WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced that the Department of Transportation (DOT) has awarded a $15 million grant to the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) through the Better Utilizing Investment to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation Discretionary Grants program. The funds will go toward the GCRTA’s Rail Car Replacement Program. Brown wrote to the Department of Transportation in support of this project.
“Cleveland-area riders rely on GCRTA’s rail cars to take them to work, school, or appointments and then to take them back home again, and the age of the current rail fleet threatens the ability of GCRTA to reliably provide its essential services,” said Brown. “Replacing GCRTA’s aging fleet with modern vehicles is essential to the quality of life, equity and future economic and cultural growth of the Cleveland region.”
BUILD grant funding will improve the safety and reliability of the GCRTA heavy rail system, enabling GCRTA to continue connecting riders to work and educational opportunities as well as medical and social service facilities. GCRTA provides transportation to roughly 150,000-200,000 customers each day to the Greater Cleveland region.
The $15 million BUILD grant announced today supports GCRTA’s plans to purchase 34 new heavy rail vehicles to serve the Red Line and make associated infrastructure upgrades to the agency’s rail maintenance facility, equipment, and stations to accommodate the new vehicles. GCRTA’s existing heavy rail vehicles have reached the end of their useful life due to corrosion issues and obsolete parts from excessive age, resulting in maintenance costs that are double that of a newer fleet. Brown – who serves as the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, which oversees DOT’s Federal Transit Administration – has championed GCRTA’s Rail Car Replacement Program, and he intends to continue working to secure additional funding for GCRTA’s rail car replacement efforts.
BUILD Transportation grants replace the pre-existing Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program. BUILD grants are investments in surface transportation infrastructure and are to be awarded on a competitive basis for projects that will have a significant local or regional impact. BUILD funding can support roads, bridges, transit, rail, ports or intermodal transportation. In 2019, Brown helped secure $1 billion for the BUILD grant program in a spending package.