USDOT awards more than $9 billion in ARP funds

Jan. 13, 2022
CTDOT, L.A. Metro, NJ Transit and New York’s MTA were all awarded funds from the latest COVID-19 relief bill to keep services operating and workers on staff.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) awarded a combined total of $9.37 billion in funding provided by the American Rescue Plan, which was signed into law in March 2021 and included more than $30 billion for the transit industry to continue operating services and keep workers employed as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

USDOT explains the funding comes as transit agencies face the challenge of the Omicron variant.

The funds awarded include $332.5 million to the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT), $1.24 billion to Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (L.A. Metro), $1.6 billion to New Jersey Transit (NJ Transit) and $6.2 billion to New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which is the largest one-time grant ever awarded by the department’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA).

“Public transportation has helped people reach their jobs at hospitals, grocery stores, ports and more throughout this pandemic,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “This funding from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan will help keep transit service running, protect transit employees from layoffs and ensure people can get where they need to go.”

New York MTA employs approximately 66,000 people and the funds will help maintain those levels. Prior to the pandemic, the authority provided 3.8 billion trips, which is approximately 39 percent of all transit trips taken in the United States. USDOT says the grant funds for MTA will help maintain and improve transit service for New York City residents and visitors as the agency continues to address pandemic-related challenges such as decreased ridership and staff shortages.

While ridership on the system remains reduced from pre-pandemic levels, MTA’s subways, commuter rail lines and buses have seen steady increases during 2021, which includes New York City Transit carrying more than 3.2 million riders.

USDOT explains Connecticut’s diverse and robust public transportation network supports more than 3.6 million residents with its bus service alone providing 10.4 million trips in 2019, making it one of the largest bus operators in the Northeast.

NJ Transit and L.A. Metro both employ 11,000 people. Prior to COVID-19, NJ Transit provided one out of every 37 trips in the United States and L.A. Metro provided 215 million trips across the nation’s second largest urbanized area.

“As Los Angeles County experiences another surge of infections in our nearly two year battle with the COVID-19 pandemic, the resources provided to our agency through the American Rescue Plan Act will help us weather the storm, continue on our path to rebuild and grow our ridership, maintain the highest standards of service and safety, ensure no employee is laid off and provide equitable access to transit for all Los Angeles County residents who rely on Metro buses and trains,” said Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board Chair and Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis. “Metro will use the America Rescue Plan Act funds to benefit riders, including seniors, persons with disabilities, low-income and transit-dependent individuals by supporting bus and rail operations and maintenance - critical activities that will ensure our transit system operates safely, efficiently, reliably and sustainably.”

L.A. Metro also benefited from the $1.6 billion included in the American Rescue Plan for FTA’s Capital Investment Grants (CIG) Program. Four L.A. Metro capital projects received more than $275 million from the added CIG funds, including $59 million for the Regional Connector Transit Project; $66.5 million for the Westside Purple Line Extension Section 1; $58.5 million for the Westside Purple Line Extension Section 2; and $93.5 million for the Westside Purple Line Extension Section 3.

“As our nation’s transit systems recover from COVID-19, the American Rescue Plan funds ensure that they continue to provide service to the many Americans who depend on transit to get to essential jobs, healthcare and vaccine appointments,” said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez.

The FTA says it has awarded more than $56 billion in pandemic-relief funding to transit agencies from three emergency relief bills that were passed in 2020 and 2021. The funding provided by the American Rescue Plan comes from the $26.6 billion allocated by statutory formulas funding.

The American Rescue Plan also included an additional $2.2 billion for agencies who need additional funds and FTA expects these to be awarded later in 2022.

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.