Transit funding for Salem Area Mass Transit District

Overview

In late 2010, the Salem Area Mass Transit District (SAMTD) realized it had a funding gap to build the Keizer Transit Facility. Faced with few financing options, SAMTD needed a plan. CFM answered the call by developing a comprehensive strategy, which led to a $2.8 million Federal Transit Administration grant, the largest grant SAMTD had received in recent memory.

Challenge

With Congress suspending the time-honored use of earmarks to fund special projects, federal transportation administrators would use discretionary grant programs to distribute all transit funds. Because of the shift in policy, competition for these funds increased. In addition, smaller entities such as SAMTD, would find it more difficult to secure grants because the playing field was skewed toward larger applicants.

Approach

CFM organized meetings between SAMTD and key Federal Transit Administration (FTA) officials, allowing our team to fully understand the criteria and objectives of four grant opportunities. CFM also scheduled meetings with the congressional delegation, coordinated tours at the site and created partnerships with regional and national organizations such as the Clean Cities program. When grant notifications rolled out, SAMTD had already put together pieces of its application and had stakeholder support lined up. CFM also contributed by drafting much of the grant language in concert with SAMTD staff.

Result

In less than a year, CFM’s innovative and comprehensive strategy paid off with a $2.8 million grant. This project will be a model for other transit providers in Oregon. The transit facility will be a state-of-the-art, LEED certified building with solar panels, geothermal heating and cooling and EV charging stations. Slated for construction in 2012, the project will have a positive impact on riders and the livability of the community, as well as boost the local economy.