Transit Authorities to Compete for $100 Million Federal Grants

US Dept. of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Ray LaHood recently announced plans to give more than 100 million USD to various transit authorities in order to promote the use of clean and renewable fuels in public transit … and he’s going to distribute it “gladiator style”.

No, no – he’s not going to make state transit authorities fight bloody battles to the death on the White House lawn in full military regalia and/or fuzzy loincloths (even if he is missing out on a massive pay-per-view audience), but he is asking decision-makers “on the ground” to compete for the funds, with grant recipients chosen based on their ability to maintain or reduce an area’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone and carbon monoxide with said funding (last year’s winning bids included replacing traditional diesel-engine buses with hybrid or ultra-low emission buses, and building compressed natural gas fuelling stations for local fleet vehicles).

Regular readers already know that I’ve been a big fan of Ray LaHood ever since he issued his “High-speed rail should be our generation’s legacy.” letter a few months ago – but now I have two reasons to like the guy, and it has nothing only little to do with the idea of local government officials shouting “We, who are about to die, salute you!” before tearing each other to shreds on the high school football field. Instead, my latest bout of Ray LaHood fanboy-ism stems from the name of the grant program: the Federal Transit Authority’s Transit Investment in Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction – or, TIGGER, for short.

Whatever your politics, ya gotta love a guy that names a hundred-million dollar competitive grant program Tigger!

Full DOT press release, below.

Secretary LaHood Announces $101.4 Million to Promote Innovative Clean-Fuel Technologies in Transit

Transit Providers Around the U.S. Can Compete For Funds By Proposing Environmentally Sustainable Transit Projects

WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced that transit providers will be able to compete for a share of $101.4 million in federal funding by proposing innovative projects that create ‘green’ jobs, promote the use of clean fuels and cut our nation’s dependence on oil.

“This money supports President Obama’s plan to improve the environment and secure America’s energy future,” said Secretary LaHood. “These investments will improve public transportation access for millions of Americans–all while reducing our dependence on oil, curbing air pollution, and easing pain at the gas pump.”

The money is being provided competitively through the Federal Transit Administration’s Fiscal Year 2011 Sustainability Initiative, which includes funding from two programs: $51.5 million from FTA’s Clean Fuels Grant Program and $49.9 million from FTA’s Transit Investment in Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) III Program.

“With high gasoline prices hitting families hard, investments in transit are more important than ever,” said FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff. “By giving Americans more transportation choices, we’re providing a win for their pocketbooks and for the environment.”

Clean Fuels grant recipients will be chosen through a competitive selection process based on their ability to help communities achieve or maintain the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone and carbon monoxide, while supporting emerging clean fuel and advanced propulsion technologies for transit buses.

TIGGER III grants, which will also use a competitive selection process, will be awarded based on a project’s ability to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions and provide a return on the investment.

Last year’s 63 winning projects involved an array of environmental innovations, such as installing energy-efficient technologies at transit facilities, replacing traditional diesel-powered buses with low- or zero-emission vehicles, and building compressed natural gas fueling stations. Last year’s winning proposals, chosen from among 274 applications from across the U.S. Click here.

In addition to announcing competitive funds available through the Sustainability Initiative, the FTA today also issued similar notices for two additional competitive programs: the $750 million State of Good Repair Initiative, which targets U.S. transit agencies’ maintenance and repair backlogs, and the $175 million Livability Expansion Initiative, which will fund investments that support the DOT-HUD-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities.

Source: US Dept. of Transportation, via Better Roads.  “Tigger” is copyright property of the Walt Disney Company.

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.