Yesterday, President Biden unveiled a revised Build Back Better Framework, totaling an estimated $1.75 trillion. The House Committee on Rules posted revised legislative text that reflects most of the Framework. The legislative text is expected to change further.
In Fiscal Year (FY) 2022, the bill 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; and
• Additional investments in climate incentive grants and neighborhood access and equity grants.
It also creates a manufacturer’s tax credit equal to 30 percent of the cost of electric or hydrogen fuel-cell transit buses; extends the alternative fuel tax credit; and extends and substantially increases the alternative fuel vehicle property tax credit.
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 and green energy provisions 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 Build Back Better Act.
APTA also encourages you to reach out to your Representatives to support the bipartisan infrastructure bill, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which is awaiting a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives. Although Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) wanted to schedule the bill for a vote yesterday, Progressive Democrats continue to oppose passing the IIJA until there is a bicameral agreement on the Build Back Better Act. As a result, Congress enacted a surface transportation authorization extension act through December 3, 2021.
CALL TO ACTION
Please contact your Members of Congress and the White House and strongly urge them to support the Public Transportation and Green Energy Investments of the Build Back Better Act.
Please also urge your U.S. House Representatives to support the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
To contact your Members of Congress, please call 202.224.3121.
To view APTA’s Talking Points, please click here.
Public Transit Investments
Section 110001 of H.R. 5376, the Build Back Better Act, provides $10 billion for a new, innovative Affordable Housing Access program. It provides $9.75 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 make competitive grants under sections 5307, 5311, and 5339(c) of title 49, United States Code, to support:
• 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.
Under the Program, grants may be used for operating expenses, including in large urbanized areas.
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;
• acquisition of zero-emission vehicles or related infrastructure to expand service;
• expansion of the service area or frequency of transit service;
• renovation or construction of facilities related to transit service in disadvantaged communities or service that benefits low-income riders generally;
• 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 (up to an increase of 10 percent in the federal share or Capital Investment Grant share);
• public transportation planning; and
• projects to upgrade the accessibility of bus or rail public transportation services for persons with disabilities.
The bill also provides $150 million for competitive grants under sections 5312 or 5314 of title 49 for:
• research activities that support efforts to reduce barriers to deployment of zero-emission transit vehicles in disadvantaged communities and rural areas; and
• training and development activities that support the provision of service to disadvantaged communities and rural areas.
Passenger Rail Improvement, Modernization, and Emissions Reduction Grants
Section 110006 of the bill 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. Of the $10 billion appropriated, not less than $1 billion is set aside for planning projects for high-speed rail corridor development.
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 faster on shared-use right-of-way or 186 miles per hour or faster 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
Infrastructure Finance and Green Energy Provisions
Section 136403 creates a new “Credit for Qualified Commercial Electric Vehicles”. It provides a manufacturer’s tax credit equal to 30 percent of the cost of electric or hydrogen fuel-cell transit buses. This credit for “qualified commercial electric vehicles” is authorized from 2022 to 2031.
Section 136201 extends the $0.50 per gasoline gallon equivalent excise tax credits for alternative fuels through 2026. Transit agencies that fuel their vehicles with compressed (CNG) or liquefied (LNG) natural gas benefit from this tax credit.
Section 136405 extends the alternative fuel vehicle refueling property credit through 2031, and the cap for this credit is substantially increased. Beginning in 2022, the provision expands the credit for zero-emission charging and refueling infrastructure by providing a base credit of six percent for expenses up to $100,000 and four percent for allowable expenses in excess of that amount. The provision provides an alternative bonus credit level of 30 percent for expenses up to $100,000 and 20 percent thereafter.