Sometime later this month, RTD will hear back on seven competitive Federal grant applications through the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) totaling $79,256,775.39. This money would be used on projects across the District from reconstructing a 3-block portion of the 16th Street Mall to purchasing advanced zero emission buses for use in Boulder to purchasing new transit buses to be used throughout the metro area. These grant applications were filed in three different Federal programs, the details of which are spelled out below.

Bus & Bus Facilities Program – State of Good Repair (SoGR) Emphasis

This funding pool focuses on funding repairs to and replacement of aging transit infrastructure elements with a bus component (bus vehicles, station, maintenance facilities, other support facilities). Rail network improvements/modifications are excluded. $650 million was available nationwide.

  •  16th Street Mall Reconstruction Project – $16,085,620.20 (Federal request of $12,868,496.64)

This project would reconstruct up to three and one half blocks of the 16th Street Mall in downtown Denver, focusing on those in the worst condition. The project would focus on Market to Larimer Streets, Larimer to Lawrence Streets, and Court Place to Broadway. The project entails a full reconstruction of the blocks in question including paver rehabilitation, sub-base reconstruction, intersection bulb-outs, wet and dry utility upgrades, and urban design improvements including fountain rehabilitation and wayfinding upgrades. RTD has applied for funds to help reconstruct the mall in several Federal funding programs, so a win here would be HUGE.

  • Deferred Maintenance Projects – $17,312,446.69 (Federal request of $13,849,981.11)

This project would complete eight essential maintenance projects that have been chronically deferred through the ongoing budget challenges at RTD. The projects include replacing the roof and bus wash at Platte, replacing Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) units at District Shops, and replacing air supply units at East Metro.

  •  Civic Center Station Rehabilitation Project – $5,852,858 (Federal request of 4,097,001)

This funding application would complete the remainder of the Civic Center Station Rehabilitation Project that was not funded through the 2011 iteration of the SoGR funding availability. The detailed included repairing the leaking roof and plaza space above the bus facility and various components throughout the interior of the station.

  •  Transit Bus Procurement Project – $28,875,000 (Federal request of $23,100,000)

This project would help RTD purchase up to 75 40′ transit buses to replace the most maintenance-intensive vehicles in the transit bus sub-fleet.

Bus & Bus Facilities Program – Livability Emphasis

This funding pool focuses on funding various “Livability-centric” projects across the nation. The USDOT has entered into a partnership with the US Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) known as the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. The partnership looks to “help communities nationwide improve access to affordable housing, increase transportation options, and lower transportation costs while protecting the environment.” More information on this partnership and the various livability principles can be found here. $125 million was available nationwide.

As with the SoGR emphasis, this funding pool is limited to transit infrastructure elements with a bus component and exclude rail network funding.

  •  16th Street Mall Reconstruction Project – $16,085,620.20 (Federal request of $12,868,496.64)

The same project as in the SoGR category, simply applied for a second time. This application covered the same blocks as well in the off chance that partial funding was awarded in either category.

  •  16th Street Mall Shuttle Replacement Project – $11,700,000 (Federal request of $9,360,000)

This project would replace up to 18 mall shuttle buses with new buses from DesignLine of Charlotte, North Carolina. Two new shuttles have already been purchased and are running on the Mall. The (up to) 18 new shuttles would replace the most troublesome and maintenance-intensive shuttles operating today.

Clean Fuels Program

The Clean Fuels program focuses on projects which would help lower greenhouse gas emissions and/or energy consumption in transit-related facilities (buses, maintenance facilities, support facilities, etc.). There was a total of $51.5 million available nationwide.

  • Advanced Zero Emission Technology Vehicle Demonstration – $3,685,000 (Federal request of $3,112,800)

This application would fund the purchase of three advanced fast charge, zero-emission, battery-electric buses to supplement Routes 208 and 209 in Boulder. RTD will track the reduced fuel use, lower emissions, maintenance requirements, and the acceptance of electric bus service by transit patrons and the residents/businesses along the 208 and 209 routes in Boulder.

The winning grants will be announced any day now. As soon as any word leaks as to potential projects coming our way, it’ll be reported here. Fingers crossed!!