Denver’s 20-mile bus rapid transit (BRT) corridor

Grants available for planning transit-oriented developments nationwide

May 28, 2024

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has announced a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for $10.5 million in competitive grant funds for transit-adjacent development planning. The Pilot Program for Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Planning supports local initiatives and investments near transit hubs to create sustainable, inclusive communities, with emphasis on projects that incorporate affordable housing.

This latest NOFO follows the announcement in April of $17.6 million in grants that included:

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law initiative provides funds for public transportation, urban planning and housing to design pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods that are well connected to transit networks. TOD planning seeks to lower transportation expenses for households and reduce their environmental impact through better access to jobs, shopping and community spaces via transit.

“Many Americans spend almost half of their monthly budget on housing and transportation costs – so we’re taking steps to bring those costs down,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. “The funding we’re announcing today will support developing affordable housing closer to public transportation — helping lower the combined cost of housing and transportation.”

Since fiscal year 2015, the TOD program has allocated close to $122 million to assist nearly 150 communities in planning for development around transit. Previous grant recipients have used funds for inventive and forward-thinking endeavors. For example, Raleigh, North Carolina, used a grant to revamp the area around the Raleigh Union Station bus terminal, adding diverse housing options and helping to create more sustainable and equitable neighborhoods.

Starting in fiscal year 2023, the FTA prioritized projects that included affordable housing by covering the entire cost of the project, rather than mandating a 20% local funding match, to encourage the integration of affordable housing into transit-oriented developments in line with the Housing Supply Action Plan.

“By choosing projects that focus on affordable housing, FTA is proving to communities all over the nation that if you are willing to find new ways to create great housing opportunities, we are here to support you,” FTA Acting Administrator Veronica Vanterpool said.

Applications from regions with lower population densities or incomes compared with neighboring areas are eligible for a higher share of federal funding. To qualify, applicants must be current recipients of FTA grants, either as sponsors of eligible transit projects or entities with authority over land-use planning within the project corridor. The application period closes July 22.

The Transportation Department’s Build America Bureau earlier this month announced its inaugural TOD Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loan, up to $26.8 million for the Mount Vernon Library Commons Project in Washington state. The project will include a public library, community center, meeting facilities, a commercial kitchen, a parking facility, public amenities such as restrooms, a STEM center, computing areas and several electric vehicle charging stations. Expected to be finished this summer, the commons spans half a city block in downtown Mount Vernon within walking distance from Skagit Station, Skagit County’s transportation hub.

Photo courtesy of Greater Denver Transit

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