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FTA Distributes $1 Billion to Local Transit Agencies

Transit providers in Detroit, Miami, Seattle and Bloomington, Indiana were a few of the many winners in the latest round of Federal Transit Administration capital grants.

US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was in Detroit Monday to announce almost $1 billion in transit grants to local agencies across the country. Photo: ##http://fastlane.dot.gov/2011/10/fta-multi-program-grants.html## USDOT##

On Monday, FTA awarded almost $1 billion to local transit agencies to purchase buses, construct shelters and plan for the future [PDF].

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the grants in Detroit Monday alongside Mayor Dave Bing and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.

Transit agencies throughout the state of Michigan were awarded $46 million, including $2 million for Detroit to study expanding its planned Woodward Avenue light rail line into the suburbs past Eight Mile Road.

The city of Detroit's Department of Transportation was also awarded $6 million to purchase new buses. Meanwhile, Detroit's suburban bus system, SMART, received $5 million to update its fleet.

“This is a significant investment in Michigan's future,” said Snyder. “A modern transportation system is key to a stronger economy and enhanced quality of life in our state."

Elsewhere around the country, Sound Transit in Seattle will receive $5.4 million to buy hybrid buses, and the South Florida Regional Transit Agency will receive $4.5 million to replace its shuttle buses with vehicles that run on alternative fuel. These vehicles link public transportation centers with the airport, hospitals and universities in the Miami-Dade area, according to Environmental News Service.

In one of the smaller grants, Bloomington, Indiana received almost $30,000 to purchase lockers for cyclists at a new downtown transfer station.

Announcing the grants on his blog, LaHood used the occasion to press for the passage of President Obama's American Jobs Act. The need is great, he said, noting that while a total of 300 local agencies received grants in this round of funding, more than 500 additional applicants were turned away.

"Our bus lines, railways and roadways require maintenance and improvements to keep America moving safely and efficiently," LaHood said. "The American Jobs Act will hire American workers to upgrade 150,000 miles of road, replace 4,000 miles of track, and restore 150 miles of runways to reduce travel time and delays and improve safety nationwide."

"At the same time, thousands of unemployed Americans are ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work, but Congress continues to play a partisan game at their expense. The time is now. The opportunity is now. Let's pass this bill and put Americans to work."

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