Grassroots organizing, and the broader work of local coalitions can make the difference when communities seek to protect and expand public transportation service. APTA provides grants to help the fight for public transportation.


Any local public transportation coalition is eligible, provided it has the support of the local APTA transit system member(s) and makes a pledge to become a member in good standing of the National Alliance of Public Transportation Advocates (NAPTA) before receiving a grant. Membership in NAPTA is free. For this grant program, a coalition is defined as a collection of groups and/or individuals joined together for the common purpose of promoting transit. An APTA transit system member may apply for the funds on behalf of a coalition or a coalition may apply directly for the funds. Grant applications will be solicited from June 17th – August 2, 2019.

Important Dates

Deadlines and grant requirement dates are as follows:

  • Application Deadline: Friday, August 2nd, 2019.
  • Award Announcement: August 30, 2019.
  • Interim Report Due: Friday, January 10, 2020.
  • Funds Fully Spent and Final Report Due: Friday, June 19, 2020.

Grant Funding Amounts

Grant amounts awarded to coalitions average $10,000. However, projects with a focused advocacy component may be considered for additional funding. Matching funds are not currently required as a condition of grant approval.

Priority Considerations

  • Prioritize quick, innovative interventions to improve ridership, such as building political support for transit priority projects (ex. bus lanes and signal priority).
  • Political facilitation of quick-build projects that address ridership concerns.
  • Promote efforts to activate college students politically and engage them as potential riders.
  • Communities targeted by anti-transit critics and front groups.
  • Congressional districts with a Partisan Voting Index of five or less or has an established Member of Congress supporter.

Portions of Application

  • Viability of campaign team and plan—team competency, plan mechanisms and path to victory
    • Who must you move to place pressure on a decision-maker or influencer?
    • What phase in the process are you (research exploratory or execution)?
    • Fundraising plan
  • Letter from transit agency
  • Campaign methods that will be deployed, such as:
    • community organizers
    • phone banking
    • digital
    • mail advertising
    • polling
    • seed money for fundraising
  • Metrics to assess project efficacy

Program Evaluation

Grantees will be required to submit measurable outputs (number of touches such as phone calls, doors knocked, literature dropped, etc) as part of a final report showing methods and outcomes. Grantees will be expected to participate in periodic NAPTA conference calls to share progress of project with APTA. APTA funds are meant to be complementary not primary, unless used as seed money for a larger effort to raise funds.

Full Suite of Services Available

APTA has additional services that winning applicants may access, including support from the Center for Transportation Excellence—which can provide talking points, campaign assistance, messaging guidance, and campaign infrastructure counsel.

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