Capital Metro wins $2 million in federal grant funds! Still searching for more…

Good news! Last Monday, the Federal Transit Administration announced that Capital Metro’s was one of 152 applications selected to receive funds under their State of Good Repair competitive grant program. While you still have to submit a strong project to win any competitive funds, it helps to have the support of our Austin-area congressional delegation.

For the award, we’ll be receiving $2 million, which should allow us to purchase five buses. Over the next few years, Capital Metro will have to replace about half of the 400-plus buses in our bus fleet. Clearly this will cost a ton of money so every little bit helps.

With that philosophy in mind, Capital Metro tries to pursue as many possible grant opportunities as we can. Right now, we actually have a number of other federal grant applications in the hopper. These include applications for

  • The DOT’s TIGER II program, where we’ve proposed a package of passenger and freight rail projects that include double-tracking and rail replacement.
  • A DOT-HUD program, where we’ve jointly applied with other local entities such as CAMPO, the City of Austin and Envision Central Texas to, for example, develop tools and demonstration projects that will help achieve region-wide sustainability outcomes.
  • The FTA’s TIGGER (II) program, which is also a joint endeavor with the City of Austin to upgrade lower-efficiency lighting at various Capital Metro locations and install a solar PV system at two locations, including one at which PV panels would be used to shade parked buses reducing the idling time needed to cool the buses.
  • The FTA’s Alternatives Analysis program, where we’ve proposed a study to evaluate transit alternatives in the MoPac-IH-35 corridor from Georgetown to downtown Austin and upgrade CAMPO’s transportation model.
  • The FRA’s Rail Line Relocation Program, which we’re currently developing a proposal for since the application is due at the end of this month.

We expect the feds to announce awards for a lot of these programs over the next few weeks so keep your fingers crossed! And we’ll keep you posted.

5 thoughts on “Capital Metro wins $2 million in federal grant funds! Still searching for more…

  1. Don Dickson

    I’d already asked about this somewhere on the blog but I don’t think anyone replied and now I can’t find my original inquiry.

    With this $2 million grant, are we now going to be buying 27 buses instead of 22 originally budgeted? Was any consideration given to sticking with 22 new buses, and reallocating $2 million that had been budgeted to buy buses to the cash reserve kitty, or to other useful purposes?

    My personal and purely anecdotal observation of the condition of the fleet is that it’s in pretty good shape. It’s been an awfully long time since I boarded a bus that didn’t have AC in good working order, or that had to be taken OOS in mid-route for mechanical failure. That’s undoubtedly a credit to your mechanics, who surely don’t get as much love as your drivers.

  2. Erica

    Hi, Don. We were talking about this over on facebook. I think that is where you had asked about the 22 vs. 27 buses.

    And yes, we had budgeted to replace 22 buses next year, and with the grant we’ll now be able to buy 27.

    I’m not sure to what degree our finance and fleet maintenance team considered reallocating $2M to the reserve or somewhere else and sticking with the 22 buses.

    I think last year and maybe even the year before, we had deferred buying the full amount of new buses we needed in order to keep all of our fleet younger than 12 years old. And, consider that Tina mentioned that over the next few years more than half of our fleet will need replacing.

    So I think it’s fair to say that we definitely need more than just 22 buses this coming year, even if our vehicle maintenance coworkers are the best ever at their jobs (which they are!)

  3. Pingback: More federal grant funds for Central Texas! « Capital MetroBlog

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