On April 8th, SWTA Executive Director Rich Sampson had a very positive conversation with FTA Acting Administrator Nuria Fernandez about the initial transit details of the Biden Administration’s American Jobs Plan. Beyond the top-level $80 billion number, Ms. Ferndandez shared that it will be divided into a pot of $55 billion for “good repair” and $25 for “growth and expansion.”
The good repair, she explained will essentially follow existing federal programs, including both formula and Capital Investment Grants, and will generally parallel the ratio found in the American Recovery Act. The growth component is less refined so far, but will include discretionary/competitive elements along with new programs using formulas. She emphasized that these programs will involve addressing ADA upgrades as well equity & access initiatives. She explained more details on this will be forthcoming when the bill is introduced in Congress.
Rich shared with her SWTA members concerns that funds are reasonably distributed across the industry to communities of all sizes, and that flexibility with local match may be needed (especially for rural & smaller systems without dedicated local funds) for several more years as COVID recovery continues. They also talked about not penalizing systems with referent NTD numbers due to COVID, which she is already in working on. Rich also noted we have some specific priorities for reauthorization such as sale of vehicles and low/no or 5339 requirements for 5311 systems that we’re sharing with Congressional staff.
Lastly, Rich invited her – and she verbally committed to joining us – in Austin in February, 2022 for our planned joint conference with the Texas Transit Association.
Please let Rich know if you have any questions about the Jobs Plan or any other details to follow up with Ms. Fernandez & her staff at [email protected] or 225.270.0855.
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