'Double bulbs' by joshuadf

Over the weekend, FTA administrator Peter Rogoff broke the news that a new $775 million in federal funds will be allocated to transit agencies nationwide to upgrade their bus systems.  This is an addition to recent grants made for both bus and rail transit.  The announcement was made during APTA’s Bus and Paratransit conference in Cleveland:

“Well maintained, clean and reliable buses make a world of difference to the millions of Americans who use transit every day,” Administrator Rogoff said.  “The Obama Administration is making these funds available to ensure that financially strapped transit providers can keep buses rolling and serving the public during these difficult economic times.”

FTA will review applications for the discretionary bus and bus facility funds, and will prioritize proposals based on how they address the issue of the transit system’s state of good repair and recapitalization needs.

Eligible expenses for the funds include purchase and rehabilitation of buses and vans, modernization of buses, bus facilities and revenue service facilities, bus-related equipment and components of transit asset management plans.  Deadline for applications is June 18, 2010. Grantees are expected to be announced in late summer 2010.

King County Metro is expected to bid for funding from the program, but has not yet decided what and for how much it will request money for.  From a Metro spokesperson:

We do anticipate applying for funding from this newly announced competitive grant program.  We will review the guidelines to determine what activities we have that will be eligible for the program, so we don’t yet have an estimate of how much we will be requesting.

16 Replies to “FTA Rolling Out More Transit Grants”

  1. I wonder what makes more of a difference: “Well maintained, clean and reliable buses” that aren’t running or infrequently running due to service cuts or dirty, old buses that are running with frequent service. As a transit rider, I think I’ll go with the latter. Modernization of buses is low on my list of priorities.

    It is unfortunate that these funds can’t be used to prevent service cuts (or improve service).

    1. While they can’t directly use the funds for operations, can’t the money that would otherwise go to these upgrades (would Rapid Ride be a good candidate for these funds) go instead to operations?

      1. My guess would be that they are matching funds, meaning you have to commit your local funds to get the federal match.

        I agree, i’d rather have old buses running more often. Then again, new buses support jobs, so maybe that’s the idea.

    2. justinf,

      Unless you also define “clean” as meaning “fuel efficient”. Metro continues to run an aging fleet of all-diesel vehicles as well as diesel NRV’s (non-revenue vehicles “D-cars”, etc. These are buses and vehicles worthy of spending money on modernizing.

      But yea, it would be nice if some of those funds could be used to maintain or expand existing service. If it focuses on things like new articulated trolley buses, electrifying the 48 etc., that could be do-able.

  2. That’s what was on my mind also, a new fleet of trolleys to replace the Bredas. Maybe it is time to alleviate some of that Vancouver envy…

    1. Yea, the sooner the Bredas are retired the better. I’d love to see new low-floor articulated trolleys replace them. Maybe something along the lines of the RapidRide coaches but set up as ETBs with EPUs.

    1. How about an extra BNSF corridor track for as much of the Auburn to Seattle corridor as possible just for Sounder, greatly expanding service and renting space on the BNSF tracks far less often? That’d be awesome.

      1. So we could make that route even more economically inefficient than Sounder North with the added bonus of promoting the development of the farthest reaches of the county?

        How about instead crowning the Stampede Pass tunnel so that should Stevens get shut down the Port of Seattle doesn’t start to resemble a Michigan auto factory town.

  3. Wish list for uses of Metro’s FTA grant:

    1. Replace or refurbish trolley fleet
    2. Get a jump start on replacing the WFSC barn (yes, I too am infuriated by Mr. Melone’s reply to me!)
    3. See #1 and #2

    Hurray for Electric Transit!

      1. Yes!

        Anyone in a position to organize a campaign? I can help but I’m not in a position right now to take on the responsibility of leading the charge.

      2. I tried to gather some interest a while ago and it kind of went no where. There were a couple of people who were interested but it seemed to be more of an uphill battle than we were willing to take on. If anyone else is interested in setting up/helping out a group, I’d be more than willing to take a stab at it again. trafficmike-at-hotmail

  4. Thinking out loud–I am not sure this would qualify for the grant program, but ST could get a little money to start one Everett-Tacoma round trip–essentially the potential prototype for midday/evening/weekend Sounder service. Since this round trip does not originate and terminate at King Street, this would allow commuters to travel between Everett and Tacoma (or vice versa) while sitting in one seat.

    1. I’ve thought this would be a good idea too. Send one of the Everett trains through King Street Station, continuing on to Tacoma as a reverse peak trip, then send it back to Seattle on the shoulder of the peak. In the early afternoon, send it to Tacoma, then turn it and return to Seattle and continue to Everett.

      You could do the same in the other direction, but you don’t need a seven car train going to Everett.

      A while ago, ST had a story in their rider news about somebody who commuted from Edmonds to the Kent Valley by Sounder. They should make it easy for that guy.

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