September 24, 2015

FTA Announces Support for Transit Oriented Development Planning Efforts

Last week, the Federal Transit Authority (FTA) awarded nearly $20 million to communities through its Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Planning Grant Pilot Program. A number of grantees will use the funds to proactively support equitable TOD (eTOD). Buffalo, Provo, UT, and the Twin Cities will be studying housing-related issues. Atlanta, Durham, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Phoenix, and Sacramento will use the funds to support planning and policy efforts affordable housing near transit. Tacoma, WA will undertake planning efforts to expand job access and job training for economically disadvantaged households.

All grantees are applicants for FTA’s Capital Investment Grant (CIG) funding, which is the primary federal grant program for major transit investments. In 2013, FTA adopted CIG guidance that included new evaluation criteria that took a more holistic view of a transit investment’s impacts. The new rating system evaluates efforts to preserve and expand access to affordable housing near transit. The system also considers the extent to which the new transit service will expand mobility for low-income families, increasing access to jobs, healthcare and other opportunities.The TOD Pilot Planning Grant Program provides resources to a diverse group of 21 CIG applicants to undertake a range of activities, including (but not limited to): strategic, comprehensive and station area planning; market and economic studies; design guideline development; environmental analysis; revisions to parking, land-use, zoning and regulatory codes;  and the creation of joint development strategies.

The TOD Planning Pilot Program was created under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) legislation.

These efforts are part of a growing recognition of the importance of eTOD. Earlier this year, Enterprise released Promoting Opportunity through Equitable TOD: Making the Case, a review of literature that highlights the importance of eTOD to families, as well as the broader community, region and economy. In addition, next month Enterprise will release another report on barriers to eTOD and best practices for overcoming these challenges.