RIPTA Gets $900,000 Federal Grant to Develop & Advance Transit Solutions for ‘Band of Demand’ Corridor from Central Falls to Warwick
New federal grant will help RIPTA study and plan public transit options along High-Capacity Transit Corridor from Central Falls to Warwick &
new infusion of federal dollars through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act could help RI turn big ideas on transit into reality
PROVIDENCE, RI – In an effort to improve mass transit in Rhode Island, plan for the future, and support the development of the Metro Providence High-Capacity Transit Corridor, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline secured a new $900,000 federal grant to help the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) develop plans for a transit corridor to connect Central Falls to Warwick via Providence.
This High-Capacity Transit Corridor initiative was one of five goals put forward by RIPTA in their Transit Master Plan, called Transit Forward RI 2040, which establishes a 20-year vision for transit investments and enhancements. This new planning grant could enable RIPTA to complete the preliminary work needed to enter the transit “New Starts” or Capital Investment Grant (CIG) pipeline for a bus rapid transit (BRT) or light rail project.
Today, members of the Congressional delegation joined RIPTA CEO Scott Avedisian to discuss the new study and the potential impact the newly enacted Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act could have in terms of helping RIPTA turn big ideas on transit into reality.
The $900,000 planning grant is made available through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability & Equity (RAISE) grant program. RAISE grants support transportation planning and capital projects that will have a significant local or regional impact, particularly in underserved communities.
“This new federal grant is about increasing opportunity, connecting communities, and preparing for the future. It will help RIPTA advance a major part of the Rhode Island Transit Master Plan by developing alternatives to meaningfully improve service to along its most transit-heavy corridors, which includes several historically disadvantaged communities. Once complete, the study will position Rhode Island to take advantage of the many funding opportunities that are available under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed into law by President Biden last week. I am committed to delivering federal resources that will help steer us toward a more equitable future with more convenient and efficient public transportation options. This is a wise investment in RIPTA’s future development and connecting the state to drive greater economic opportunity,” said Senator Reed, who serves on the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, which authorizes federal funds for mass-transit. He is also on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD), which appropriates federal funding for mass transit.
“This study will create a roadmap for a high-capacity transit corridor connecting some of the densest and historically underserved parts of the state,” said Senator Whitehouse. “With additional funding on the way from the newly passed infrastructure package and other recent federal awards, RIPTA is poised to become a much more convenient option for Rhode Islanders and a bigger contributor to the local economy.”
“These federal funds are going to make it easier, greener, and more efficient to travel across our state, so that even those who don’t have a driver’s license or a vehicle can still get to work,” said Congressman Jim Langevin. “Building a convenient, efficient public transportation route from Central Falls to Providence and Warwick will create more economic opportunities not only for families in Central Falls, but for all Rhode Islanders. I’m proud of our work to deliver the necessary federal funding to begin planning for this new corridor.”
“This type of project is exactly what the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability & Equity (RAISE) grant program should be used for, and I was proud to advocate with my colleagues directly to the Department of Transportation on behalf of RIPTA's application,” said Congressman Cicilline. “RIPTA’s forward-thinking project has enormous potential to unlock economic development opportunities and connect people to more good-paying jobs and housing options.”
“I am extremely pleased that RIPTA has been selected to receive $900,000 in RAISE Grant money,” said RIPTA Director Scott Avedisian. “These funds are essential to the execution of the Authority’s long-term vision and the success of our Transit Master Plan. This funding is also pivotal to ensuring that Rhode Island is able to meet the goals defined in the Transit Forward RI vision by 2040. As always, we thank our Congressional delegation for their steadfast commitment to working with RIPTA and understanding the value of safe, consistent, and timely mass transit for all riders across the state.”
Senator Reed successfully led a bipartisan effort to add $1 billion to the RAISE/BUILD Grant program through the 2021 Omnibus Appropriations Bills and COVID-19 Relief Package. And a provision championed by Reed to provide an additional $7.5 billion for the RAISE Grant program was included in the bipartisan infrastructure bill that was recently signed into law.
Since 2010, Rhode Island has been awarded over $178 million in competitive RAISE/TIGER/BUILD grants, including a $25 million grant for construction of westbound portion of the Washington Bridge, which began this fall.
With this latest grant, RIPTA has now been awarded over $40 million in federal competitive grants since 2018 for capital investments, such as purchasing electric buses, rehabbing its maintenance facilities, and building new bus hubs.
The Corridor has been prioritized as a Regionally Significant Project in the State’s recently adopted 20-year Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP).