The White House on Wednesday announced the Federal Transit Administration will distribute $20 billion this year in public transit funding nationwide from the bipartisan federal infrastructure bill, with over $84 million headed to Allegheny County.
The sum “represents the largest transit funding in American history,” said Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg as he announced the funding Wednesday.
A first round of funding was announced in early February for the beginning third of the fiscal year when $30 million was reserved for Allegheny County’s Port Authority. Wednesday’s announcement of total funding for each Pennsylvania region this year brought that figure for the Port Authority up by more than $54 million to $84,862,420.
In a written statement, Port Authority CEO Katharine Kelleman thanked President Joe Biden, Mr. Buttigieg and Sen. Bob Casey for supporting the funding and prioritizing public transportation as a critical service.
“Port Authority is committed to working with our regional partners to identify programs, projects, and other initiatives where these investments will best service our riders,” Ms. Kelleman said.
In an email, Port Authority spokesperson Adam Brandolph declined to say what projects would be prioritized for investment.
In a release, Mr. Casey said the funding will be used to ’upgrade vehicles, improve facilities and make public transportation more accessible for seniors and people with disabilities.”
According to a statement from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Pennsylvania will receive a total of $617,500,008 in public transit funding from the funds. Smaller transit agencies are also in line for funding.
“For much too long, our country has been underinvesting in transit systems,” Mr. Buttigieg said in his Wednesday announcement. “From big cities to small towns, we’ve seen the urgent need for major, smart transit investments to connect people with where they need to be.”
The benefits of funding public transit go beyond those who use buses and trains, Mr. Buttigieg said; it reduces congestion on major roadways, helps lower pollution and will create jobs by spurring American manufacturing.
“From buying new buses and rail cars to closing repair backlogs to adding new service, these funds will allow thousands of transit agencies in every state in our nation to make the transit experience better for our communities,” said Mitch Landrieu, the White House’s senior adviser and infrastructure coordinator.