FTA at Bus Conference: Partnerships Keep America on the Move
Buses make up the backbone of every public transportation system in America, transporting people to work, school, health care, and other destinations. They’re also the most widely used form of public transportation in the United States, with as many as 48,000 buses on the roads in any given rush hour. This week, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) held its annual Bus and Paratransit conference in Reno, Nevada, where more than 1,000 transit providers shared their knowledge and learned more about operations, maintenance, and transformative technologies. Matt Welbes, the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Executive Director, helped kick off the conference on Monday by providing remarks and showing an educational video, Keeping America on the Move, about transit bus services that are intended to help viewers understand how FTA uses federal tax dollars to support these vital services.
Public transportation is the original form of “ridesharing,” with motorized buses appearing on roadways starting in the 1890s. Buses still help people get where they need to go efficiently at low cost every day. While the majority of our nation’s bus systems serve riders in urban areas, many rural communities greatly depend on bus systems that receive support from FTA. The agency began investing in city bus systems in the 1960s, encouraging agencies to apply for funds to build and support bus fleets.
Today, FTA programs help fund transit buses and bus facilities in more than 3,000 agencies in cities, rural areas, and tribal lands across the country. That includes formula funding based on population and service levels, as well as competitive grants that last year provided a total of $211 million to 61 projects in 41 states. In April 2017, FTA announced the availability of $55 million in grants to help replace aging diesel buses with low- and no-emission vehicles, with an application deadline of June 26. At the same time, the agency is helping research Mobility on Demand, an approach that uses new technology to better integrate the wide variety of mobility options that now exist. All of these investments are generating significant economic development, with hundreds of bus manufacturing company and supplier facilities in operation all across the U.S. to support bus programs with everything from producing wheels to seat covers.
Now you, too, can watch the video to learn about a variety of bus projects and services supported by FTA.