Metropolitan Council, city of Huntsville awarded TOD planning grants

May 6, 2024
The Metropolitan Council received $700,000 in funding for the Blue Line Extension in Minneapolis, Minn., while the city of Huntsville, Ala., received $850,000 for a potential BRT corridor.

The Metropolitan Council (Met Council) and the city of Huntsville, Ala., have each been awarded grants from the Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Planning fund, a Federal Transit Administration (FTA) program. Through this pilot program, communities will be able to develop local plans to encourage ridership through the development of housing and businesses near transit corridors.

Met Council

The FTA has awarded the Met Council $700,000 to fund station area planning operations for the Blue Line Extension in Minneapolis, Minn. The plans will involve new housing, area development, business growth and connections between the new line and the neighborhood. Good station area planning will help to attract riders, stimulate business and make logical connections for walking, biking and vehicle drop-offs. 

In partnership with the city of Minneapolis, the council expects to kick off the work later in 2024. 

City of Huntsville

The city of Huntsville received an $850,000 grant from the FTA as part of a pilot program for land-use study along a potential bus rapid transit (BRT) corridor.

The study will explore unique prospects for residential and mixed-use growth from essential workers, students and families. The city will work closely with stakeholders in three key areas—  University Drive with the greatest potential for (TOD) — Northwoods, University of Alabama in Huntsville and Mid-City —  to develop concepts for BRT station areas and first/last mile connections to visualize how TOD might look along the corridor and how it could connect to nearby areas.

The TOD study will review an array of policies tailored to supporting diverse housing options. The study is slated to commence this summer, culminating in a comprehensive report by mid-2025.

“This grant highlights our commitment to innovative housing and transportation solutions,” said City of Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle. “If implemented, bus rapid transit has the potential to transform our transportation landscape, providing residents with enhanced mobility options while promoting economic vitality and environmental sustainability.”

Quisha Bryant, the city of Huntsville’s director of parking and public transportation, said BRT could revolutionize public transportation in Huntsville. Many major North American cities have BRT systems, including Los Angeles and San Francisco Calif., Chicago Ill., Cleveland, Ohio, and Jacksonville, Fla.

“A city of our size needs to provide transportation options for its residents and as we grow, transit needs to grow with us,” Bryant said. “This is the first step in building upon our existing transit network and creating a regional system.”

Huntsville was one of 20 communities in 16 states to have received FTA funding as part of a pilot program for the TOD planning grant. Awarded annually, the initiative offers funding to facilitate the seamless integration of land use and transportation planning alongside the development of new high-capacity transit projects.  The project is 100 percent federally funded, with no local or state match required.

The FTA grant will create greater access to affordable housiing. This second round of TOD planning grants will help more transit agencies make lasting changes in their communities by setting the stage for future development and jobs creation. 

About the Author

Eman Abu-Khaled | Associate Editor

Eman Abu-Khaled is a recent graduate of Kent State University with a bachelors in journalism. She works through Endeavor Business Media with Mass Transit as an associate editor. Abu-Khaled brings a fresh perspective to the visual side of journalism with an interest in video and photography work.