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How-to Get Transit Grants, Tips for the Process

Article by: Kelsey Owens, Sales Associate

Transit technology is gaining momentum. As it continues to progress, transit agencies have a great opportunity to take advantage of grants to fund this new technology. Not only will grants provide funding to develop innovative products and services assisting transit agencies, but they will better meet the needs of customers. In December 2015, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) authorized the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. The act aims to enhance mobility and the safety of public transportation systems around the country, as well as streamline capital project construction and acquisition.

It’s time for agencies to start taking advantage of grants. As agencies aim to install new technology, such as mobile ticketing platforms, they will simultaneously improve safety, the speed of onboarding, and overall efficiency for riders. If applying for grants seems like a difficult process – it doesn’t have to be. Navigate the process seamlessly by following these steps:

 

  • Researching the right grant for your needs

Before you apply for a grant, it’s important to do your research. Be sure that the grant you’re applying for actually fits your needs and goals. Before you start the application process, ask yourself the following questions to be certain the grant fits all of your criteria:

  • Does the proposal tie into the overall plan?
  • How will technology be used?
  • How committed are you?
  • Who will benefit from this initiative?
  • Is the budget clearly defined?
  • Does the proposal tap into resources readily available by the community?
  • Does this proposal have the ability to be replicated by a larger community? Will it impact other communities?
  • How will the desired outcomes be developed?
  1. Fill out application

Now is the time to be as specific as possible. As you go through the entire application process, make sure your submission is as clear as possible. Being specific will help provide context for your needs and expectations. For example, while providing budget details, make sure the budget is clearly defined and make a case for why private funding is beneficial. This is extremely important– all math should be accurate. Additionally, thoroughly read and follow the instructions and submission guidelines. The instructions vary from agency to agency, so be certain that you are submitting all the necessary documents, forms, and program or project descriptions.

  1. Review application

After your proposal has been submitted, the funder will go through the review process. The process varies from funder to funder, since they all have their own timeline. During the review, funders might contact you for more clarification, documents, or might even want to meet with you to get more context on your organization and operations.

  1. Decision

Once the decision has been made, typically, you will receive a letter with the news. If the funder does not grant the entire fund, sometimes they will fund a portion. If they did not agree to the proposal, determine if there’s another way to accomplish your needs. However, if you are successful — be sure you receive the correct grant reporting forms from the funder.

As transit agencies continue to implement new technology, it’s important to gain funding in order to further enhance operations. Gaining transit funding has the ability to transform mobility for the better.