Obama Invests Nearly $1 Billion in Public Transport

DETROIT, Michigan, October 19, 2011 (ENS) – Transit providers across the United States will receive a share of $928.5 million in federal funds for more than 300 public transportation projects in urban, suburban, and rural areas, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced Monday.

The Obama Administration will invest the funds to create jobs renovating and building transit facilities, manufacturing new clean-fuel buses, and helping communities plan for their future transit needs.

“Investing in America’s transit systems, rails, roads, ports, and airports will generate tens of thousands of construction-related jobs and put more money in the pockets of working Americans,” said LaHood. “But we must do more. Congress needs to pass the American Jobs Act so we can continue to invest in critically needed projects like these, to repair and rebuild our nation’s transportation system.”

Made available through the Federal Transit Administration’s fiscal year 2011 Alternatives Analysis, Bus Livability, and State of Good Repair Programs, the grants will go toward replacing or refurbishing aging buses, building or improving bus terminals, garages, and other transit facilities, installing bus-related equipment, and conducting studies to help communities select the best transit options to meet future transportation needs.

LaHood was joined in making the announcement by Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff. “These grant funds will make sure that bus service in our communities remains reliable and desirable while putting thousands of Americans to work at the same time,” said Rogoff.

Hybrid bus in Detroit, Michigan (Photo by polskiedetroit)

During the highly competitive grant process, the Federal Transit Administration reviewed 839 project applications representing $4.9 billion in funding requests from transit providers across the country for these Fiscal Year 2011 discretionary grants.

Several of the grants will go to cities and towns in the state of Michigan. Detroit’s Suburban Mobility Authority will receive nearly $5 million to replace its older buses with hybrid biodiesel/electric buses. These buses will achieve cleaner air, improve mobility and ensure anaccessible, integrated, and efficient transportation system.

The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments was selected to receive $2 million for study of a possible second phase of the planned Woodward Avenue corridor transit project in Detroit and the best mode of transit to pursue. The first phase, a light rail line still in the early planning stages, would end just south of Detroit’s Eight Mile Road. The second phase may one day provide additional transit solutions another 7.5 miles to Maple Road, also called Fifteen Mile Road.

The Transportation Authority of Ann Arbor, Michigan will purchase $2.6 million worth of clean diesel buses with hybrid-electric components to increase bus service in the town that has grown up around the University of Michigan.

The city of Flint, Michigan will replace older coaches in its fleet with compressed natural gas coaches that will reduce overall energy usage and emissions.

The South Florida Regional Transportation Authority will receive $4.55 million to replace its shuttle bus fleet with alternative fuel vehicles. The shuttle buses link Tri-Rail with airports, hospitals, colleges and universities, and other major employment centers in Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties.

In Seattle, Washington area, the Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority, usually called Sound Transit, will receive $5.4 million to replace aging buses with new hybrid-diesel buses.

In Indiana, the Bloomington Public Transportation Corporation will serve cyclists with one of the smallest grants – $24,900 will fund the purchase of bicycle lockers for a new downtown passenger transfer station with connectivity to public transportation bus service. The lockers are intended to encourage increased ridership while providing more alternative transportation choices. Designated a bicycle-friendly community by the League of American Bicyclists, Bloomington aims to enhance its commitment to encouraging all forms of alternative transportation, including bicycling.

Click here for the full list of selected projects.

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