Texas Transportation Commission approves $89 million for transit agencies across state

July 6, 2021
The amount is a combination of state and federal funds, which will benefit public transportation providers in rural, small urban and large urban areas.

The Texas Transportation Commission approved its largest one-time amount for transit agencies across the state.

The $89 million the commission authorized at its June meeting includes $35 million in state funding and $54 million in federal funding. The commission says the allocation will support equitable, reliable transit services.

“When most services shut down during the pandemic, these transit agencies continued serving thousands of Texans across the state,” said Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Executive Director Marc Williams. “In a time when they were needed most, these agencies helped people get to jobs, groceries or the medical care they needed. This additional funding will continue to improve access for Texans, enabling TxDOT to fulfill our mission of ‘Connecting You with Texas.’”

These funds support rural and urban transit services in more than 96 percent of the state’s land area, serving 41 percent of the state’s population. TxDOT notes Texas transit agencies have worked diligently since the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic to maintain safe and reliable transit services throughout the state. TxDOT funding contributed to the nearly 20 million transit rides provided in Fiscal Year 2020, even during the pandemic.

“During the pandemic we saw how important these transit agencies are for many Texans, especially in the more rural regions of the state,” said Texas Transportation Commissioner Alvin New. “Transit can be a lifeline for many people, and I’m happy to see this amount of funding go to these communities.”

Out of the $54 million in federal funding to be approved, more than $10 million comes from the American Rescue Plan Act that was signed into law in early March 2021. The federal portion of the funding also includes more than $580,000 in residual Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funding, which was passed at the end of March 2020.

These funds also include more than $7 million for selected public transportation projects that address the needs of seniors and individuals with disabilities. There were 39 projects across the state selected in a competitive process to receive funding, including:

Valley Metro in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, which will be able to expand its transit service offerings with on-demand microtransit, increasing its flexibility in scheduling and routes and offering advance reservations to seniors and individuals with disabilities.

Spartan Public Transportation in the Levelland area, which will be able to fill existing service gaps, maintain vehicles, pay mobility managers who help plan and manage trips and purchase four accessible replacement vehicles.

South East Texas Regional Planning Commission in the Beaumont area, which will use these funds to continue and expand its collaborative work with local transit agencies that provide seniors with curb-to-curb paratransit service to nutrition centers, Area Agency on Aging programs and foster grandparent programs.

The approved awards fund public transportation providers in rural, small urban and large urban areas. Funds can be used to support a combination of service and capital program expenses. Each transit agency determines specifically what they pay for with the funds they receive. A full list of agencies and communities that received funds is available through the TxDOT website.

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.