Recommendations for the Federal Transit Administration's Capital Investment Grant Program

The Capital Investment Grants program should focus on improving service on heavily-used lines, expanding access to jobs and amenities, and increasing multimodal accessibility.

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October 21, 2021, 12:00 PM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Chicago Street

Jeff Summers / Flickr

In response to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA)'s request for feedback on its Capital Investment Grant (CIG) criteria, TransitCenter outlines its recommendations. These include:

  • "Improve speed, reliability, accessibility, frequency, and/or span for heavily-used transit corridors."
  • "Significantly expand" access to jobs and other important destinations, particularly for underserved communities.
  • Make upgrades that help connect travelers, creating "network effects."
  • Improve accessibility for pedestrians, cyclists, and wheelchair users.

Pointing to the mixed record of transit investment in the United States, TransitCenter states "[r]eviewing recent patterns of capital investment, there are too few transit projects that meet a significant demand for travel, expand access, yield network benefits, or serve walkable areas." Too many recent projects, the statement says, "do not generate the broad economic benefits or travel time savings that accrue when capital projects are grounded in the fundamental objective of improving travel by transit for large numbers of people."

However, many projects, such as the expansion of light rail in the Seattle region, Chicago's Red and Purple Line modernization, and Richmond's Pulse BRT (Bus Rapid Transit), would, if built, advance equity and help reduce carbon emissions. "In general, FTA should adjust the CIG criteria to funnel more resources to projects like these upgrades, and less to projects like mixed-traffic streetcars or suburban rail expansions."

You can read TransitCenter's full response to the FTA here.

Thursday, October 14, 2021 in TransitCenter

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