Ozark Regional Transit likely won’t seek share of federal money

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 605 views 

The U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) will make available $1.47 billion for U.S. bus fleets and facilities as a result of the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. However, Springdale-based transit provider Ozark Regional Transit Authority (ORT) doesn’t look to apply for a share because of a lack of matching funds.

This is the first FTA competitive grant opportunity under the federal infrastructure law that provides $5.5 billion over five years for FTA’s Low or No Emission Grant Program and nearly $2 billion over five years for its Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program. In fiscal 2022, the programs will make available $1.1 billion and $372 million, respectively, in grant funding.

“It is something that we can apply for; however, I don’t believe it is something we should apply for at this time,” ORT executive director Joel Gardner said. “For us to go after this money, we must have the local match. As in all other years, we do run a very tight ship financially. For us to make application for something under this timeline without having the local match would be irresponsible.”

May 31 is the deadline to apply for the fiscal 2022 funding. Depending on the program, a local match ranging from 10%-20% of the project cost will be required for the grant money.

The Low or No Emission Grant Program is to help transit agencies purchase or lease U.S.-built low or no emission vehicles that use advanced technologies, including related equipment or facilities, for transit revenue operations. The Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program is to help the agencies purchase and rehabilitate buses, vans and related equipment and build bus facilities.

“We’re making the largest ever investment in this program for buses and bus facilities, helping to deliver better commutes and cleaner air to American communities,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said.