Federal Transit Administration: FY 2007 Budget Request
In FY 2007, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) requests $8.9 billion in budget authority, $370 million (4.4 percent) above the enacted level for FY 2006. The budget request maintains the commitment to public transportation embodied in the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). SAFETEA-LU reflects the Administrationís determination to keep its commitments to the people who depend on public transportation for basic mobility. SAFETEA-LU will continue to provide stable, predictable formula funds to urbanized areas, to significantly increase funding for underserved rural communities, to honor multi-year funding commitments under the New Starts program, and perhaps most importantly, to improve services to the elderly, low income, and persons with disabilities through coordinated planning and predictable funding.
Formula and Bus Grants
FTA requests $7.3 billion for transit purposes, including security, planning, bus and railcar purchases and maintenance, facility repair and construction, and where eligible, operating expenses. The program includes grants specifically targeted to urbanized and non-urbanized areas and to transportation providers that address the special transportation needs of the elderly, people with low incomes, and persons with disabilities. In addition to the major programs described below, funding requested for the Formula and Bus Grants program in FY 2007 will contribute $25 million for alternatives analysis for New Starts projects, $7.6 million to improve the accessibility of over-the-road buses, and $3.5 million for the National Transit Database.
- Urbanized Area Formula Grants - $3.9 billion is requested for the Urbanized Area Formula Grant program to help meet the capital replacement, rehabilitation and refurbishment needs of existing transit systems and to ensure that customers continue to receive safe and reliable public transportation. The Urbanized Area Formula Grant program also includes funding for the Growing States and the High Density States programs, which distribute funds to both the urbanized and non-urbanized area formula programs under differing factors.
- Fixed Guideway Modernization - $1.4 billion is requested for the acquisition, reconstruction, and improvement of facilities and equipment used on fixed guideways, including heavy and light rail, commuter rail, and ferryboat operations. Funding for this program will help ensure that the Nationís older fixed guideway systems continue to meet the transportation needs of the communities they serve.
- Bus and Bus Facility Grants - $855.5 million is requested to make funding available to finance bus and bus-related capital projects, including ferryboat projects, which enhance the nationís transit systems. Eligible funding purposes include acquisition of buses for fleet and service expansion, bus maintenance and administrative facilities, transfer facilities, transportation centers, intermodal terminals, park-and-ride stations, acquisition of replacement vehicles, bus rebuilds, bus preventative maintenance, passenger amenities (such as passenger shelters and bus stop signs), accessory and miscellaneous equipment (such as mobile radio units), supervisory vehicles, fare boxes, computers, and maintenance shop equipment.
- Formula Grants for Other-Than Urbanized Areas - $466.9 million is requested in formula funding for states to support public transportation in areas of less than 50,000 in population. The non-urbanized area formula program addresses the transportation needs of people living in rural counties that have no public transportation services and assists states in supporting rural intercity bus service by requiring that they spend 15 percent of their annual apportionment on such service. The non-urbanized area formula program also includes funding for the High Density States program.
- Formula Grants for Special Needs for the Elderly and Individuals with Disabilities - $117 million is requested to focus on Americaís commitment to meeting the transportation needs of the elderly and persons with disabilities. Among the Americans who use transit are the 35 million senior citizens who are most likely to need access to dependable transportation if they are to participate fully in their community. Transit is also important to the 31 million Americans with disabilities who use public transportation. FTA strongly supports the Presidentís commitment to tearing down the barriers to equality that face many Americans with disabilities.
- Job Access and Reverse Commute Program - $144 million is requested for Job Access and Reverse Commute projects that provide new and expanded transportation services to connect welfare recipients and low-income persons to employment and employment support services, such as training and child-care facilities. Job Access and Reverse Commute funds are provided by formula to states for projects relating to the development and maintenance of transportation services designed to transport welfare recipients and eligible low-income individuals.
- New Freedom Program - $81 million is requested to reduce transportation barriers to work for persons with disabilities by providing funding to States to implement innovative transportation solutions. This program will increase access and opportunities for Americans with disabilities and strengthen the communities in which they live and work.
- Planning Programs - $99 million is requested to support the activities of regional planning agencies and States, helping them plan for transit investments that best meet the needs of the urban and rural communities they serve. This includes funding for Metropolitan Planning and Statewide Planning.
- Clean Fuels Program - $45 million is requested to provide financing for the purchase or lease of clean fuel buses and facilities and for the improvement of existing facilities that accommodate these buses. This includes those buses powered by compressed natural gas, biodiesel fuels, alcohol-based fuels, fuel cells, hybrid-electric propulsion systems, certain clean diesel fuels (up to 2 percent of grants annually), and other low or zero emissions technologies.
- Alternative Transportation in Parks and Public Lands - $23 million is requested to enhance the protection of Americaís national parks and public lands and to increase the enjoyment of those visiting the parks through innovative transportation projects.
Capital Investment Grants
$1.5 billion is proposed in FY 2007 for the construction of new fixed and non-fixed guideway corridor systems and for extensions to existing systems. SAFETEA-LU expanded the New Starts program to make new non-fixed guideway transportation corridor projects eligible for funding and to encourage project sponsors to consider more cost-effective transit options that may not require a fixed guideway. In addition, a new ďSmall StartsĒ program will incorporate criteria to evaluate projects that require less than $75 million in federal funding and are under $$250 million in total cost. The FY 2007 request includes funding for 23 existing, pending, and anticipated Full Funding Grant Agreements, which are multi-year contractual agreements between FTA and grantees. Located in 15 States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and cities of all sizes, these projects include commuter rail, light rail, heavy rail, and bus rapid transit.
Research and University Research Centers
FTA requests $61 million for national and university research activities. This includes: $40.4 million for the National Research Programs to develop innovative solutions for improving public transportation; $9.3 million for the Transit Cooperative Research program; $4.3 million for the National Transit Institute training programs; and $7 million for the University Centers Program. Under the National Research Programs, FTA is proposing $1.2 million for its clean fuels and electric-drive bus deployment program to encourage increased deployment of new low or zero emissions technology, particularly hybrid-electric buses, by a greater number of the nationís transit agencies.
For FY 2007, $85 million is requested to fund the personnel and other support costs associated with the management and direction of FTA programs. FTA continues to focus on the Presidentís Management Agenda, long-term management of the Federal workforce, and fostering a citizen-centered, results-based government that is organized to be flexible and lean. FTA remains committed to continuing aggressive efforts to increase efficiency and productivity within available staffing resources and to improving the service offered to its customers. FTA has also been a leader in the Department by expanding its automated systems to provide direct access to our customers. The Transportation Electronic Award and Management System, for example, provides on-line access to grantees for grant awards and disbursements.