Last week, a broad coalition of 45 transportation industry partners, led by APTA, sent letters to Congressional Committee leaders and Secretary of Transportation Buttigieg urging Congress and the Administration to provide at least $10 billion of additional public transit funding in the reconciliation bill, the “Build Back Better Act”. The coalition also urged Congress and the Administration to provide significant, dedicated high-speed rail funding in the bill.
Today, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I Committee) released its title of the Build Back Better Act. The T&I Committee title provides:
- $10 billion for a new, innovative program providing competitive grants for public transit access to affordable housing and to enhance mobility for low-income riders and residents of disadvantaged communities;
- $10 billion for the planning and development of public high-speed rail projects;
- $150 million to finance the credit risk premium of Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) loans and loan guarantees; and
- Additional investments in local transportation priorities, climate incentive grants, and neighborhood access, and equity grants.
APTA President and CEO Paul Skoutelas released a statement today praising the public transportation investments of the Build Back Better Act. Please click here to view the APTA press release.
The T&I Committee is scheduled to mark up its title of the Build Back Better Act on Tuesday, September 14, at 10:00 a.m. EDT.
APTA strongly encourages you to reach out to your Members of Congress and the White House and urge them to support the public transportation investments of the Build Back Better Act. We recommend that you focus your efforts on Democratic Members of Congress and the White House because they are much more likely to support the budget reconciliation bill.
CALL TO ACTION
Please contact your Members of Congress and the White House and strongly urge them to support the Public Transportation Investments—the Transit Access to Affordable Housing and High-Speed Rail Initiatives—of the Build Back Better Act.
To contact your Members of Congress, please call 202.224.3121.
Affordable Housing Access Program
Section 110001 of the Build Back Better Act provides $10 billion for competitive grants for public transit access to affordable housing and to enhance mobility for low-income riders and residents of disadvantaged communities. These funds will remain available until September 30, 2026, with a federal share of up to 100 percent.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) shall establish criteria and a process for allocating funds under the program to ensure support for:
- transit access to affordable housing;
- enhanced mobility for riders and residents of disadvantaged and other communities; or
- other community benefits for low-income riders and residents of disadvantaged communities related to enhanced transit service, including access to jobs, education, medical care, and grocery stores with fresh foods.
Funds will be available to public transit grant recipients and subrecipients under chapter 53 of title 49, United States Code. FTA will administer the program and FTA grant requirements will apply.
Eligible activities include:
- construction of new fixed guideway capital projects;
- construction of bus rapid transit projects that utilize zero-emission vehicles;
- establishment or expansion of high-frequency bus service that utilizes zero-emission buses;
- expansion of the service area or frequency of transit service (including operating expenses);
- renovation or construction of facilities to continue or expand transit service in disadvantaged communities or service that benefits low-income riders;
- research activities that support efforts to reduce barriers to deployment of zero-emission transit vehicles in disadvantaged communities and rural areas;
- training and development of the transit workforce that provides service to disadvantaged communities and rural areas;
- additional assistance to project sponsors of new fixed guideway projects, core capacity projects, and corridor-based bus rapid transit projects not yet open to revenue service;
- public transportation planning; and
- projects to upgrade the accessibility of bus or rail public transportation services for persons with disabilities in disadvantaged communities.
Passenger Rail Improvement, Modernization, and Emissions Reduction Grants
Section 110009 of the Build Back Better Act provides $10 billion for high-speed rail corridor assistance under chapter 261 of title 49, which supports the planning and development of public high-speed rail projects. These funds will remain available until September 30, 2026, with a federal share of up to 90 percent.
Funding is available for planning projects for high-speed rail corridors and capital projects for high-speed rail corridor development that directly serve rail stations within urban areas.
The bill defines “high-speed rail” as “non-highway ground transportation that is owned or operated by an eligible entity and reasonably expected to reach speeds of 160 miles per hour or more on shared-use right-of-way or 186 miles per hour or more on dedicated right-of-way.”
Eligible entities include:
- a public agency or a group of public agencies;
- a State, a group of States;
- an Interstate Compact;
- a public agency established by one or more States and having responsibility for providing high-speed rail service; or
Railroad Rehabilitation Infrastructure and Financing Credit Risk Premium Assistance
Section 110010 of the bill provides $150 million to pay the credit risk premium of RRIF loans and loan guarantees. Eligible entities include railroad carriers, State or local governments, or government-sponsored authorities or corporations. Fifty percent of the amounts appropriated would be set aside for publicly owned or operated passenger rail projects, and 25 percent for freight railroads that are not Class I railroads. These funds remain available until September 30, 2026.