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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

USDOT issues $250 million for transit projects; Fernandez confirmed as FTA administrator

The U.S. Senate last week confirmed Nuria Fernandez to serve as FTA administrator.
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U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg last week announced $250 million in federal funding allocations to 22 transit projects through the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Capital Investment Grants (CIG) program. 

Funding is provided by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which was signed into law by President Biden on March 11. The transit infrastructure projects are located in Arizona, California, Florida, Indiana, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Washington State and Wisconsin.

"Public transit opens new opportunities for people, and delivers environmental and economic benefits to communities," said Buttigieg in a press release. "We are delighted to provide support for these projects, which will help communities recover from the pandemic and bring public transit to more people in the months and years to come."

The American Rescue Plan specified that $250 million could be distributed to Small Starts projects in the CIG program that previously received a CIG funding allocation from the FTA or that are in the project development phase of the CIG program. These projects represent several modes, streetcar and light rail.

Rail-related projects and their CIG allocations include:

• Tempe Streetcar project by Valley Metro in Arizona, $17.5 million;

  Charlotte Area Transit System’s LYNC Streetcar Phase 2 project in North Carolina, $11.1 million; and

• Sound Transit’s Hilltop Tacoma Link Extension, a 2.4-mile light-rail line, $20.7 million.

Small Starts projects that received allocations include TriMet’s MAX Red Line extension and reliability project, which will receive $15.7 million. That project entails a 7.8-mile extension of the MAX Red Line from Beaverton Transit Center to downtown Hillsboro, Oregon. The project also will increase the reliability of the MAX light-rail system Portland International Airport and the Beaverton center.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate last week confirmed Nuria Fernandez to serve as administrator of the FTA, where she has been serving as acting administrator since she was appointed deputy secretary on Jan. 20.

Fernandez previously served as general manager and chief executive officer of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority in California; as chief operating officer of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York; and senior vice president of design and construction for the Chicago Transit Authority and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

Fernandez has also served as chair of the American Public Transportation Association.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/14/2021