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Biden Administration Infrastructure Plan's Funding for Mass Transit

Published: November 18, 2021

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Mass Transit will receive $39 billion in funding as a result of the infrastructure plan.

On Monday, November 15th, President Biden signed into law H.R. 3684 (titled Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act), enacting the long-delayed “bipartisan infrastructure bill.”

Receiving a large portion of investment from the infrastructure plan, $39 billion, is the mass transit sector. The nation has an expensive repair and replacement backlog for hundred to thousands of buses, rail cars, stations, tracks, signals, and power systems. Part of the repair and replacements will also be in an effort to modernize transit and improve accessibility for elderly and disabled individuals. The plan also aims for funding to bring mass transit into the modern era and make it more accessible to all people and more rural communities.

One entity that will receive $10.5 billion, or a quarter of the total funding for mass transit, is the New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). The MTA has said that while this amount is crucial to improving their infrastructure, it will still not be enough to complete their $51 billion MTA capital plan projects. This is a frequent issue for many transit agencies, while they desperately need the funding for repairs, in most cases it is not enough to complete all the work that needs to be done.

Funding won't be used just for repairing infrastructure for transit, for example, Ohio is will receive $1.3 billion for various transit agencies with the intent to use the funds to move to zero-emission vehicles and buses.

Repair and replacement of mass transit infrastructure are likely where most of the funds will be invested. However, some areas of the country may use the funds to invest in mass transit expansion. Some entities have already begun to actively plan where they could spend the funds.

While some transit agencies will receive a larger chunk of the funds than others, there are still ideas within congress for a separate bill to provide even more transit funding for similar initiatives outlined in Biden's infrastructure plan, but in an effort to help mitigate the climate crisis. The outcome of this separate bill will wait to be seen as it is currently a debated idea in congress.

Mass transit will not receive the largest amount of funding from the infrastructure bill, but it is a crucial industry that will have a lot of eyes on it to see where and how the money gets utilized across the country. Mass transit use by the public has been declining and the COVID-19 pandemic has not helped the situation, government leaders are hoping the investments, and projects, that could be made from this funding may encourage the public to use mass transit more.

Article updated November 18, 2021. Originally published on September 10, 2021.