U. S. Department of Transportation Announces $14.4 Million to Improve Transit Facilities, Access to Jobs in Eastern Pennsylvania

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Funds part of nationwide grants to help rebuild, renovate America’s transit infrastructure

Contact: Paul Griffo
(202) 366-4064

[Audio of Excerpted Remarks] [Transcript of Excerpted Remarks]
Delivered by Peter Rogoff, FTA

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – The Lehigh Valley, in eastern Pennsylvania, received $14.4 million from the Federal Transit Administration to improve transit facilities in Allentown and Easton. The money will help put more than 100 people to work building modern, efficient transit facilities which will help meet the needs of a growing number of transit riders in eastern Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley. If passed by Congress, President Obama’s American Jobs Act could make more projects like this possible throughout the country.

“Investing in America’s transit systems, rails, roads, ports, and airports is the perfect way to generate tens of thousands of construction-related jobs and put more money into the pockets of working Americans,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “But we must do more. Congress needs to pass the American Jobs Act so we can continue to invest in critically needed projects like these, to repair and rebuild our nation’s transportation infrastructure.”

Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff was on hand to announce the money, which was made available through the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) fiscal year 2011 Bus Livability and State of Good Repair Programs. The money will help replace the Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority’s nearly 60-year-old bus maintenance garage in Allentown with a new energy-efficient facility that can readily accommodate a fleet of modern hybrid buses and other vehicles.

The money will also help the City of Easton and its private partner construct a new Intermodal Transportation Center in downtown Easton that will offer area residents more convenient access to local bus lines as well as bus lines connecting Philadelphia, northern New Jersey, and New York. Prior to today’s announcement, the project received $3.3 million in federal funding. Both facilities are expected to be completed in 2013.

“Residents of Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton will have better access to jobs, medical appointments and other services with improved transportation choices as a result of these funds,” said FTA Administrator Rogoff. “We’re also helping to create jobs at a time when they are needed most.”

The grants are included among more than 300 competitive discretionary grants totaling nearly $930 million announced nationwide yesterday by Secretary LaHood and Administrator Rogoff to rebuild and renovate America’s transit infrastructure and plan for the future. FTA is providing $67.2 million for 11 projects in Pennsylvania. A complete list of successful project proposals can be found at http://fta.dot.gov/grants/13094.html.

FTA reviewed 839 project applications representing $4.9 billion in funding requests from transit providers across the country for the fiscal year 2011 competitive discretionary grant programs. Passing the American Jobs Act would help many more qualified projects to be funded—and create tens of thousands more jobs.