March 21, 2014

FTA releases $30M for tribal transit programs

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) awarded a total of $5 million in competitive funds to 42 American Indian and Alaska Native tribes in 19 states for projects to improve transit service.

The funds complement $25 million allocated by formula to eligible tribal recipients for FY 2014, as announced last week. The combined $30 million investment — double the amount available in prior years — supports efforts to enhance public transit service on rural tribal lands and better connect tribal members and other residents with jobs, education and other ladders of opportunity.

Through FTA’s Tribal Transit Program, the competitively awarded FY 2013 funds will allow tribes to continue or enhance existing transit service, launch new public transportation or plan for future transit needs.

Under MAP-21, FTA’s Tribal Transit Program roughly doubled the amount of available funding from amounts awarded in recent years, but changed from an entirely discretionary program to a mostly formula-based one. Formula funds are awarded based on such factors as the miles a transit vehicle travels while in active service and the number of low-income individuals that reside on tribal lands.

The FY 2014 formula funds, allocated to 112 tribes in 26 states, will help tribes continue to provide existing transit services that many rural residents depend on every day. The criteria for awarding competitive funds includes, among other things, project readiness; benefits to riders, such as increased reliability; economic benefits to the community; and a tribe’s financial commitment to the project and to transit.

Under the prior authorization, SAFETEA-LU, approximately 200 tribal transit programs received a total of approximately $107 million to enhance, launch or plan for transit service on tribal lands under the FTA Tribal Transit Program.

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