The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced a new Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) to help improve transit in areas experiencing long-term economic distress, according to the administration's news release.
The $20 million in competitive grant funding through FTA’s Areas of Persistent Poverty (AoPP) Program provides more resources to underserved and disadvantaged communities seeking to expand or improve transit systems.
“At a time when transportation is the second-largest household expense for most American families, it is more important than ever to ensure that everyone has access to affordable public transit,” said Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Transportation secretary. “The new resources we are announcing today will make it easier for people in our most underserved communities to access jobs, school, healthcare, and other vital services.”
The AoPP program supports planning and technical studies to improve public transportation in areas experiencing long-term economic hardship, according to the FTA. The AoPP program also funds planning for transit agencies to transition to low- and no-emission vehicles and associated charging equipment.
Projects will be selected based on the evaluation criteria in the NOFO, including President Joe Biden’s executive order on Advancing Equity Through the Federal Government.
“Transit is the great equalizer – particularly in rural areas, where having access to an affordable, reliable bus ride means people can get to their destinations, in a timely manner,” said Nuria Fernandez, FTA administrator. “FTA’s Areas of Persistent Poverty Program ends isolation and opens doors to opportunity for those who do not have a car or cannot drive.”
The AoPP Program supports projects in large and small urban areas as well as in rural and tribal areas, although eligible projects must be located in an Area of Persistent Poverty or Historically Disadvantaged Community.
Since 2020, FTA has awarded 70 projects through the program, totaling more than $24.6 million.