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California making $450M available in TIRCP Cycle 4 grants for rail and bus projects

The state of California will make available $450 million in grants to help fund rail and bus investments made by public agencies under the California Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP). Procurement of electric buses, charging systems, and associated electric bus infrastructure are eligible projects under this program, as well as leasing electric buses and/or batteries.

Eligible applicants must be public agencies, including joint powers agencies, that operate or have planning responsibility for existing or planned regularly scheduled intercity or commuter passenger rail service (and associated feeder bus service to intercity rail services), urban rail transit service, or bus or ferry transit service (including commuter bus services and vanpool services).

Public agencies include construction authorities, transportation authorities, and other similar public entities created by statute.

Projects eligible for funding under the program include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Rail capital projects, including intercity rail, commuter rail, light rail, and other fixed guideway projects. Additionally, the acquisition of rail cars and locomotives, and the facilities to support them, that expand, enhance, and/or improve existing rail systems and connectivity to existing and future transit systems, including the high‐speed rail system.

  2. Intercity, commuter, and urban rail projects that increase service levels, improve reliability, or decrease travel times, infrastructure access payments to host railroads in lieu of capital investments, efforts to improve existing rail service effectiveness with a focus on improved operating agreements, schedules, and minor capital investments that are expected to generate increased ridership, as well as larger scale projects designed to achieve significantly larger benefits.

  3. Rail, bus, and ferry integration implementation, including:

    1. integrated ticketing and scheduling systems and related capital investments (including integration with bus or ferry operators)

    2. projects enabling or enhancing shared‐use corridors (both multi‐operator passenger-only corridors as well as passenger‐freight corridors)

    3. related planning efforts focused on, but not limited to, delivery of integrated service not requiring major capital investment

    4. other service integration initiatives

  4. Bus rapid transit and other bus and ferry transit investments (including vanpool services operated as public transit and first-/last-mile solutions), and to increase ridership and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This includes large scale deployment of zero emission vehicles and the technologies to support them, and capital investments as a component implementing transit effectiveness studies that will contribute to restructured and enhanced service.

TIRCP was created by Senate Bill (SB) 862 in 2014 and modified by Senate Bill 9 in 2015 to provide grants from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) to fund transformative capital improvements that will modernize California’s intercity, commuter, and urban rail systems, and bus and ferry transit systems, to reduce significantly the emissions of greenhouse gases, vehicle miles traveled, and congestion.

There have been three prior cycles of TIRCP funding, in which the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) has awarded $5.3 billion in funding to 56 projects throughout the state. Cycle 3 (2018) awarded $4.3 billion of the total.

The 2020 TIRCP grant cycle will program projects starting with the 2020‐21 fiscal year and ending with the 2024‐25 fiscal year. The new program cycle (Cycle 4) will include previously awarded and active Cycle 3 projects that have not been fully allocated by the end of the 2019-20 fiscal year, and projects selected with the 2020 planning cycle.

Proposals for 2020 awards must be submitted by 16 January 2020.



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