Transit project FY20 BUILD grant tally stands at $67.16 million

Sept. 11, 2020
Four transit projects have been awarded more than $67 million in FY20 BUILD grants by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Congressional offices have been notified of grants awarded through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) program.  

Thus far, transit projects have secured more than $67 million in grants for four projects in North Carolina, Ohio, Colorado and Missouri.

The city of Lexington, N.C., has been awarded $24.96 million to build a multimodal passenger rail and bus station in Lexington’s Depot District, replace the 7th Avenue grade crossing with a grade-separated rail crossing at 5th Avenue and make track improvements between the two components.

“There are very few times as an elected official you can point to the day and time of a game changing moment in your community’s history,” Lexington Mayor Newell Clark said. “Well, that day is today. I am so proud of the collaborative and diligent efforts of our city, county, state and federal officials to make this possible for the future of Lexington and the southern part of the Triad.”

In Ohio, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) has been awarded $15 million for the first phase of its Rail Car Replacement Program. The program will replace heavy-rail vehicles and make infrastructure upgrades to the rail maintenance facility, equipment and stations to accommodate the new vehicles.

In a letter of support for GCRTA’s BUILD grant application, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) wrote, “This project would replace existing heavy-rail vehicles to improve safety of the entire system and reduce the maintenance cost of the fleet. GCRTA estimates that while their existing cars have around four years of life remaining, they are unreliable, often corroding and needing obsolete parts for repair.”

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, with co-applicants Port KC and Kansas City Streetcar Authority, was awarded $14.2 million for the KC Streetcar Riverfront Extension. The project will extend the KC Streetcar system from its current terminus near 3rd Street and Grand Boulevard a bit more than half a mile to reconnect the Berkley Riverfront.

“This is another amazing moment for Kansas City public transit,” said Tom Gerend, executive director of the KC Streetcar Authority. “When added to the recently announced KC Streetcar Main Street extension federal funding, this project will complete the full River/Crown/Plaza transit spine as envisioned by our elected leadership many years ago.”

In Aspen, Colo., the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) was awarded $13 million to renovate and expand RFTA’s satellite maintenance facility into a regional transit hub. U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) says the news of the grant is welcome as it comes while the region continues to respond to the Grizzly Creek Fire, which has burned nearly 32,500 acres in the state.

USDOT opened the application process for $1 billion in FY20 BUILD grants in February when it issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). At that time, USDOT explained individual BUILD awards for this round of funding will not exceed $25 million; no more than $100 million would be awarded to a single state; and the department intended to award half of the available funds to projects that address the infrastructure needs of rural areas. While the funding caps at the project and state levels are stipulated by appropriations legislation, the commitment to fund rural projects is in support of the USDOT’s ROUTES initiative that was launched in October 2019.

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.