Washington, D.C. — In the Federal Register on September 4, 2014, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced the availability of nearly $20 million in competitive funds for comprehensive planning associated with a new fixed guideway or core capacity improvement project that will seek funding under FTA’s Capital Investment Grants Program. The new Pilot Program for Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Planning is authorized under MAP-21.
Awards of up to $2 million will be made in each corridor selected. The program supports comprehensive planning that complements major transit projects by examining ways to improve economic development and ridership, enhance multimodal access to transit stations and enable mixed-use development in station areas, among other components.
The Pilot Program for TOD Planning helps support FTA’s mission of improving public transportation for America’s communities by providing funding to local communities to integrate land use and transportation planning with a transit capital investment that will seek funding through the CIG Program. MAP-21 establishes that any comprehensive planning funded through the program must examine ways to improve economic development and ridership, foster multimodal connectivity and accessibility, improve transit access for pedestrian and bicycle traffic, engage the private sector, identify infrastructure needs, and enable mixed-use development near transit stations. The statute also requires that the planning work be associated with a new fixed guideway or core capacity transit project as defined under the CIG Program.
Through this program, FTA intends to fund planning work that would likely not occur without Federal support and includes strategies to address the gentrification and displacement that can sometimes occur when transit capital projects are implemented. FTA is seeking comprehensive planning projects covering an entire transit capital project corridor, rather than proposals that involve planning for individual station areas or only a small section of the corridor.
FTA is also prioritizing applications in corridors with significant challenges related to TOD planning, low levels of existing development, or where the cost of the planning work to overcome the challenges exceeds what might be readily available locally. To ensure that planning work results in concrete, specific deliverables and outcomes, FTA is requiring that transit project sponsors partner with entities with land use planning authority in the transit project corridor.
Any comprehensive planning work proposed for funding under this program must be associated with a transit capital project that meets the definition of a New Starts, Core Capacity or fixed-guideway Small Starts project under the CIG Program (e.g., Section 5309(a) of title 49, United States Code), and is either:
· In the Project Development or Engineering phase of the CIG Program process by the date the application to the Pilot Program for TOD Planning is submitted; or
· Expected to enter the Project Development phase in the near future, as evidenced by the transit project sponsor having already initiated the environmental review activities under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) prior to the publication date of this NOFA.
Eligible proposers and eventual grant recipients under this program must be existing direct recipients of FTA grants as of the publication date of the NOFA. A proposer must either be the project sponsor of an eligible transit capital project as defined above or an entity with land use planning authority in an eligible transit capital project corridor. Evidence of a partnership between these two types of entity will be required unless the applicant has both responsibilities. Refer to the NOFA for further information.
Only one application per transit capital project corridor may be submitted to FTA. Multiple applications submitted for a single transit capital project corridor indicate to FTA that partnerships are not in place and FTA will reject all of the applications.
Proposals must be submitted electronically through the Grants.gov website by midnight Eastern Time on Nov. 3, 2014. Full details of the announcement and instructions for applying are available at www.fta.dot.gov/TODPilot.