With Potential BRT Grant Funding Uncertain, Port Authority CEO Heads To Washington - Pittsburgh'
A federal grant program expected to be a critical funding source for Pittsburgh’s proposed Bus Rapid Transit, or BRT, could disappear.
Local leaders hoped to fund half of the BRT’s estimated $200 million price tag through the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grant program, with a Small Starts grant. President Donald Trump’s proposed 2019 budget would phase out this program. Whether or not funding for the program continues is in Congress’ hands.
Without federal funding, it will take much longer to build the system, said Port Authority CEO Katharine Kelleman.
“Federal funding could stand to leverage up to $100 million for this project ... it lessens the local funding requirement and it helps us move faster,” she said. However, she added that the project will move forward with or without federal money.
Kelleman is in Washington, D.C. this week to meet with members of Congress on the subject as part of the American Public Transportation Association’s legislative conference. Kelleman said she will meet Tuesday with U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) and other southwestern Pennsylvania representatives.
Congressman Shuster chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
“It’s important for us to talk with specifically Representative Shuster in his role as committee chairman,” she said. “So he understands just how important these projects are and we make the best case possible to bring these dollars home.”
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