Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) Assistant Research Scientist Jonathan Brooks was part of the team that helped secure a $10 million U.S. Department of Transportation grant for the city of Brownsville, Texas, the largest grant to date for the city.
The city will use the unique transit improvement grant to help pay for the rehabilitation of Brownsville Metro’s operations and maintenance facility, the purchase of eight new hybrid buses and extensive renovation of dozens of the city’s bus stops. The funding will also widen the 2.4-mile-long Queen Isabella Causeway by several feet, resulting in a 14-foot wide bi-directional, barrier-protected pedestrian/bicycle lane.
“The City of Brownsville was aware of my grant writing experience with other projects, and they felt like they needed someone with transit expertise to help put all this together,” Brooks says. “The challenge of this grant-writing job was to show how transit plays such a vital role in transportation in South Texas, how bicycles are key to the area’s economy, and the cost-benefit analysis of the Connecting Communities project components.”
Brownsville was among 585 applicants for the 2016 Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program. Only 40 were approved, sharing a total of $500 million.
“The TIGER grant program is extremely competitive, so we were fortunate to have Jon on our team,” says Marina Zolezzi, Brownsville’s director of grant management and community development. “Jon was instrumental in guiding us through this process.”