Affordable Housing, Community Development, Federal News

Housing Policy and Transportation Policy Working Together


The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has made it more appealing for transit funding applicants to  work with housing agencies to preserve and expand the availability of affordable homes near planned transit stations. The FTA has recently announced changes to its New Starts/Small Starts Program (aka the Major Capital investment Projects program), a federal program that provides grants for new public transit lines and extensions of existing transit lines.

The changes include guidance listing the inclusion of affordable housing as criteria for funding.  The additional criteria are as follows:

  • FTA will assess the amount of existing affordable housing within the applicants’ proposed transit corridors.
  • FTA will assess applicants’ plans to develop and preserve affordable housing within the transit corridor moving forward.
  • Certain expenditures that enhance a project but are not directly related to its functioning won’t count against the project’s cost-effectiveness calculation, thus removing a barrier to adding these elements to the project. These expenditures may include costs related to enhancing pedestrian/bicycle access to transit stations, costs of improving energy and environmental performance of transit facilities, and costs related to eligible joint development projects (which can include affordable housing and community facilities).
  • FTA will assess ridership estimates on the proposed transit project, with trips made by “transit-dependent persons” receive extra weighting to encourage projects that increase access for lower-income people.

Click here to read more about the program. 


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