Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced that the state has been federally awarded $34 million in transit grants from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act). Federally designated to promote and enhance public transportation in rural areas, these grants will be distributed by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to 77 rural transit agencies representing California’s cities, counties and regions for 141 projects throughout the state.
“My Administration is working around the clock to pump President Obama’s federal stimulus funding into California quickly and responsibly to help drive our economy down the road to recovery,” said Schwarzenegger. “This funding also is an investment in the future of California’s rural transportation infrastructure — and will help provide safe, reliable and efficient public transportation options throughout our state.”
The federally designated purpose of these transit funds is to promote and enhance public transportation in rural areas through capital infrastructure investments and to stimulate local economies. The funds will enable rural transit agencies to construct bus station terminals, improve bus fare collection systems, and upgrade safety and surveillance security equipment and purchase over 125 new vehicles. Money also will be used to rehabilitate and renovate buses, shelters and maintenance facilities across the state.
Rural transit agencies submitted grant applications to Caltrans, which approved a final list of projects for submission to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for authorization.
California leads the nation having more than $2 billion in Recovery Act funding federally obligated to 675 highway and local street transportation projects statewide. Of these, 222 projects worth nearly $1.39 billion have already been awarded. California was the first state in the nation to obligate $1 billion of Recovery Act funding — doing so two months ahead of the federal June 30, 2009, deadline.
California has $2.6 billion available from the Recovery Act for highways and local streets and $1 billion available for transit projects. Competitive programs within the Recovery Act could provide approximately $300 million in additional funding. California also expects to be very competitive in securing a portion of $8 billion Recovery Act funding federally designated for high-speed and intercity passenger rail.