Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Grant Programs

While the MPO is responsible for approving the selection of all transportation projects funded with federal assistance, regardless of the grant program, the agency does have direct selection authority for a handful of programs. The following is a list of funding programs for which the MPO selects projects.

LARGE URBAN (SECTION 5307)

This program (49 U.S.C. 5307) makes Federal resources available to urbanized areas and to Governors for transit capital and operating assistance in urbanized areas and for transportation related planning. An urbanized area is an incorporated area with a population of 50,000 or more that is designated as such by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census. Eligible purposes include planning, engineering design and evaluation of transit projects and other technical transportation-related studies; capital investments in bus and bus-related activities such as replacement of buses, overhaul of buses, rebuilding of buses, crime prevention and security equipment and construction of maintenance and passenger facilities; and capital investments in new and existing fixed guideway systems including rolling stock, overhaul and rebuilding of vehicles, track, signals, communications, and computer hardware and software. All preventive maintenance and some Americans with Disabilities Act complementary paratransit service costs are considered capital costs.

Eligible Recipients: Funding is made available to designated recipients that must be public bodies with the legal authority to receive and dispense Federal funds. Governors, responsible local officials and publicly owned operators of transit services are to designate a recipient to apply for, receive, and dispense funds for transportation management areas pursuant to 49USCA5307(a)(2). Generally, a transportation management area is an urbanized area with a population of 200,000 or over. The Governor or Governor's designee is the designated recipient for urbanized areas between 50,000 and 200,000.

Eligible Purposes: Planning, engineering design and evaluation of transit projects and other technical transportation-related studies; capital investments in bus and bus-related activities such as replacement of buses, overhaul of buses, rebuilding of buses, crime prevention and security equipment and construction of maintenance and passenger facilities; and capital investments in new and existing fixed guideway systems including rolling stock, overhaul and rebuilding of vehicles, track, signals, communications, and computer hardware and software. All preventive maintenance and some Americans With Disabilities Act complementary paratransit service are considered capital costs.

RURAL AND SMALL URBAN AREAS (SECTION 5311)

This program (49 U.S.C. 5311) provides formula funding to states for the purpose of supporting public transportation in areas of less than 50,000 populations. Eighty percent of the statutory formula is based on the nonurbanized population of the States. Twenty percent of the formula is based on land area. No State may receive more than 5 percent of the amount apportioned for land area. In addition, FTA adds amounts apportioned based on nonurbanized population according to the growing States formula factors of 49 U.S.C. 5340 to the amounts apportioned to the States under the Section 5311 program.

Funds may be used for capital, operating, and administrative assistance to state agencies, local public bodies, Indian tribes, and nonprofit organizations, and operators of public transportation services. The state must use 15 percent of its annual apportionment to support intercity bus service, unless the Governor certifies, after consultation with affected intercity bus providers that these needs of the state are adequately met. Projects to meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Clean Air Act, or bicycle access projects, may be funded at 90 percent Federal match. The maximum FTA share for operating assistance is 50 percent of the net operating costs.

BUS AND BUS FACILITIES (SECTION 5309)

The Buses and Bus Related Equipment and Facilities program provides capital assistance for new and replacement buses, related equipment, and facilities.

Eligible capital projects include the purchasing of buses for fleet and service expansion, bus maintenance and administrative facilities, transfer facilities, bus malls, transportation centers, intermodal terminals, park-and-ride stations, acquisition of replacement vehicles, bus rebuilds, bus preventive maintenance, passenger amenities such as passenger shelters and bus stop signs, accessory and miscellaneous equipment such as mobile radio units, supervisory vehicles, fare boxes, computers and shop and garage equipment.

Eligible recipients for capital investment funds are public bodies and agencies (transit authorities and other state and local public bodies and agencies thereof) including states, municipalities, other political subdivisions of states; public agencies and instrumentalities of one or more states; and certain public corporations, boards and commissions established under state law. Funds are allocated on a discretionary basis.

Private companies engaged in public transportation and private non-profit organizations are eligible sub recipients of FTA grants. Private operators may now receive FTA funds as a pass through without competition if they are included in a program of projects submitted by the designated public authority acting as the direct recipient of a grant.

Section 5318 is the Bus Testing Facility program. Under this program, one facility is used for testing a new bus model for maintainability, reliability, safety, performance (including braking performance), structural integrity, fuel economy, emissions, and noise. The program is administered under the Section 5309 Bus and Bus Related Facilities program.

TRANSPORTATION FOR THE ELDERLY AND DISABLED (SECTION 5310)

This program (49 U.S.C. 5310) provides formula funding to States for the purpose of assisting private nonprofit groups in meeting the transportation needs of the elderly and persons with disabilities when the transportation service provided is unavailable, insufficient, or inappropriate to meeting these needs. Funds are apportioned based on each State's share of population for these groups of people.

Funds are obligated based on the annual program of projects included in a statewide grant application. The State agency ensures that local applicants and project activities are eligible and in compliance with Federal requirements, that private not-for-profit transportation providers have an opportunity to participate as feasible, and that the program provides for as much coordination of Federally assisted transportation services, assisted by other Federal sources. Once FTA approves the application, funds are available for state administration of its program and for allocation to individual subrecipients within the state.

Eligible Recipients: Grants to urbanized areas and states for transit-related purposes

Eligible Activities: 49USC5307

JOB ACCESS AND REVERSE COMMUTE PROGRAM (SECTION 5316)

The Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) program was established to address the unique transportation challenges faced by welfare recipients and low-income persons seeking to obtain and maintain employment. Many new entry-level jobs are located in suburban areas, and low-income individuals have difficulty accessing these jobs from their inner city, urban, or rural neighborhoods. In addition, many entry level-jobs require working late at night or on weekends when conventional transit services are either reduced or non-existent. Finally, many employment related-trips are complex and involve multiple destinations including reaching childcare facilities or other services.

Eligible recipients: States are direct recipients. Eligible subrecipients are private non-profit organizations, governmental authorities where no non-profit organizations are available to provide service and governmental authorities approve to coordinate services.

Eligible Activities: Capital expenses that support transportation to meet the special needs of older adults and persons with disabilities.

NEW FREEDOM PROGRAM (SECTION 5317)

The New Freedom formula grant program aims to provide additional tools to overcome existing barriers facing Americans with disabilities seeking integration into the work force and full participation in society. Lack of adequate transportation is a primary barrier to work for individuals with disabilities. The 2000 Census showed that only 60 percent of people between the ages of 16 and 64 with disabilities are employed. The New Freedom formula grant program seeks to reduce barriers to transportation services and expand the transportation mobility options available to people with disabilities beyond the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990.

Eligible Recipients: States and public bodies are eligible designated recipient. Eligible subrecipients are private non-profit organizations, State or local governments, and operators of public transportation services including private operators of public transportation services.

Eligible Activities: Capital and operating expenses for new public transportation services and new public transportation alternatives beyond those required by the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), that are designed to assist individuals with disabilities.

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