Bus

Obama budget tabs $2.5B to expand transit options

Posted on March 6, 2014

On Wednesday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx highlighted $2.5 billion recommended in President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget to advance the construction or completion of 26 rail, bus rapid transit (BRT) and streetcar projects in 16 states.

The projects, competitively funded through the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Capital Investment Grant Program, will create or sustain thousands of good construction-related jobs and help communities expand transportation choices that offer new ladders of opportunity for hard-working families.

“President Obama has laid out a bold vision for investing in 21st century transportation infrastructure that removes barriers to success for millions of Americans while strengthening our nation’s economy today and in the future,” said Secretary Foxx. “We are committed to ensuring that every American has access to the ladders of opportunity that lead to success — and access to public transportation is essential to making that happen.”

The President’s budget includes funding recommendations for eight brand new projects that will connect thousands of residents in cities and communities across the country with jobs and other opportunities, including:

  • The Dyer Avenue BRT in El Paso, Texas, which will serve thousands of U.S. service men and women stationed at the U.S. Army Base at Ft. Bliss, connects these and other riders with downtown El Paso, and helps to shorten travel times by eliminating transfers for many riders who live and work in the area’s low-income neighborhoods.
  • The East-West Connector BRT in Nashville, Tenn., known as the Amp, which will re-connect the city’s east and west sides, helping residents of Five Points and other neighborhoods to more easily reach jobs, education and medical care.
  • The Green Line Extension outside Boston, which will bring rail service to thousands of commuters in Medford and Somerville, who currently lack direct access to rail transit.

“Transit ridership across the U.S. is at its highest level in five decades, thanks in part to FTA’s successful partnerships with communities committed to expanding local transportation choices that help to revitalize neighborhoods; reduce congestion; and connect residents with jobs, education, health care and other vital services,” said Deputy Federal Transit Administrator Therese McMillan. “We must continue investing, together, in our nation’s public transportation infrastructure, so future generations have the mobility they will need to succeed.”

The recommendations also would complete the federal funding commitment for 10 transit projects funded in prior years. Among them is the Oakland, Calif., East Bay BRT project, which is expected to provide faster, more efficient bus service in one of the densest and most transit-dependent corridors in the San Francisco Bay area; and the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn., Central Corridor light rail project, which has created thousands of construction jobs and is expected to improve access to major employment centers by linking the downtown areas of the Twin Cities.

To view the FTA’s Annual Report on Funding Recommendations for the FY2015 Capital Investment Grant Program, click here.

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