The Federal Transit Administration has parceled out to regional and local transit agencies $4.7 billion in fiscal year 2022 funding, much of it for capital spending, including construction projects.

The FTA action, announced on Feb. 3, represents the first release of funds for transit under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). But it only covers part of the IIJA's transit total. Much of the rest is on hold, awaiting congressional action on full-year fiscal 2022 appropriations for FTA and other federal agencies.

For one thing, the aid only carries through Feb. 18, the end date for a current stopgap federal appropriations measure. It looks like FTA and other agencies will have to wait a bit longer for a full 2022 spending bill. On Feb 7, House Appropriations Committee Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) introduced another stopgap bill, or continuing resolution. This new one would extend through March 11.

Nevertheless, transit agencies welcome the FTA action.

Ward McCarragher, American Public Transportation Association vice president for government affairs and advocacy, said in an interview, "These partial-year apportionments provide some certainty to transit agencies that they now have these funds immediately available, and they can begin putting them to work."

He adds that for transit agencies, "This is their first opportunity to begin putting these funds onto projects—design, engineering, construction—kind of getting things rolling for the summer construction season."

Among the apportionments are funds for FTA'a State of Good Repair and bus and bus facility accounts. McCarragher says most of the dollars in those programs are for capital expenditures.

The State of Good Repair partial-year 2022 apportionments for fixed-guideway work totals $1.9 billion. The largest share, $531.5 million, goes to the New York City area, Chicago ranks second, with $191.6 million.  Northeastern New Jersey is third, with $122.2 million, followed by Washington, D.C., with $121 million, Boston, with $107.6 million and Philadelphia, with $107.2 million

There is another appropriations-related hangup.

The current continuing resolution bars agencies, including FTA, from using funds designated for new programs. That includes some IIJA-created programs, notably the All Stations Accessibility Program, which provides funds for projects to make stations accessible to those with disabilities.

The IIJA provides $1.75 billion over five years for that program, including $350 million in 2022, the infrastructure act's initial year. But those funds are tied up, pending appropriations action.