MTA to compete for share of $775 million
The Maryland Transit Administration plans to put in a bid for a share of a $775 million grant program announced today by the U.S. Department of Transportation for bus systems around the country.
Henry Kay, the MTA's deputy administrator for planning, said the MTA will compete aggressively for a grant under the Federal Transit Administration program. He said the program can be used to finance either bus acquisition, improvements in bus maintenance facilities or transit planning.
Kay said that while no decision has been made about the nature of the MTA's grant request, the agency is likely to seek money to improve its facilities for maintaining the growing number of hybrid diesel-electric buses in its fleet.
Kay said that when a transit agency competes for such grants, it's important to scale the request to the overall level of the program. Thus, a $100 million project such as the replacement of the Kirk Division -- a big item on the MTA's long-term wish list -- would probably be too much to propose.
"We have to look at what we have ready to go and what we can move quickly on," Kay said.
The MTA official predicted that competition for funds will be more intense than for rail projects because "everybody has buses."
"Everybody and his brother is going to be applying for this money," Kay said.
The FTA said it will judge transit agencies' proposals based on how well they address the issue of keeping their systems in good repair. The deadline for applications is June 18, and awards are expected to be announced in late summer.