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Greater Cleveland RTA receives federal grant to address transit access barriers in high-poverty areas

The Federal Transit Authority announced grants totaling about $16.2 million to improve transit access across 32 states and two territories, including in Cleveland.

CLEVELAND — The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority is set to receive a federal grant to improve access to transit services in low-income areas.

The GCRTA has been awarded $585,000 by the Federal Transit Administration to be used in partnership with local nonprofit organizations and public agencies to “address barriers to transit access facing people living in areas of persistent poverty,” the White House announced today.

“The study will allow GCRTA to improve not only transit access but economic mobility and quality of life for more than 200,000 people.”

A second phase of the project will consider different methods of improving access to transit, such as reduced fare costs and schedule changes. Also considered in phase two will be micro-transit, a program recently piloted in cities like Indianapolis that allows customers to schedule rides ahead of time and zoning changes.

As part of the Biden-Harris administration’s Justice40 initiative to address racial inequities and climate change, the FTA, an agency under the U.S. Department of Transportation, awarded a total of approximately $16.2 million across 32 states and two territories.

“For millions of people in communities big and small, transit is a lifeline,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Every American should have a way to affordably get to work or school, buy fresh food, access medical care, and visit their loved ones – and these transit grants will help make that a reality in 45 underserved communities across the country.”

The funds were awarded to GCRTA as part of the FTA’s Areas of Persistent Poverty program. The grants are awarded on a “competitive basis” to nonprofit organizations and transit agencies as well as state and local governments to address the needs of residents with limited or no access to reliable transportation.

“Transit can be the great equalizer, but if you live in a transit desert, where options are few and far away, you don’t have access to that power,” said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez, who spoke at an event in Mississippi. “FTA’s Areas of Persistent Poverty Program removes barriers to opportunity by increasing access to jobs, school, and services for some of our residents who need it the most.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: The video above previously aired on 3News on May 10, 2021


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