Federal Transit Administration

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Federal Transit Administration
Website cms.fta.dot.gov/

"The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) provides financial and technical assistance to local public transit systems, including buses, subways, light rail, commuter rail, trolleys and ferries. FTA also oversees safety measures and helps develop next-generation technology research.

Transit services supported by FTA span many groups and provide wide-ranging benefits. Since 1964, FTA has partnered with state and local governments to create and enhance public transportation systems, investing more than $12 billion annually to support and expand public rail, bus, trolley, ferry and other transit services. That investment has helped modernize public transportation and extended service into small cities and rural communities that previously lacked transit options.

An agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), FTA is headed by an administrator appointed by the President of the United States. FTA is one of DOT’s 10 modes of transportation and is run by a headquarters in Washington, D.C. as well as 10 regional offices that assist transit agencies in all states and U.S. territories."[1]

Today, the federal government’s involvement in funding mass transportation is concentrated primarily on the capital side: The federal government supports less than 10% of operating expenditures, but almost 40% of capital expenditures. The Federal Transit Administration has six major programs: (1) Urbanized Area Formula; (2) State of Good Repair (SGR); (3) Capital Investment Grants (also known as “New Starts”); (4) Rural Area Formula; (5) Bus and Bus Facilities; and (6) Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities. The Urbanized Area Formula program is the largest and accounts for 39% of authorized funding ($4.9 billion in FY2020). The program targets public transportation projects in Census areas that have populations of 50,000 or more. For urbanized areas under 200,000 the distribution of funds is based on population, population density, and the number of low-income individuals. For larger metro areas (exceeding 200,000 people), the formula also includes bus revenue vehicle miles, bus passenger miles, fixed guideway revenue miles, and fixed guideway route miles. The Rural Area Formula program apportions funds based on rural land area, population, vehicle revenue miles, and the number of low-income individuals. With authorized funding totaling $673 million in FY 2020, the program also supports the Rural Transit Assistance Program, the Public Transportation on Indian Reservations Program, and the Appalachian Development Public Transportation Assistance Program.