The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) recently announced the award of approximately $11 million to 20 projects in 12 states to support comprehensive planning efforts to improve access to public transportation. Funding through FTA’s Pilot Program for Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Planning grants will help organizations plan for transportation projects that connect communities and improve access to transit and affordable housing.

“Transit-oriented development offers easier, more affordable access to jobs, health care, school, shopping, and other daily needs,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “We’re pleased to award this funding to help more communities develop around transit in a way that reduces pollution, increases economic opportunity, and contributes to affordable housing.”

FTA’s Pilot Program for TOD Planning supports local planning and strategies to increase transit access and encourage ridership through mixed-use and mixed-income development near public transportation projects. This year’s selected projects support President Biden’s call to combat climate change, advance environmental justice, and promote equitable delivery of benefits to underserved communities.

“Equitable transit-oriented development helps those at the local level respond to climate change and affordable housing challenges, particularly in underserved communities,” said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez. “Our goal is to create access for all Americans who ride transit by encouraging mixed-use, mixed income development around new transit projects. I hope that communities will join with FTA to accelerate transit-oriented development by addressing zoning and planning changes that will increase mixed income and affordable housing around transit hubs and stations.”

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) will receive close to $1 million in funding under FTA’s 2021 Planning for Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Program. The funding will be allocated for 12 stations along 17.2 miles of the Clayton County bus rapid transit line.

“The more easily Georgians can get from place to place, the more they thrive, and the more our communities and economy thrive,” said Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock, a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. 

The Clayton County Bus Rapid Transit project aims to provide high-capacity transit service connecting the College Park MARTA Station to several key destinations in Clayton County, including Airport Gateway, the Shops of Riverdale, Southern Regional Medical Center’s campus, the Mount Zion commercial corridor, and the Southlake Mall. The project aligns with major priorities to improve mobility, accessibility and connectivity to the Atlanta region, providing greater access to jobs and services while reducing traffic congestion.

In June, Senator Warnock advocated support of MARTA’s application for funding through the FTA’s Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Pilot Planning Grant program, and urged the Department to support the Clayton County BRT study.

“These critical infrastructure funds will help ensure the Clayton County BRT project opens new doors of opportunity for all residents in and around Clayton County, and I’m going to keep fighting for more strong federal investments that help move Georgians and Georgia into a brighter future.”

In May, Senator Jon Ossoff highlighted the importance of investing in the expansion of MARTA service to keep up with population growth in Metro Atlanta while working with Secretary Buttigieg to develop a comprehensive plan to strengthen and expand service options, including using bus rapid transit and rail expansion.

“Clayton County deserves the best, and I will keep working with Senator Reverend Warnock to build out transit options for Clayton County that help families get to work, get to school, get groceries, and get to the doctor’s office safely, conveniently, and affordably,” Senator Ossoff said.