USDOT awards more than $175 million in RAISE grants to transit and passenger rail projects

Nov. 22, 2021
The grant program will also see an additional $218 million awarded to projects with passenger rail and transit-related benefits.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) released a full list of awarded grants through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) discretionary grants program. Transit and passenger rail projects were awarded more than $175 million of the nearly $1 billion made available in this round of grants.

Transit projects will benefit from nearly $169 million in capital RAISE grants and $6.83 million in planning RAISE grants. Additionally, capital and planning projects with transit-related elements have been awarded an additional $218 million in grants. These projects have been awarded under non-transit modes but include transit elements such as stop improvements and access enhancements or improvements.

“We’re proud to support these great projects that will improve infrastructure, strengthen supply chains, make us safer, advance equity and combat climate change,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “As in past years, we received far more applications than we could fund: this cycle saw about a ten-to-one ratio of requests to available dollars. But going forward, with the passage of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we will be able to support far more infrastructure projects to support jobs and everyday life in communities across the country."

The program selection criteria encompassed safety, environmental sustainability, quality of life, economic competitiveness, state of good repair, innovation and partnerships with a broad range of stakeholders. USDOT explains the grants also reflect its priorities “for creating good-paying jobs, improving safety, applying transformative technology and explicitly addressing climate change and advancing racial equity.”

The RAISE grants were to be equally awarded between urban and rural areas with no state being awarded more than $100 million and no project being awarded more than $25 million.

The only transit grant to come close to that threshold was the $24.25 million grant awarded to the city of Johnstown, Penn., for the Iron-to-Arts Corridor Project. The nearly $37-million project will restore and enhance the Johnstown Train Station, upgrade the CamTran Downtown Transit Center, rehabilitate and restore the Inclined Plane and connect the three transit hums via a complete street project. The project will restore full operations and connectivity within one of the poorest cities in the state.

Maryland Department of Transportation – Maryland Transit Administration was awarded a $22-million grant for the Baltimore East-West Priority Corridor Project, which will add dedicated bus lanes, transit signal priority, ADA improvements, bus stop enhancements and bicycle infrastructure along a 20-mile corridor in Baltimore City and Baltimore County.

Within the planning grants, the Jacksonville Transportation Authority was awarded $1.73 million for the Ultimate Urban Circulator: Neighborhood Extension and Planning Project. The grant will advance the planning, environmental review and permitting and preliminary project development activities for four Urban Circulator routes in Jacksonville, Fla.

A full list of the RAISE capital grant awards and the RAISE planning grant awards can be found on USDOT’s website.

The RAISE grants were known as Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) under the Trump Administration and Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) under the Obama Administration.

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.