The funds were awarded through TDOT's Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program, which although administered by TDOT, is funded through the federal government.
Here's how the money will be used:
* Public infrastructure improvements at Central Station, including a new trolley station, a transit connector concourse, and other pedestrian and bike-friendly streetscape improvements.
* A new bus route called the Wolfchase Connector that connect employers in the Appling Farms area and educational institutions such as Southwest Tennessee Community College with Shelby Farms and retailers in the Wolfchase Mall area
* A new express bus service connecting downtown with the American Way Transit Center, Greyhound intercity buses, and major employers near the airport.
* A new route called the Getwell Connector connecting multi-family residences and major employers in southeast Memphis.
* A new route called the Airport Shuttle Express that will provide direct express service between the Airways Transit Center, American Way Transit Center, and Memphis International Airport.
The CMAQ funds will cover 80 percent of the cost of these planned projects, while the other 20 percent (about $1.9 million) will be matched by the city of Memphis.
“These funds are a significant opportunity for us to get people in the inner city to jobs out east and around the airport area,” Mayor A C Wharton said. “It’s a good step in the right direction towards lowering the cost of living for the poor and providing access to greater opportunities for employment. I am pleased that MATA is doing what it can to expand services where they can have a major impact.”
The Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) plans to use five grants totaling $4.7 million from the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) to expand bus service to employment centers and to improve customer experiences.