What $454 Million in Bus Facility Funding Pays for in the United States

Spoiler alert: not much.

Read Time: 1 minute

February 4, 2020, 7:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Bus Stop

Frederick Dennstedt / Flickr

Kea Wilson provides analysis of a new pot of federal money for bus public transit, showing how the grant program is "nowhere near what our cities really need."

The Federal Transit Administration announced the availability of $454.6 million through the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities on January 30, and Wilson's main purpose here is to provide perspective on what that amount of money can accomplish on the national scale. Documenting the data to back up the estimates, Wilson totals the deliverable impact of the funding total to 36 diesel buses per state, 12 electric buses per state, or 89 bus shelters per urban transit system.

But wait: there's more. "Maybe the most frustrating thing about our federal funding for buses is not how little the funds pay for, but what they won’t pay for at all," according to Wilson. "Legally, funds from the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities program can’t be used to do anything besides buy physical infrastructure. That means cities can use those dollars to pay for striping for a bus lane — but if they want to pay a transportation planner to figure out the best place to put that bus lane, tough."

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