New Jersey's Brick Church station

$343 million will help make rail stations safer, more accessible

May 29, 2024

The Federal Transit Administration is awarding $343 million to eight states to retrofit some of the busiest rail transit systems in the nation. The funds will support upgrades to aging systems to make public transportation more accessible for the elderly and disabled and more efficient for all.

“We are not only modernizing our nation’s infrastructure, we are doing so in a way that makes it more accessible for older Americans, people with disabilities, and all transit users,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a press release. The upgrades will include “retrofitting old rail stations with elevators, ramps, and more.”

With funds provided by passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in 2021, the grants are being given out through the FTA’s All Stations Accessibility Program (ASAP). The funds can be used for upgrades to rail transit stations and projects to make public transportation accessible to all passengers. The federal funding provides up to 80% of the total financial needs for each project.

After opening applications, the FTA received more than $1 billion in funding requests from state and local transportation authorities. The flood of applications came after the ASAP program provided $686 million to 15 projects in 2023. Budgeted for $1.75 billion overall from the 2022-23 fiscal year through 2026, the program still has hundreds of millions of dollars left to fund additional projects in the coming years.

“Since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, great strides have been made in improving accessibility, but there is still a lot of work to accomplish,” said FTA Acting Administrator Veronica Vanterpool. “We want to ensure that all customers can use transit systems with ease and reliability, including people with disabilities, those using mobility devices, and other users needing more accessible spaces.”

New York City will receive the largest share – more than $156 million – that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will use for improvements at five stations. Plans include new elevators, reducing gaps between station platforms and trains, repairing stairways, improving signage and making changes to audio announcement systems.

Not far from New York City, another $83.3 million will flow through the ASAP program to improve accessibility on trains operated by the New Jersey Transit Corporation. Improvements will center on the century-old Brick Church station, which serves as a crucial transfer point for two rail lines and connects communities around Newark, New Jersey, to each other while providing rail access to New York’s Penn Station. The funding will provide updates to pedestrian tunnels and stairs, adding elevators and various other safety enhancements.

The rest of the $343 million will go toward repairs and upgrades to one municipal transit system in San Francisco and five regional passenger rail transit systems centered around New Orleans, Boston, Baltimore, Cleveland and Pittsburgh. The awards range from $67.6 million for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority to $4.6 million for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

Photo by Adam Moss

Don't Miss

Massive support, funding now available to improve supply-chain networks

New opportunities for multimodal freight, rail, and port projects are
A hospital hallway.

New hospitals greenlit for Amarillo, Wichita Falls

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is searching