U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced the availability of approximately $25 million in competitive funding grants to help communities take their first steps in planning future transit options to better connect people to where they live, work and play.
"President Obama challenged us to build an economy that works for everyone, and the tremendous demand for more transit service across America shows how much communities want alternative ways to get to work, school, medical appointments and elsewhere," said Secretary LaHood. "We have critical transportation work that needs to be done and Americans who are ready to do the work."
The funds are available through the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) Alternatives Analysis grant program, which is the first key step that local decision makers must take as they pursue federal funds for key transit construction projects. The analysis begins with a solid understanding of the local transportation problems at hand, followed by a period of study that engages the public, local officials, and potential funding partners in evaluating the costs and benefits of various transit solutions--and ways to pay for them. The Alternatives Analysis process helps to ensure that communities think through the best and most feasible choices available to them, before committing local resources and competing for federal funds from the FTA.
"To achieve the President's vision of an America that's built to last, we'll continue to support local decision making about the best ways to bring more transit to communities nationwide," said Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff. "With gas prices rising, the need for transit alternatives is greater than ever."
Last year, FTA awarded $25.4 million for 34 Alternatives Analysis studies throughout the U.S. The agency reviewed 71 applications from 29 states seeking a total of $60.8 million. Among the transit corridors now under consideration that build on last year's grants are a 24-mile north-south corridor along Chicago's lakefront, the five-mile South Central Corridor in Phoenix, and a 22-mile corridor between the City of Charleston and Town of Summerville in South Carolina.