FTA awards $2.2 billion additional assistance funds from American Rescue Plan

March 8, 2022
The funds will go to 35 entities in 17 states and the District of Columbia to cover pandemic-related expenses such as cleaning and sanitization and support employee retention.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) awarded $2.2 billion in federal funding for additional pandemic-related assistance. The funding was included in the American Rescue Plan, which was passed into law in March 2021.

FTA awarded 35 entities in 17 states and the District of Columbia with the additional assistance funds that will help cover expenses related to day-to-day operations, cleaning and sanitization, combating the spread of pathogens on transit systems and retaining employees.

"Essential public transit workers have been on the front lines of the pandemic for two years, keeping our economy moving and helping Americans get where they need to go," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. "This additional funding from the American Rescue Plan is helping communities across the country keep transit workers on the job and keep their trains and buses running."

The grants range from $367,832, which was awarded to the Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments in Maine, up to the highest individual award of $769.2 million, which was granted to New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority. California saw the most transit entities awarded funds where 13 transit agencies and municipalities received a total of $632.5 million.

"Millions of Americans rely on their local transit systems to get to work and school, access medical care and critical services, relieve congestion and reduce pollution," said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez. "The pandemic has shown that public transportation is more essential than ever, which is why these funds are crucial to avoid drastic service cuts and layoffs that would damage the economy and public health."

Grant impacts

Owen P. O’Neil, executive director of the Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority, which received $12.5 million, notes the funding is crucial to the authority’s ability to deal with pandemic challenges and “meet the expanding mobility needs of a rapidly growing Lehigh Valley.”

President and CEO of Hampton Roads Transit William Harrell says the $52.7 million in funding will support transit services that are critical to the resilience and recovery of the regional economy.

“This federal allotment will help mitigate ongoing risks and ensure long-term sustainability and operational performance of transit that supports citizens going to work, school, medical appointments and other lifeline destinations,” said Harrell.

Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority CEO Darryl Haley says the $62.3 million in funding the authority received will help offset revenue losses brought on by the pandemic, but the funds will serve a deeper purpose.

“Ultimately, this grant allows us to continue serving our community without reducing service levels and keeps them connected to jobs, education and medical services, while we continue to navigate through the effects of COVID-19,” said Haley.

A full list of grant recipients is available on FTA’s website.

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.

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