On December 1, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the availability of funding through the new Interagency Partnership on Sustainable Communities of the Department of Transportation, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Environmental Protection Agency. The funding will be used to create a Federal Transit Administration bus livability grant program and an urban circulator livability program.
Applications for the new grants programs are due by February 8, 2010, and DOT anticipates making formal grant announcements by the end of March. Complete details on eligibility and application requirements are available at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/E9-29245.htm (urban circulator) orhttp://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/E9-29242.htm(bus livability).
Funding for the new program comes from unallocated discretionary funds for the New Starts/Small Starts Bus and Bus Facility programs. DOT is using $280 million in previously unobligated funds for the program. Approximately $130 million will be available for the circulator program largely aimed at funding streetcar, circulator, and other local transit and mobility projects. Grants will be limited to a maximum of $25 million per project. According to the agency, eligible projects will promote walkable, mixed-use development. $150 million will be available for projects that focus on linking buses and bus facilities and improving job access or neighborhood redevelopment. Key evaluation criteria include the promotion of livability and sustainability, and addressing the six livability principles previously outlined by the interagency partnership.