Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Grants

MTC distributes Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grants that pay for projects to maintain and modernize the Bay Area’s transit network.

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Noah Berger

MTC distributes money for Bay Area transportation projects from many different sources, including the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). FTA grants help operate, maintain and modernize the region’s transit systems.

Projects Funded

FTA money primarily supports two kinds of work through MTC — state of good repair projects and projects that expand or modernize transit systems.

FTA State of Good Repair Grants: Transit Capital Priorities

These FTA programs support the upkeep of capital investments:

FTA 5307: Urbanized Areas

This program distributes funds to regions based on an urbanized area formula. FTA identifies 12 urbanized areas in our region: five large and seven small.

In large urbanized areas (San Francisco-Oakland, San Jose, Concord, Antioch and Santa Rosa), formula funds generally can be used only for capital investment.

In small urbanized areas (Fairfield, Gilroy-Morgan Hill, Livermore, Napa, Petaluma, Vacaville and Vallejo), these funds can be used for capital investment and for transit operations.

Funds from the Federal Highway Administration’s Transit Capital Rehabilitation program supplement this grant.

FTA 5337: Transit Maintenance

This program provides grants to keep transit systems in a state of good repair.

These funds may be used only for equipment replacement or rehabilitation, or other capital projects needed to keep transit systems in good repair.

They are limited to projects for transit systems such as rail, passenger ferry or bus rapid transit, and for buses that operate in high-occupancy vehicle lanes.

Funds from the Federal Highway Administration’s Transit Capital Rehabilitation program supplement this grant.

FTA 5339: Buses

This FTA program provides grants to replace, rehabilitate and purchase buses and related equipment, or to build bus-related facilities.

Funds from the Federal Highway Administration’s Transit Capital Rehabilitation program supplement this grant.

FTA Transit Expansion Grants: Next Generation Transit

These FTA programs help MTC modernize the region’s transit network:

FTA 5303: Short-Range Transit Investments

The FTA distributes Section 5303 Metropolitan Planning Program funds to regions based on both population and an agency formula. More than 20 Bay Area transit agencies request Section 5303 funds to help finance development of their Short Range Transit Plans.

FTA 5307: Rehab & Modernization

The FTA Section 5307 Urbanized Area Formula Funding program can be used to finance up to 80% of project costs for a wide range of transit investments, including:

  • Operating assistance
  • Construction of maintenance and passenger facilities
  • Vehicle replacement and rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation of tracks, signals, communications and computer systems
  • Planning, engineering design and project evaluation
  • Crime prevention and security equipment

Funding through Section 5307 is based on formulas established by Congress that incorporate population, transit ridership revenue-service mileage and other factors.

Section 5307 funds can be used to cover up to 90% of costs for bicycle-related projects and investments to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Clean Air Act.

FTA 5309: MTC-Endorsed Projects

FTA Section 5309 Capital Investment Grants are earmarked by Congress. These include:

  • New Starts grants of $75 million or more
  • Small Starts grants up to $75 million
  • Core Capacity grants to expand capacity on existing transit systems

Get the facts, the details, and info on eligible projects when you visit the FTA website.

FTA 5310: Mobility of Seniors & People with Disabilities

Section 5310 Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities funds are distributed to states to provide grants for nonprofit agencies that provide transportation services to the elderly or people with disabilities.

Learn more about programs supported by FTA 5310 funding.

FTA 5311: Rural Area Grants

The FTA’s Section 5311 Formula Grants for Rural Areas program provides funds for both transit capital projects and transit operations in non-urbanized areas.

There are eligible communities in every Bay Area county except San Francisco.

To determine if your area is eligible for FTA 5311, download this map of large and small urbanized areas.

MTC Endorsement

Sometimes, MTC endorses funding projects for which we don’t otherwise play a coordinating role. Here are some examples:

New Starts

Two major Bay Area transit projects are advancing with New Starts funding from the FTA’s Section 5309 Capital Investment Grants program:

  • San Francisco Muni Central Subway
  • BART Silicon Valley Extension — Warm Springs to Berryessa (East San Jose)

Small Starts

Bay Area bus rapid transit projects are getting a boost with Small Starts grants from the FTA, including:

  • AC Transit Bus Rapid Transit — Oakland to San Leandro
  • San Francisco Muni Van Ness Avenue Bus Rapid Transit