The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Operation Lifesaver have given extensive grants for transit expansion and safety improvements respectively to transit systems around the U.S.
Three systems – Valley Metro in Phoenix, LA Metro in Los Angeles, and Sound Transit in Seattle – will receive $100 million each from the FTA to support planned rail and light rail extensions. In Phoenix, a new light rail line is planned connecting the South Central region with downtown, which city government officials are hoping will help provide needed transit access to neighborhoods south of the city. In Los Angeles, the Purple Line light rail extension from Century City to Westwood is set to be completed by the opening of the 2028 Summer Olympics being held there. Seattle’s Sound Transit, a current TRA client, will use its funds to create the Federal Way Link extension of its light rail to Tacoma and other population and travel centers in King County. Ideally this will reduce traffic along the highly-congested I-5 corridor, and subsequently commute times as well.
Meanwhile, Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI) has partnered with the FTA since 2002 to give grants aimed at transit systems to innovatively target grade crossing accidents, improve safety around grade crossings, and increase awareness of the dangers of trespassing on railroad tracks. In 2019 so far, OLI has given $175,000 to ten transit systems to implement awareness and safety interventions, including several agencies TRA works with on behalf of state safety oversight clients:
- SEPTA in Pennsylvania will fund further efforts in its rail suicide prevention campaign.
- Hampton Roads Transit in Virginia will create sidewalk clings, rail vehicle wraps, and other visual indicators to highlight grade crossing safety along its 7.4-mile light rail corridor.
- SunRail in Florida will create an interactive mobile safety studio, with a photo booth and special safety-related props to spread safety messages and highlight grade crossing safety risks.
- Metro Transit in Minneapolis will incorporate billboards, vehicle ads, posters, social media and radio ads into its outreach campaign, aimed at reducing light rail transit collisions with cars and pedestrians.
To learn more about the FTA’s extension grants, check out the article here.
To learn more about the OLI’s rail safety grants, check out their website here.