Who's Getting Formula Money?

FTA releases preliminary information about how much transit systems will benefit from the stimulus bill

The Federal Transit Administration has released its preliminary calculations of how much each of the nation’s transit systems will receive from the overall stimulus bill, based on already established formulas used to fund public transportation systems. The table at the end of this post shows all systems receiving fixed guideway improvement money ($742.5 million, not including administrative costs), and lists all capital assistance funds to urban areas ($5.97 billion) receiving more than $10 million. I have not included information on non-urban transit assistance.

This information simply represents the FTA’s calculations based on existing formulas, so there’s nothing “surprising” about the information in the table below.

Here’s a briefer on the two types of formula allocations:

Fixed Guideway Infrastructure Investment: Funds are distributed according to a seven-tier system, only the first four of which will be used for the distribution of stimulus funds.

  • Tier 1 – $497.7 million; goes to 11 metro areas based on amounts established in the 1997 Transportation Bill. (Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, New Orleans, New York, NE New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and SW Connecticut.)
  • Tier 2 – $70 million; 50% goes to Tier 1 areas, 50% goes to other areas with fixed guideways in operation for at least 7 years, appropriated based on the fixed guideway formula used for transit capital assistance (described below)
  • Tier 3 – $5.7 million; 61.76% goes to Pittsburgh, 10.73% goes to Cleveland, 5.79% goes to New Orleans; 21.72% goes to the other areas mentioned in Tier 2
  • Tier 4 – $186.6 million; goes to all areas based on fixed guideway formula used for transit capital assistance (described below)
  • Tier 5 (not applicable to the stimulus bill) – $70 million.
  • Tier 6 (not applicable to the stimulus bill) – $50 million.
  • Tier 7 (not applicable to the stimulus bill) – Remaining.

Transit Capital Assistance – Urbanized Areas: Funds for urban areas of above 200,000 in population (representing 90.68% of total funds) are divided up in terms of fixed guideways (generally rail) and bus service. These funds go directly to metropolitan planning organizations in each federally-designated urban area, which then sets its own priorities for funding.

  • 33.29% to fixed guideways:
    • 95.61% based on 60% revenue vehicle miles and 40% route miles; with at least .75% of this going to each urban area with rail and population of 750,000 or greater
    • 4.39% based on passenger miles x passenger miles / operating cost (“incentive” portion); with at least .75% of this going to each urban area with rail and population of 750,000 or greater
  • 66.71% to bus service:
    • 66.6% for urban areas with 1,000,000 or more people; based on 50% bus revenue miles, 25% population, 25% population x population density
    • 24.2% for urban areas with less than 1,000,000 people; based on 50% bus revenue miles, 25% population, 25% population x population density
    • 9.2% based on passenger miles x passenger miles / operating cost (“incentive” portion)

The other 9.32% of funds for transit capital assistance go to urban areas with populations of 50,000 to 199,999, based on 50% population and 50% population x population density. These funds go to governors.

FTA Formula Grants Allocations (in millions of US$)
Metro Area Fixed Guideway Capital Assistance
Albany $14.7
Albuquerque $11.4
Allentown $10.5
Anchorage $31.8
Atlanta $7.4 (MARTA) $87.7
Atlantic City $14.4
Austin $26.1
Baltimore $2.8 (LRT) + $12.5 (MARC) $78.7
Boston $51.5 (MBTA) $199.8
Bridgeport/Stamford $31.5 (MNR) $35.3
Buffalo $0.4 (Metro) $24.4
Charlotte $20.8
Chattanooga $.03
Chicago $101.9 (CTA) $327.6
Cincinnati $25.1
Cleveland $11.2 (RTA) $39.8
Columbus $16.2
Concord (CA) $28.2
Dallas $0.3 (DART) $87.9
Dayton $1.6 $20.7
Denver $0.8 (RTD) $66.6
Detroit $0.1 (People Mover) $57.8
El Paso $15.1
Fresno $12.1
Grand Rapids $10.6
Hartford $0.5 (CT DOT) $29.3
Honolulu $0.03 $37.7
Houston $2.3 (Metro) $90.9
Jacksonville $0.04 (Elevated Tram) $19.4
Indianapolis $16.1
Kansas City $20.4
Las Vegas $33.7
Los Angeles $10 (MTA) $388.5
Louisville $17.7
Madison $0.2 (Streetcar)
Memphis $17.8
Miami $5.3 (Metro) $139.7
Milwaukee $28.5
Minneapolis $1.9 (Metro) $67.2
Mission Viejo $13.4
Morgantown $0.3 (WVU)
New Haven $26.3
New Orleans $2.4 (RTA) $24.7
New York $254.4 (MTA) + $64.7 (NJT/PATH) $1,181.7
Oklahoma City $10.0
Orlando $26.4
Oxnard $10.2
Philadelphia/S New Jersey $73.4 (SEPTA/PATCO) $188.5
Phoenix $0.6 (Metro) $64.4
Pittsburgh $18.5 (PA) $49.3
Portland $1.1 (Tri-Met) $49.8
Poughkeepsie $23.4
Providence $0.9 (MBTA) $46.7
Richmond $13.8
Riverside $36.4
Rochester $15.8
Sacramento $0.9 (RT) $30.1
St. Louis $1.3 (Metro) $45.8
Salt Lake $31.5
San Antonio $31.2
San Diego $2.9 (MTS) $80.8
San Francisco $48.3 (Muni/BART) $173.7
San Jose $4.1 (VTA) $55.2
San Juan $0.7 (Tren Urbano) $44.5
Seattle $6.7 (Sound Transit) $124.7
Spokane $10.6
Springfield (MA) $17.9
Stockton $10.0
Syracuse $10.3
Tampa $0.03 (Streetcar) $33.4
Trenton $0.6 (NJT/SEPTA) $15.5
Tucson $16.0
Virginia Beach $0.4 $25.4
Washington $17.7 (Metro) $214.6
Worcester $12.4
Total $742.5 $5,967.9*

* While I have included all appropriations to fixed guideway programs in the table above, I have only included the appropriations for transit capital assistance to urban areas receiving more than $10 million from the program. As a result, the total $5.97 billion going to urban areas includes many smaller areas not listed here, receiving less than $10 million.

3 Comments | Leave a Reply »
  • Kyle

    I wonder what the MPO in Boston will be using the money for. I’m guessing some might go to South Coast Rail or the Silver Line phase III. The Urban Ring planning process is way too long (something ridiculous like five years), so that isn’t even remotely shovel ready. Or, hopefully they could use it for improvements to the Red Line.

    RI might be using this for the Warwick, RI rail extension to T.F. Green Airport. Springfield, MA, maybe for fixing Union Station. I’m not sure what Worcester would used the money for.

    That’s just the take on funding for my area.

  • Marty

    I don’t understand why some of the other big cities are not on the Tier 1 list. For example why does Pittsburgh get more funding ($18M) in fixed guideway assistance than Los Angeles ($10M)?

  • Nate Neuman

    A priority for this new age of transportation policy in America must be focusing fixed guideway (rail) transit in mid-sized cities. For most of the past generation, transit funding formulas were too focused on major metropolitan areas with little regard to region’s whose population are in the middle-tier.

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