants announced earlier this year, public transportation programs received 3.6 percent of FY 2017 funds. 

"We are encouraged that the percent of public transit grants has increased from the last fiscal year," said Skoutelas. "These BUILD grants are critically important for communities and their economic vitality, and we urge DOT to continue to increase funding for public transportation projects." 

Mass Transit previously reported grants awarded to eight projects and is providing a new list following the full grant recipient list from USDOT. In total, 15 projects in the District of Columbia, California, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Texas received $195 million in grants.

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority; $20 million for the Metrorail Station Platform Reconstruction Project, which will reconstruct platforms and other station elements at seven outdoor Metrorail stations. The scope of the project includes demolishing and rebuilding passenger platforms, correcting height variances to align with railcar floors, and improving and enhancing transit facilities. The project is the first phase of a larger effort to make similar improvements at twenty outdoor Metrorail stations.

City and county of San Francisco; $15 million for the Better Market Street Phase I project, which will construct roadway improvements on Market Street between 6th and 8th Streets in downtown San Francisco, Calif., Improvements include roadway resurfacing, streetcar track replacement, replacement and upgrade of traffic signals and a new F-line streetcar turnaround loop at McAllister and Charles J Brenham Streets.

Connecticut Department of Transportation; $9.16 million for the Stamford Transportation Center Escalator and Elevator Improvement, will upgrade approximately five elevators and 17 escalators to enhance the Stamford Transportation Center’s internal circulation system.

City of Jacksonville & Jacksonville Transportation Authority; $25 million for the Urban Core Riverfront Revitalization and Bay Street Innovation Corridor, which will among other things, allow the Jacksonville Transportation Authority to deploy approximately 15 autonomous vehicles, dynamic connected traffic signals, smart lighting, pedestrian sensors, smart parking, and flood warning sensors.

Miami-Dade County; $9.5 million for the South Dade Transitway Park-and-Ride Improvements, which will expand and improve two existing park-and-ride facilities along the South Dade Transitway Corridor – a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line – at SW 152nd Street and SW 168th Street.

City of Springfield, Ill.; $22 million for the Springfield Rail Improvements – Usable Segment IV, which is part of a larger effort to relocate the existing Amtrak/Union Pacific railroad corridor to a new expanded corridor adjacent to the existing Norfolk Southern tracks. Usable Segment IV replaces the existing single track bridge with two new double track bridges over both 5th and 6th Streets to accommodate the expanded corridor. It also includes grading and track work from north of 6th Street to Stanford Avenue.

Siouxland Regional Transit System in Iowa; $7 million for the Siouxland Regional Transit Operations and Bus Storage Facility, which will see the design and construction of a new joint use facility to house the Siouxland Regional Transit System and the Siouxland Interstate Metropolitan Planning Council. The facility will include bus maintenance areas, indoor bus storage, a bus wash and driver training areas.

North Central Regional Transit District; $1.29 million for the North Central Regional Transit District Maintenance Facility, Vehicle Wash Bay, and Fueling Station, which will construct a maintenance facility, standalone vehicle wash bay and fueling station for the North Central Regional Transit in Española, N.M.

Research Triangle Regional Public Transportation Authority (Go Triangle); $20 million for the Raleigh Union Station Phase II: RUS Bus, which will construct a new bus facility and structured parking to create a multimodal transit center in downtown Raleigh, N.C. The project includes an off-street bus transfer facility, pedestrian bridge, BRT platform and other BRT infrastructure, on-street pedestrian improvements and wayfinding, traffic signal prioritization, and new rolling stock.

Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada; $5.32 million for the Las Vegas Medical District Automated Circular and Connected Pedestrian Safety Project, which will provide autonomous and connected vehicle service, pedestrian safety devices and smart transit shelters to the Las Vegas Medical District.  Additional ITS improvements include pedestrian detection software at intersections, GOVegas app improvements which will extend green light time for pedestrians and Wi-Fi improvements throughout the project area.

Eastgate Regional Council of Governments; $10.85 million for the Youngstown SMART2 Network, which will provide autonomous transit shuttles, transit waiting environments, pedestrian and bicycle facilities, green infrastructure such as permeable surfaces and LED lighting, streetscaping and wayfinding to connect anchor institutions such as Youngstown State University, Mercy Health, Youngstown Business Incubator, and Eastern Gateway Community College.

City of Tulsa, Okla.; $6.5 million for the LINK Tulsa (Leveraging Intelligent Networks & Key-Corridors) Project, which will install fiber optic/broadband cables connecting approximately 42 traffic signals and 60 BRT stations to the Tulsa Traffic Management Center (TMC) as well as outfit approximately 42 intersections with transit signal priority (TSP). The project includes the installation of approximately 15 CCTV cameras at critical intersections for use by the TMC and transit dynamic messaging signs at approximately 36 BRT stops. The project will also make ADA-compliant improvements to area crosswalks.

City of Oklahoma City, Okla.; $14.38 million for the Oklahoma City Northwest Expressway Multimodal BRT, which will construct an approximately 8-mile BRT line connecting northwest Oklahoma City, regional medical and commercial centers, and downtown via the Northwest Expressway and Classen Boulevard.

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA); $15 million for the 30th Street Station Transformation, which will expand the capacity of the 30th Street Station and improve connections between the SEPTA and Amtrak stations at 30th Street. The project will provide new and expanded stairs, escalators, elevators, and fare payment configuration. It will re-design the entrance and will transform station aesthetics to modernize the station and improve circulation between transit modes.

Brazos Transit District; $14.05 million for the Building Brazos Transit District: Bus Replacement Project, which will replace more than 30 buses including approximately 12 Brazos Transit District diesel buses, approximately 3 Texas A&M University diesel buses with battery-electric buses, and approximately 17 Texas A&M University diesel buses.

USDOT reports that demand for BUILD grants far exceeded available funds with 851 eligible applications from all 50 states, as well as U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia, which is nearly double the applications received in 2017. Overall, applicants in 2018 requested more than $10.9 billion in funding.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Editor in Chief

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the magazine’s editorial direction 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.