Today, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced nearly $300 million in new federal grants for transit solutions. The funding is meant to expand President Obama’s Livability Initiative, a joint venture of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Boston’s proposed bike share program won over $300 million of the “Urban Circulator/Bus and Bus Livability” funds by demonstrating how the bike share system will complement the existing public transit system, with over 500 stations at or near Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) bus or rail stations.
Bikes also won in Canton, Ohio, where the Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (STARTA) will receive $2 million for improvements to a local transit corridor that will include revitalization and improved connectivity for a bike-pedestrian path. Improvements on pedestrian networks are integral to many of the funded projects.
Streetcar projects were also popular, receiving funding in St. Louis, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Dallas/Ft. Worth, and Seattle. (D.C.’s bid for streetcar funding failed, however, as the dispute about overhead wires continues.) FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff said, “Streetcars are making a comeback because cities across America are recognizing that they can restore economic development downtown – giving citizens the choice to move between home, shopping and entertainment without ever looking for a parking space.”