Filing Date:

Varies; contact the state agency in charge of administering the program.


State and local government agencies, including transit agencies.


A “fixed guideway” refers to any transit service that uses exclusive or controlled rights‐of‐way or rails, entirely or in part. The term includes heavy rail, commuter rail, light rail, monorail and bus rapid transit.

Eligible purposes include new and expanded rail, bus rapid transit and ferry systems that reflect local priorities to improve transportation options in key corridors. Project sponsors must undergo a multi-step (including environmental review, preliminary engineering/final design, etc), multi-year process to be eligible for this program. Project sponsors must submit “Before and After Studies” to the FTA.

There are four categories of eligible projects under the CIG programs:

  • New Starts projects are new fixed guideway projects or extensions to existing fixed guideway systems with a total estimated capital cost of $300 million or more, or that are seeking $100 million or more in Section 5309 CIG program funds. Joint public transportation and intercity passenger rail projects qualify as New Starts.
  • Small Starts projects are new fixed guideway projects, extensions to existing fixed guideway systems, or corridor-based bus rapid transit projects with a total estimated capital cost of less than $300 million and that are seeking less than $100 million in Section 5309 CIG program funds.
  • Core Capacity projects are substantial corridor-based capital investments in existing fixed guideway systems that increase capacity by not less than 10 percent in corridors that are at capacity today or will be in five years. Core capacity projects may not include elements designed to maintain a state of good repair. Joint public transportation and intercity passenger rail projects qualify as Core Capacity projects.
  • Programs of Interrelated Projects are comprised of any combination of two or more New Starts, Small Starts, or Core Capacity projects. The projects in the program must have logical connectivity to one another and all must begin construction within a reasonable timeframe.

Fixed-guideway grants might be especially helpful for intercity passenger rail stations that also serve a commuter rail line.

For example, Rail and Fixed Guideway Modernization Grants totaling $11.5 million were used by the Tri‐County Commuter Rail Authority (Tri‐Rail) of South Florida in the late 1990s and 2000s to significantly enhance the service reliability of commuter rail in the rail corridor owned by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). Tri‐Rail constructed a second mainline track, rehabilitated the signal system and provided station and parking improvements.

Phase II of the eleven phase double track corridor improvement project was completed in 1998 and included a 1.5 mile line extension terminating at Miami International Airport. The intermodal center will serve Tri-Rail, Metrorail and Amtrak, as well as local, regional and intercity bus services. For more information, see theTri-County Commuter Rail Project and the Miami Central Station Project.


Distribution follows the model of 80 percent federal, 20 percent local. Funds generally must be used within four years of the initial date of disbursement.


$2.3 billion for each FY between 2016 and 2020

Transit-Oriented Development Planning Pilot

MAP-21 introduced, and the FAST Act continues, a pilot program for Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) planning around new fixed guideway or core capacity projects (detailed above).

Recipients for the pilot TOD grants include state or local governmental authorities. Grants will be awarded to assist in financing comprehensive planning associated with an eligible project.

Eligible projects must:

  • Enhance economic development, ridership, and other goals established during the project development and engineering processes
  • Facilitate multimodal connectivity and accessibility
  • Increase access to transit hubs for pedestrian and bicycle traffic
  • Enable mixed-use development
  • Identify infrastructure needs associated with the eligible project
  • Include private sector participation

Applicants must identify:

  • Proposed project
  • Schedule and process for the development of a comprehensive plan
  • Description of how the eligible project and the proposed comprehensive plan advance the work of the Metropolitan Planning Organization
  • Proposed performance criteria for the development and implementation of the comprehensive plan

The applicant should also identify partners; availability of and authority for funding; and potential impediments to the implementation of the comprehensive plan.

For example, a project to increase core capacity might include double tracking, signaling improvements and the renovation of platforms at an existing station. Grants from this pilot program could be used to plan for the redevelopment of vacant or underused parcels immediately adjacent to the station. New mixed-use properties might attract residents interested in having multiple transportation modes and commercial activities in one convenient location.

This pilot program is funded at $10 million for each FY between 2016 and 2020.

Additional Information: