The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for $25 million through the American Rescue Plan to help public transportation agencies return service from COVID-19 suspensions in ways that can best serve their communities.
Under FTA's Route Planning Restoration Program, funding can be used for transit route restoration planning that is designed to examine ridership following the COVID-19 pandemic, reduce travel times, and make adjustments to increase the quality or frequency of transit service for low-income riders and those in disadvantaged neighborhoods or communities who may need increased service to get to jobs, shopping, and health care.
"The Route Restoration Program will help transit agencies develop strategies and identify opportunities to remove barriers and increase equity in underserved communities," said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez. "The drastic changes that transit agencies have seen also will provide an opportunity for them to reimagine their systems and routes, to ensure that everyone has access to transportation."
Projects will be selected, in part, on their ability to increase racial equity and advance environmental justice, in support of the President’s Executive Order on "Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government." The projects will also be examined for their impact on the climate, as referenced in the President’s Executive Order on "Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad." Transit agencies will be given additional consideration for projects that clearly reassess and plan for service that connects those in underserved communities, while helping cut down on car and other trips that increase emissions, particularly in those communities, which are often the most impacted by airborne pollution.
Eligible recipients include any urbanized area formula grant (Section 5307) recipient that has reduced transit service on or after Jan. 20, 2020, due to COVID-19. The maximum award amount for any prospective applicant may be up to $1 million and a local match is not required.