The U.S. Department of Transportation on Thursday announced the availability of $175 million in what it calls "livability grants" intended to help urban, suburban and rural communities develop transit options to better connect their residents.
Local transit agencies are eligible for the funds; the program will begin accepting applications this week.
The underlying reason for the grants is to ensure that transportation and housing decisions are made jointly by communities. The federal agency is offering these financial incentives because it believes coordination makes the best use of limited resources.
Simply, the DOT doesn't want to see its money go to waste. As such, it is doing its own part by working with the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Environmental Protection Agency -- the venture is called the "Partnership for Sustainable Communities" -- to coordinate investments for smart growth.
As for these specific grants, buses are largely the name of the game: up to 88 percent of the funds will come from the Bus and Bus Facilities Program, which provides money to replace buses and build related facilities.