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Funding available for microtransit in disadvantaged communities

The DOE's C-SITE grant offers funding for zero-emission shared mobility specifically in disadvantaged communities.

Rachel DiSalvo •
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Transportation is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, and the personal automobiles most Americans use for transportation make up a large portion of those emissions. As such, sustainability policymaking has prioritized replacing carbon-emitting personal vehicles with clean, electric alternatives through mechanisms like tax credits.

However, this focus may further disadvantage lower-income communities that have low rates of car ownership and rely heavily  on public transportation. One analysis found that 90% of EV tax credits between 2006 and 2016 went to the top 10% of earners. 

Recognizing the unequal distribution of burdens and benefits in our transportation ecosystem, Congress and the Biden Administration have sought to devote more resources to disadvantaged communities with the Department of Energy's (DOE) C-SITE grant program. Many kinds of projects are eligible, including microtransit services — proven to enhance mobility in disadvantaged communities with low-income and low vehicle ownership — with zero-emission fleets. 

Learn more

The DOE's Communities Sparking Investment in Transformative Energy (C-SITE) grant, offered through the Local Government Energy Program, provides awards of between $900k and $3.6M for projects which aid disadvantaged communities by delivering clean energy benefits, sparking economic development, and strengthening community capacity. The program has a local match of only 5%.

Eligible applicants for this program include local and tribal governments which represent certain communities, namely jurisdictions with under 250,000 people and Congressionally-defined disadvantaged and energy communities. Disadvantaged and energy communities are defined in the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), but interested applicants should also consult the SCEP Eligibility Map.

The program will fund a wide variety of projects, the FOA specifically lists “electric vehicle ride-sharing program[s] aimed at serving low-income residents to increase mobility and access to economic opportunities” as an example of an eligible project. All projects must include a community engagement component, and DOE will prioritize projects which demonstrate strong community support and engagement with community organizations. Applications for C-SITE are due May 31, 2024.

Via’s mission is to harness the power of technological innovation to improve transit for all. We believe this is a unique opportunity to be creative and groundbreaking in the next phase of your region’s transportation system. We’d love to partner with you on zero-emission microtransit for your community! Please reach out to to discuss with our team.

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Rachel DiSalvo avatar
Rachel DiSalvo

Rachel DiSalvo is a Grants and Funding Principal at Via, specializing in helping Via's public sector partners identify and apply for transit funding opportunities.