The Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced this week the award of nearly $110 million in funding to eight public transportation providers and state departments of transportation in six states and one U.S. territory to help communities recover from recent natural disasters.
The support, provided through FTA’s Public Transportation Emergency Relief (ER) Program, will help agencies repair damaged equipment and facilities and recoup costs for evacuation and rescue operations following floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes that occurred in 2017 and 2020-22.
“As the climate crisis accelerates, extreme weather is disrupting not just American lives and communities, but also the infrastructure we rely on every day,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement announcing the funding. “Under President Biden, DOT is delivering much-needed funding to transit agencies to recover and rebuild after these disasters, while we continue our work to combat climate change across every mode of transportation.”
“Americans cannot stop their lives because a disaster damages their transit systems,” said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez. “We know it is critical to fund recovery efforts for these systems, so they can keep taking Americans to work, school, doctors’ appointments, and other important destinations.”
The following funds were awarded:
• $420,000 to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet on behalf of the Fulton County Transit Authority to replace vehicles following a December 2021 tornado that struck Mayfield County, Ky.;
• $18.6 million to the Plaquemines Port Harbor & Terminal District in the Plaquemines Parish, La., to rehabilitate the Pointe à la Hache ferry crossing, which has been damaged by several major storms, including Tropical Storm Harvey in 2017 and Hurricane Ida in 2021;
• $75 million to the New Jersey Transit Corp. to support repairs and relocation of a 70-year-old facility damaged during Hurricane Ida in 2021;
• $201,160 to the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority for emergency response operating costs following the December 2022 blizzard that impacted Erie and Niagara County, N.Y.;
• Nearly $13.2 million to the Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority to rehabilitate Tren Urbano rail system facilities and systems following Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017;
• $6,769 to the Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority (Arroyo) to repair a maintenance facility damaged during Hurricane Maria in 2017; and
• $400,000 to the Brazos Transit District, which provides transportation services for 21 counties in central and east Texas, to repair a maintenance facility damaged in a February 2021 winter storm.
The ER program not only helps states and public transportation systems repair and replace equipment and facilities that have suffered serious damage, but also provides funding to reimburse transit agencies for the costs of evacuating people during storms, rescue operations, and providing temporary public transportation service. Agencies may also use the support to reestablish, expand, or relocate service before, during or after an emergency.
This announcement reflects a second round of grants under the fiscal year 2023 program. Last July, FTA announced $102.3 million in funding to 17 transit agencies, cities, and planning councils in eight states and territories to help recover from recent natural disasters.