The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has selected VIA Metropolitan Transit as a recipient of technical assistance through the Thriving Communities Program. This special designation will better position VIA and the community to attract more federal funding, adding fuel to the pursuit of making San Antonio a better place to live and work.

The federal program is designed to assist under-resourced communities to better access federal funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) for transportation projects that will create jobs, improve safety, and strengthen local economies.

The program “provides two years of no-cost intensive technical assistance” that will help ensure VIA has the best-possible opportunity to win federal support for a proposed Advanced Rapid Transit corridor connecting the East and West sides, to be called the “Silver Line,” which was recognized by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) this year as a new project.

VIA is in the early stages of developing an east-west corridor that would run through downtown. There is currently a $100 million funding gap that will need to be closed in order for the project to proceed.

The USDOT grant will assist VIA in robust public engagement, ensuring that the community participates in the development of the proposed corridor.

VIA’s application for the Thriving Communities Program notes the historical redlining, racial discrimination and inequities, which still persist today, in the East and West Side communities that would be linked by the project. VIA sought the technical assistance program to ensure that the project and the City of San Antonio’s $17 million bond investment in affordable housing for the East and West sides are equitable and provide meaningful community engagement.

VIA partnered with the City of San Antonio, Bexar County and Local Initiatives Support Corporation-San Antonio (LISC) in the team effort to secure the USDOT grant. The successful partnership underscores the symbiotic relationship between strong transit and housing resources. In this program, VIA will join more than a dozen communities in the Complete Transit Oriented Neighborhoods Cohort.

The technical assistance offered under the Thriving Communities Program, which will be provided by WSP USA, is slated to begin this spring and continue through 2025.

More information can be found on the USDOT’s website, where you can read about the Thriving Communities program.