Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx is urging congress to consider a $3.5 billion funding proposal that would boost public transportation projects throughout the US as part of the 2017 budget package. If allocated, the money would advance the construction or completion of 31 rail, bus rapid transit and streetcar projects in 18 states.
The proposal includes first-time funding recommendation for 15 projects including the modernization of part of Chicago’s aging subway as well as rapid transit and streetcar projects in Indianapolis, Indiana and Sacramento California.
The projects would be funded through the competitive Capital Investment Grant (CIG) Program, through the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). FTA’s CIG Program is the federal government’s primary grant program for funding major transit capital investments that are locally planned, implemented and operated. It provides funding for investments such as new and expanded heavy rail, commuter rail, light rail, bus rapid transit and streetcar projects.
Public transportation infrastructure nationwide is limited, and where established is often aging. As CivSource reported yesterday, New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority is planning to issue $500 million in green bonds to focus a portion of its capital improvement efforts on environmentally sustainable modernization projects. That transit system is faced with a daunting repair plan following years of under investment and remaining damage from superstorm Sandy. A proposed repair plan includes closing as many as 30 subway stops for extended periods to make repairs and also could see one train line shut down entirely for over a year.
The Department of Transportation is also proposing a $599 million budget item that would help to fund some of the core capacity work on heavily used transit systems like New York’s, as well as in Chicago and San Francisco.