1. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Where can I find information on the SAFETEA-LU funding made available since it's expiry in 2009? Is the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation responsible for approving transport spending levels?
Answer:
The Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2010 (included in the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act, Pub. L. 111-147, http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-111publ147/html/PLAW-111publ147.htm) amends 49 USC 5338(b) and sets forth the amounts authorized or provided for in fiscal year (FY) 2010 and for the period from October 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010 as follows: Formula and Bus Grants: - $8,360,565,000 for Fiscal Year 2010; and - $2,090,141,250 for the period beginning October 1, 2010, and ending December 31, 2010. Capital Investment Grants: - $2,000,000,000 for FY2010; and - $500,000,000 for the period of October 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010. Research and University Research Centers: - $69,750,000 for FY2010; and - $17,437,500 for the period of October 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010. Administration: - $98,911,000 for FY2010; and - $24,727,750 for the period of October 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010. Information on funds made available through September 30, 2010 can be found via FTA's Apportionment Notice for Fiscal Year 2010, available through this link: http://www.fta.dot.gov/funding/apportionments/grants_financing_11165.html. Additional supplemental information and errata for FY2010 can be viewed via the main apportionment notice page, http://www.fta.dot.gov/funding/grants_financing_38.html. Funds for the period beginning October 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010 are not yet available. In terms of Congressional committees responsible for approving authorized spending levels, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Senate Banking Committee authorize transit spending levels over the life of an authorization bill such as SAFETEA-LU. The House and Senate Appropriations Committees, in contrast, allocate funds on an annual basis.
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2. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Has the definition of "fixed guideway" changed for the purposes of Section 5307 and 5309 fixed guideway modernization apportionment?
Answer:
The definition of "fixed guideway,” per se, has not changed. However SAFETEA-LU stipulates in Section 5336(b) that fixed guideway route-miles includes 60 percent of the directional route-miles of the Alaska Railroad system used for passenger service, beginning in FY 2006. This will permit the inclusion of fixed guideway mileage for the Alaska Railroad system in Section 5307 and 5309 apportionment calculations.
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3. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
How is the Rural Transportation Assistance program funded?
Answer:
SAFETEA-LU funds the Rural Transportation Assistance program with a two percent set-aside of the Section 5311 appropriation, rather than from the National Planning and Research program, as was previously the case. Up to 15 percent of the set-aside may be used by the Secretary to carry out projects of a national scope.
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4. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
What is the best way for grantees to provide contact information to FTA to receive communications about programs, news, and events?
Answer:
It is important that TEAM has accurate contact information for grantees. FTA uses the contact names, addresses, and phone numbers stored in TEAM to create mailings about programs, policies, guidance, news and events. If you would prefer to receive email correspondence in 2006, be sure to provide accurate email addresses. To obtain a concise listing of the current contact information for your organization in TEAM-WEB, please select from the TEAM Main Menu: Data Query>Dynamic Query>Recipient Contact Information Once you click "Submit,” a spreadsheet will appear that you can review for accuracy.
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5. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Will projects demonstrating Hydrogen Hybrid Internal Combustion Engine (HHICE) buses be eligible under this program?
Answer:
The law allows projects that contribute significantly to advancing fuel cell transit bus technology, including: • hydrogen production • energy storage • fuel cell technologies • vehicle systems integration, and • power electronics technologies. Insofar as the industry and transit agencies believe that the demonstration of HHICE buses will meet the program objectives reach the technical targets, and can present a sound and convincing technical and business case for that approach, FTA would be receptive to comparing such proposals against others. Since this is a National Fuel Cell Bus Program, the HHICE is not a primary technology focus.
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6. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
How many buses will be tested with fuel cell technologies as a result of this program? When and where?
Answer:
The program encourages the development of commercially viable fuel cell bus technology and related infrastructure. FTA plans to set forth the program objectives, parameters, and technical targets in the competitive solicitation for this program. This will allow applicants to propose the best and most innovative ideas. FTA will compare proposals to demonstrate fuel cell buses against other ideas and proposals. It will judge those proposals based on whether they advance the program objectives, achieve technical targets, and present a convincing technical and business case.
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7. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
What is a State to do with a 5311 tribal set-aside, if there are no tribal sub-recipients?
Answer:
FTA will not apportion funds to States under the Section 5311 tribal set-aside. FTA will allocate funds directly to the tribes under the set-aside, but the apportionment method is not specified in SAFETEA-LU and has yet to be determined. Solely for the purposes of illustrating how much money might flow to each State under SAFETEA-LU, FTA included a formula allocation of the tribal set-aside based on tribal population in the "State by State SAFETEA-LU” summary tables posted on the website. An alternative method might be to apportion funds only to those tribes that respond to a request for letters of intent. FTA will be consulting with tribal leaders to develop the program.
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8. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Is there recourse for 5311 operating assistance sub-recipients who are having difficulty getting the states to release funding in a timely manner?
Answer:
Late appropriations and incremental extensions of TEA-21 have disrupted funding cycles in the past two years. Now that SAFETEA-LU has been enacted, States should be able to apply for all of their funds shortly after passage of an appropriations act. Each State should have a State Management Plan that describes the State's annual cycle for soliciting applications from sub-recipients. If a sub-recipient or potential sub-recipient thinks the State is not following its plan or is otherwise unreasonably restricting access to Federal funds, the sub-recipient should contact the FTA regional office for information and/or assistance.
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9. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
The transfer provisions allow for Section 5310, JARC and New Freedom funds to be transferred and administered by recipients under Section 5311 guidelines. Is there any flexibility to transfer funds from 5311 to the other programs?
Answer:
No. Section 5311 funds can be transferred to the Section 5307 program for small urbanized areas, but not to JARC, Section 5310, or New Freedom. See Section 5336(f)(2).
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10. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
SAFETEA-LU requires a coordinated public transit-human services transportation plan for Sections 5310 (Elderly and Individuals with Disabilities), 5316 (Job Access and Reverse Commute - JARC) and 5317 (New Freedom) programs. Do these planning provisions also apply to Section 5311 funds?
Answer:
SAFETEA-LU does not include the same language in Section 5311. However, SAFETEA-LU requires that State projects for Section 5311 provide the maximum feasible coordination with transportation services assisted by other Federal sources.
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11. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Has the formula changed for the allocation of Section 5311 funds?
Answer:
SAFETEA-LU establishes a new formula tier based on non-urbanized land area to address the needs of low-density States. Twenty percent of Section 5311 funds will be distributed through this tier, with a limitation that no State may receive more than five percent of the tier. The remaining 80 percent of funds are to be allocated using the existing formula, based on the State's non-urbanized population.
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12. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
I’ve been looking for information on FTA’s budget to Congress but I can’t find it?
Answer:
The information you requested can be found at http://www.dot.gov/bib2009/budgetestimates/fta.pdf
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13. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Where can I find information on federal funding for transit?
Answer:
There are multiple references to various sources of funding for transit, as well as FTA’s assessment of transit conditions, performance, and investment needs. All of which can be found in the Department of Transportation’s biannual Conditions and Performance Report at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policy/2006cpr/index.htm
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14. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Where can I find information on reauthorization as it pertains to SAFETEA-LU?
Answer:
A listing of all SAFETEA-LU activities can be found at: http://www.fta.dot.gov/index_4696.html
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15. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
What is the Mass Transit Account of the Highway Trust Fund and how is it administered?
Answer:
The Mass Transit Account (MTA) of the Highway Trust Fund receives 2.86 cents for each gallon of motor fuel purchased. The funds are deposited in a U.S. Treasury account that is controlled by the Bureau of Public Debt (BPD). FTA requests draw downs from the MTA, and BPD deposits the funds into FTA’s Treasury account. This fund is used for programs in FTA’s Formula and Bus Grant Account and pays grantees for expenditures of obligated program funds.
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16. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
My SmarTrip card was defective and I purchased a new one but was unable to download my November benefits. My new card is now active. How can I get my benefits downloaded?
Answer:
The TransServ Office, located withing DOT's Office of the Secretary, should be able to help federal employees with their transit benefit issues. Currently, FTA does not run this program. TransServ can be contacted at 202-366-0064. http://transerve.dot.gov/
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17. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
What changes does SAFETEA-LU make to TEAM, FTA's grants management system?
Answer:
Several changes have been adopted to support the new programs and processes surrounding SAFETEA-LU. They include updates to reflect new programs, project budget items, identification of Congressionally-designated funds (earmarks, subject to the Congressional appropriations process), financial processing, and contact management, to name a few. Please contact your FTA regional office if you have any specific questions. To get information about TEAM distance training through the National Transportation Institute (NTI), please see http://ftateamweb.fta.dot.gov/static/Distance/distance.html. Visit the TEAM home page for updates.
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18. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
How do I obtain training for TEAM?
Answer:
To obtain information on TEAM distance training through NTI, please see http://ftateamweb.fta.dot.gov/static/Distance/distance.html. Contact your regional office to obtain information on other training opportunities offered locally (http://www.fta.dot.gov/about/about_FTA_FTA_Offices_and_Key_Personnel.html).
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19. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
What effect does Section 5333(b)(5) of the new labor provisions have on the replacement of one private transit bus system for another through competitive bidding?
Answer:
The employee protections contained in the law have not changed. The new provision directs the Secretary of Labor to base future decisions involving the replacement of one private transit bus system for another through competitive bidding. The competitive bidding will be based on the principles set forth in the decision of September 21, 1994 and supplemental ruling of November 7, 1994, with respect to grant NV-90-X021. This decision and supplemental ruling are known as the "Las Vegas decision.” The Secretary of Labor interprets the Department of Labor decisions, and has responsibility for certifying employee protections, issuing regulatory guidance and providing technical and mediatory assistance.
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20. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Can States and MPOs begin implementing SAFETEA-LU provisions now? If States and MPOs choose to take advantage of the extended SAFETEA-LU update cycles for plans, TIPs, and STIPs, then they must comply with all provisions, such as the expanded scope, consultation, mitigation, and participation requirements set forth in SAFETEA-LU within that update cycle. Alternatively, States and MPOs may choose to implement only selected provisions, as they may already have been doing prior to passage of SAFETEA-LU, but then they may not extend their planning cycles until they comply with all SAFETEA-LU provisions.
Answer:
Can States and MPOs begin implementing SAFETEA-LU provisions now? If States and MPOs choose to take advantage of the extended SAFETEA-LU update cycles for plans, TIPs, and STIPs, then they must comply with all provisions, such as the expanded scope, consultation, mitigation, and participation requirements set forth in SAFETEA-LU within that update cycle. Alternatively, States and MPOs may choose to implement only selected provisions, as they may already have been doing prior to passage of SAFETEA-LU, but then they may not extend their planning cycles until they comply with all SAFETEA-LU provisions.
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21. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Has the planning certification review requirement for TMAs changed?
Answer:
FHWA/FTA must certify each TMA planning process "at least every four years,” as opposed to the prior requirement of every three years. This provision is effective immediately and allows FTA/FHWA to add one year to existing TMA certifications. The only exception is the timeframe for resolving a "conditional certification” issued for a TMA, which must be completed in accordance with the schedule previously defined by the FHWA Division Office and FTA Regional Office. While the law allows a 4-year interval between certifications, FTA/FHWA may initiate reviews on a more frequent basis if circumstances warrant.
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22. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
When do the new planning requirements set forth in SAFETEA-LU go into effect?
Answer:
Most of the transportation planning requirements became effective when SAFETEA-LU was signed into law on August 10, 2005. However, the law does not require a State or Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) to "deviate from its established planning update cycle.” In recently issued interim guidance, FTA and FHWA allowed States and MPOs to continue to comply with TEA-21 planning regulations in preparing plans, transportation improvement programs (TIPs), and statewide transportation improvement programs (STIPs) that will be approved before July 1, 2007. FTA and FHWA realize that the planning process is ongoing and that it could be difficult and inefficient for States and MPOs to focus on new requirements mid-course.(1) Therefore, any transportation plans, TIPs, and STIPs currently under development (per TEA-21 schedules), may be completed under the pre-SAFETEA-LU planning requirements, including adherence to plan and TIP update cycles and content requirements, prior to July 1, 2007. For plans, TIPs, and STIPs approved after July 1, 2007, all SAFETEA-LU planning provisions must be implemented. Some of these provisions may require rulemaking to implement the changes. FHWA and FTA have recently initiated a comprehensive rulemaking to update the metropolitan and statewide transportation planning regulations. (1) It should be noted that "approval” corresponds to different actions in different areas, as follows: a) in all States: FTA/FHWA approval of STIPs, b) in non attainment and maintenance areas: FTA/FHWA conformity determinations of plans and TIPs, and c) in attainment areas: State and/or MPO approvals of plans and TIPs.
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23. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
What other agencies must be involved in planning processes?
Answer:
MPOs and States must consult "as appropriate” with "State and local agencies responsible for land use management, natural resources, environmental protection, conservation, and historic preservation” in developing long-range transportation plans. Additionally, for long-range statewide transportation plans, States must consult with Federally-recognized Tribal agencies responsible for land use management, natural resources, environmental protection, conservation, and historic preservation. These new requirements must be in place prior to approval of transportation plans addressing SAFETEA-LU provisions.
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24. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Have the content requirements for plans, TIPs, and STIPs been changed?
Answer:
SAFETEA-LU expands the scope of planning to include planned growth and economic development patterns. Security is now a stand-alone planning factor, where before it was coupled with safety. Metropolitan transportation plans must include operational and management strategies to improve congestion, safety, and mobility. The seven planning factors identified in TEA-21 have been expanded to include safety and security as separate factors to be considered during the metropolitan planning process. Metropolitan and statewide transportation plans must also include a discussion of potential environmental mitigation activities. The activities must be developed in consultation with Federal, State and Tribal wildlife, land management, and regulatory agencies. The metropolitan planning process also should promote consistency between transportation improvements and State and local planned growth and economic development patterns and this should be reflected in plans. Metropolitan transportation plans must include operational and management strategies to improve congestion, safety, and mobility.
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25. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
How have the update cycles for Plan, TIP, and STIP preparation been changed?
Answer:
SAFETEA-LU has relaxed the update cycle requirements for metropolitan transportation plans and TIPs in air quality non attainment and maintenance areas, as well as STIPs, from a minimum of every three years to a minimum of every four years. In air quality attainment areas, the update cycle remains at the pre-SAFETEA-LU frequency - a minimum of every five years. As stated above, the date of the FHWA/FTA conformity determination on the transportation plan should be used as the basis for tracking update cycles in nonattainment and maintenance areas.
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26. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Have the reporting requirements for TIPs changed?
Answer:
SAFETEA-LU specifies that the development of the annual listing of obligated projects, "shall be a cooperative effort of the State, transit operator, and MPO,” and must include two new project types - "investments in pedestrian walkways” and "bicycle transportation facilities”--for which Federal funds have been obligated in the preceding year. This revised requirement for an annual listing must be in place prior to approval of transportation plans and programs addressing SAFETEA-LU. In addition, the project listings set forth in STIPs and metropolitan TIPs must span a period of at least four years.
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27. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Will the public participation plan be required of MPOs, transit authorities, or both?
Answer:
The public participation plan is required only of MPOs. Section 5307 (Urbanized Area Formula Grants) recipients are not required to develop a public participation plan apart from the MPO. Grantees may, upon citation in the TIP, utilize the MPO's public participation plan as the basis for meeting the public participation requirements associated with receiving Section 5307 funding. In fact, grantees should be actively involved in preparing the MPO's public participation plan.
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28. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Are there new provisions for public involvement?
Answer:
Yes. MPOs must develop and utilize a "participation plan” that provides reasonable opportunities for interested parties to comment on the metropolitan transportation plan and metropolitan TIP. Further, this participation plan must be developed "in consultation with all interested parties,” and the public must have input on the participation plan. A participation plan must be in place prior to MPO adoption of transportation plans and TIPs. FTA and FHWA expect governmental and nonprofit organizations that receive Federal assistance from sources other than the Department of Transportation to be involved in the planning process. In addition to preparing their plans, MPOs and States must employ visualization techniques to the maximum extent practicable and otherwise make long range transportation plans and TIPs available for public review in electronic formats such as the worldwide web.
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29. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Has the requirement for a Congestion Management System (CMS) changed?
Answer:
Yes. Transportation Management Areas (TMAs) must now have a Congestion Management Process "…that provides for effective management and operation” to combat congestion. Each TMA should consult with FTA and FHWA to determine if their existing CMS meets the new requirement, and to define a plan and schedule to implement the process if it does not. Consistent with previous FTA/FHWA guidance, the phase-in schedule for this provision in newly designated TMAs is 18 months after the designation.
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30. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
What is the new requirement for coordinated human services transportation planning?
Answer:
Yes. As a condition for receiving formula funding under three FTA programs-- 49 U.S.C. Section 5310: Special Needs of Elderly Individuals and Individuals with Disabilities; 49 U.S.C. Section 5316: Job Access and Reverse Commute; and 49 U.S.C. Section 5317: New Freedom-- projects proposed for funding must be derived from a "locally developed, coordinated public transit-human services transportation plan.” The coordinated plan must have been developed through a process that included representatives of public, private, and non-profit transportation and human services providers, as well as the public. For more information, see FTA's "Frequently Asked Questions: Coordinated Human Services Transportation Planning.”
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31. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Will FTA be taking bids from the private sector to participate in Research and Development for the National Fuel Cell Bus Technology Development program? If so, when?
Answer:
At this point, FTA is in a listening mode. FTA is getting input from all stakeholders on how best to administer the program. The law calls for a competitive selection of up to three regionally diverse non-profit organizations, working with transit agencies.
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32. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
How will FTA issue the solicitation for proposals under this program?
Answer:
FTA expects to issue a Program Announcement shortly. FTA is considering a two-step process for the selection of both regional organizations and the initial set projects. Initially, regional organizations would be asked to submit white papers on proposed projects that would achieve the program objectives and technical targets. These organizations would also be asked to document their capabilities, expertise and experience in the management of advanced transportation technology projects, including fuel cell bus efforts. After the initial white paper stage, FTA would ask for full proposals from selected organizations. The process would resemble the U.S. Department of Transportation's (US DOT) Advanced Vehicle program.
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33. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Can a single entity or agency apply for funding under this program?
Answer:
No. [NOTE: "No” is the short answer, correct?]. To comply with the law, interested participants would need to form into regional organizations or consortia, as the legislation calls for regionally diverse non-profit organizations working with transit agencies. Priority will go to those with five or more years of experience in the management of advanced transportation technology projects, including fuel cell buses. "Regional organizations” must be multi-state.
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34. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
What changes were made to the Fixed Guideway Modernization formula program under SAFETEA-LU?
Answer:
There were no changes to the formula or eligibility criteria for the program. Unless otherwise specified (see 5337(f) and 5337(g)), eligible urbanized areas have populations of at least 200,000 and fixed guideway systems that are at least seven years old. They must have more than one mile of fixed guideway to receive an apportionment.
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35. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
How do I obtain a user account for TEAM?
Answer:
Contact your regional office to obtain a username and password for TEAM.
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36. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Can I use Grants.Gov to apply for FTA funds?
Answer:
Currently, FTA is making competitive, discretionary FTA funding programs available to find and apply on Grants.Gov. This includes the Over the Road bus program and certain activities under the research program such as the Statewide coordination grants under United We Ride. TEAM is currently FTA's preferred method to submit applications for earmarks and formula funding.
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37. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Does SAFETEA-LU make changes in environmental provisions?
Answer:
SAFETEA-LU requires better coordination and improves the environmental review process: • It provides for the integration of environmental considerations into metropolitan and Statewide transportation processes;. • It expects long-range State transportation plans to address environmental mitigation; • It requires that State and metropolitan transportation plans be developed in consultation with State and local agencies responsible for land use management, natural resources, environmental protection, conservation, and historic preservation. The satisfaction of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) standards at the metropolitan and State levels will avoid duplication, confusion, and unnecessary delay in the environmental review process later on. SAFETEA-LU provides for early, formal coordination among all potentially interested agencies—Federal, State, and local—in the environmental review process. The Federal lead agency must identify and invite the participation of all such agencies as early as practicable in the environmental review process. Agencies that choose to participate, and the public, must have an opportunity to be involved in the determination of a proposed project's purpose and need, and to consider alternatives in the environmental study. The lead agency must also make a coordination plan available to the public. These procedures, which add transparency to the process, aim to achieve consensus among all parties in the critical initial phase of the environmental review, and to pre-empt disagreements that can create delays later on. In the event of subsequent disagreements, however, SAFETEA-LU prescribes a formal issue resolution process. SAFETEA-LU establishes time limits for public review. With certain exceptions, comment periods on draft environmental impact statements are limited to 60 days, and, for other documents in the environmental review process, to 30 days. Unreasonable delays by other Federal agencies on matters related to an approved transit project should be reported to relevant Congressional committees. Finally, SAFETEA-LU provides for Federal funding to States, upon request, to support activities that directly and meaningfully contribute to expediting and improving transportation project planning and delivery.
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38. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Are there public transit provisions in SAFETEA-LU that provide incentives for transportation choices that positively affect the environment?
Answer:
Several public transit programs provide incentives for transportation choices that positively affect the environment. Section 3010 amended the Clean Fuels Grant program (49 U.S.C. Section 5308) that provides funding for clean fuel vehicles and facilities in ozone and carbon monoxide non-attainment and maintenance areas. Under SAFETEA-LU, the program is now discretionary, rather than a competitive formula. The program provides funding for purchasing or leasing clean fuel buses; constructing or leasing clean fuel bus or electrical recharging facilities; or constructing new or improving existing public transportation facilities to accommodate clean fuel buses. While the program emphasizes clean fuels, recipients may spend up to 25 percent of the annual appropriated funds for this program on clean diesel buses. SAFETEA-LU also authorizes continued funding at levels between $11 and $13.5 million per year for the national fuel cell bus technology development program. This program aims to develop and demonstrate a commercially viable fuel-cell passenger bus that produces zero pollutant emissions.
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39. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Are there provisions in SAFETEA-LU that provide incentives for transportation choices that positively affect the environment?
Answer:
The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Program in Title 23 of the U.S.C. provides funding for programs and projects that positively affect air quality. Even though CMAQ funds come out of the Federal highway program, transit agencies across the country have benefited greatly from CMAQ funding since its inception in 1991. Transit projects categorically have received between 40 and 50 percent of the apportioned funding for this program each year. Recently that has translated into $400 million obligated annually for transit projects in air quality non-attainment and maintenance areas. Several changes to the CMAQ program in SAFETEA-LU (Section 1808) place greater emphasis on cost-effective emission reductions. This means that priority is to be given to funding cost-effective strategies, such as diesel retrofit projects on transit buses, including particulate traps, which are designed to improve air quality. However, as in the past, a wide range of transit projects has been, and will continue to be, eligible for CMAQ funding. Transit projects that expand capacity and increase ridership will fare better if they can document emission reductions. The new priority to be given to cost-effective projects that reduce transportation emissions means the CMAQ program provides a real incentive to select environmentally beneficial transportation projects.
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40. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
How can a lead agency effectively integrate the NEPA review process with the transportation planning process?
Answer:
The SAFETEA-LU environmental provisions intend to integrate the planning process and the NEPA review process to increase coordination, decrease duplication, and reduce delays. For example, both the planning process and the NEPA review process require alternatives analyses (AA). The earlier the NEPA review enters the planning process, the greater the reduction in duplication. SAFETEA-LU initiates the environmental review process when a project sponsor notifies FTA "of the type of work, termini, length, and general location of the proposed project, together with a statement of any Federal approvals anticipated to be necessary for the proposed project.” SAFETEA-LU's transportation planning provisions require that a metropolitan area's transportation improvement program contain the same kind of information. Thus, the environmental review process could be initiated at least as early as development of the transportation improvement program.
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41. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
What is being done to provide additional funding for preservation of fixed guideway infrastructure?
Answer:
Increased funding levels for Section 5309 and 5307 fixed guideway modernization programs under SAFETEA-LU provide more resources for the preservation of fixed guideway infrastructure. Many project activities that support the preservation of fixed guideway infrastructure fall under preventive maintenance. That includes vehicle maintenance and non-vehicle maintenance, such as repair of buildings, grounds and equipment damaged by accidents or vandalism, and maintenance of electric power facilities. It also includes maintenance of vehicle movement control systems, fare collection and counting equipment, structures, tunnels, subways, and roadways.
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42. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
What urbanized area does 5337(f) and 5337(g) refer to?
Answer:
Morgantown, West Virginia.
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43. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
How do I apply for my Congressionally-designated funds (earmarks)?
Answer:
FTA has implemented an earmark numbering system, which provides for earmark IDs published in the Federal Register alongside each Congressional designation, and is to be used in FY 2006 and beyond to apply for earmarked program funds in TEAM. Funding is subject to the Congressional appropriations process. Look for your earmark in the 11/30/2005 (FY 2005 and prior) and 2/3/2006 (FY 2006) Federal Register Publication. A link to all FTA Federal Register publications is listed on the FTA web site at: http://www.fta.dot.gov/laws/leg_reg_circulars_guidance.html. Earmarks are published by funding program and by state. Next to an earmarked project, you will find an earmark ID. This ID will be used to select your earmark from TEAM. For earmarked project grants, there is now an additional tab in the project information screen, titled "Earmarks”. Use this page to select any earmark(s) the grant project will be drawing against. You will need your earmark ID from the Federal Register, and the amount of the grant that will be applied to the earmark.
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44. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
What is the best way to enter my project budget and schedule into TEAM?
Answer:
Funds for an FTA program that is in application might have specific eligibility requirements that need to be highlighted in the project budget. It is best to consult FTA funding program requirements and your FTA regional staff directly about the best way to summarize your budget and schedule in TEAM. The TEAM budget uses codes called SCOPE and ALI. There will be modifications to the codes for 2006, so please refer to the list posted on the TEAM-WEB home page for updates. Additionally, you may attach an MSWord, .pdf or .txt version of your project schedule and budget at any time to the grant record in TEAM. However, this option does not replace the budget and milestone sections that you must accurately summarize in TEAM.
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45. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Where are the earmarks listed?
Answer:
A list of earmarks appears in Section 3044(a) of SAFETEA-LU. The list also includes projects designated for funding under the Clean Fuels program. See the FTA "reauthorization” webpage for a copy of SAFETEA-LU.
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46. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Do separate discretionary funding categories for (1) bus facilities and (2) clean fuels increase chances for funding?
Answer:
Congress can designate many new projects under these programs, so it is difficult to predict how much any one grantee might benefit from the establishment of a separate discretionary Clean Fuels program. However, because SAFETEA-LU increases the overall level of authorized spending, FTA grantees as a whole should receive more Federal assistance than they have in the past.
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47. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Does SAFETEA-LU include language like that in recent appropriations acts which exempts earmarked projects from meeting program requirements?
Answer:
No. But a small number of earmarks are for projects with expanded eligibility.
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48. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Are there specific projects designated for funding in SAFETEA-LU?
Answer:
SAFETEA-LU designates 646 projects to be funded through the Bus and Bus Facilities program. These projects account for just over half of the total amount authorized under the program. Funding remains subject to the appropriations process, however, and FTA does not intend to extend blanket pre-award authority for projects appearing in SAFETEA-LU. Congress may choose to earmark the remaining funds during the appropriations process, as it has done with the Bus program for several years.
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49. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Has anything changed in the Bus and Bus Facilities Program?
Answer:
The program is largely unchanged in SAFETEA-LU. However, there are new set-asides for ferryboat systems and for intermodal terminals. Also, the intercity bus portion of an intermodal facility is now eligible under the Bus and Bus Facilities program.
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50. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Does the Bus and Bus Facilities program cover paratransit vehicles and facilities?
Answer:
Yes. FTA interprets "bus” to include all types of buses and vans (except trolley buses using overhead catenaries, which are classified as fixed guideway, by law).
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51. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Is the Clean Fuels program limited to urbanized areas of a certain size?
Answer:
Clean Fuels funds are available to any urbanized area that is designated as a maintenance or non-attainment area for ozone or carbon monoxide, as defined in the Clean Air Act.
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52. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Now that the Clean Fuels program is discretionary, are there specific projects designated for funding in the new bill?
Answer:
Sixteen projects have been designated in SAFETEA-LU to be funded through the Clean Fuels program. They account for just under half of the total amount authorized under the program. Funding remains subject to the appropriations process, however, and FTA does not intend to extend blanket pre-award authority for projects appearing in SAFETEA-LU, because Congress may remove, change, or add earmarks during the appropriations process.
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53. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Is this a new program?
Answer:
TEA-21 created the Clean Fuels Grant program (Section 5308 of Title 49). However, funding for the program had been transferred each year during the appropriations process to the Bus and Bus Facilities discretionary grant program. Program requirements of the Urbanized Area formula program (Section 5307) will still apply to the Clean Fuels program. However, funding is now discretionary rather than formula-based.
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54. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
What is the Clean Fuels Grant program?
Answer:
The Clean Fuels Grant program provides funding for clean fuel buses and related facilities in air quality non-attainment and maintenance areas. Eligible projects include • the purchase or lease of clean fuel buses (including buses that use a lightweight composite primary structure), • the construction of clean fuel buses, • the construction or lease of electrical recharging facilities and related equipment for clean fuel buses, and • the construction or improvement of public transportation facilities to accommodate clean fuel buses.
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55. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
What is the difference between a "participating agency” and a "cooperating agency?”
Answer:
As part of the legislation's intent to convene all relevant parties early in the environmental review process, SAFETEA-LU creates a new category for relevant parties—a "participating agency.” SAFETEA-LU defines a "participating agency” as a Federal or non-Federal agency "that may have an interest in the project.” This is a broader category than "cooperating agency.” Regulations that implement NEPA define a "cooperating agency” as "any Federal agency other than a lead agency which has jurisdiction by law or special expertise with respect to any environmental impact involved in a proposal (or a reasonable alternative) for legislation or other major Federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment.” The lead agency must identify and invite as early as practicable in the environmental review process any other agencies that may have an interest in the project.
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56. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
When a project sponsor that is a State or local governmental entity acts as a joint lead agency with FTA, which agency defines the project's purpose and need, determines the range of alternatives to be considered, establishes a coordination plan and schedule, including modifications, and decides whether or not to extend a deadline?
Answer:
Because SAFETEA-LU requires the Federal lead agency to furnish guidance in the preparation of NEPA documents and to evaluate those documents independently prior to their approval and adoption, the Federal lead agency (FTA) would have the final say about a project's purpose and need, the range of alternatives to be considered, and other procedural matters.
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57. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
To what types of projects do the environmental review provisions of SAFETEA-LU apply?
Answer:
FTA must apply the "efficient environmental review provisions” under SAFETEA-LU Section 6002 to all projects that require an environmental impact statement under NEPA. FTA may apply the procedures to any project that involves preparation of an environmental assessment or a categorical exclusion.
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58. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Are there new or additional reporting requirements for the Section 5311 program?
Answer:
SAFETEA-LU introduces a new data collection requirement to the Section 5311 program. State recipients are required to submit an annual report to the National Transit Database (NTD) on service levels, costs and revenue.
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59. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Can FTA be more specific on the required data?
Answer:
The annual report from each Section 5311 recipient will contain information on capital investment, operation, and service provided with Section 5311 funds. It will include total annual revenue; sources of revenue; total annual operating costs; total annual capital costs; fleet size and type and related facilities; revenue vehicle miles; and ridership.
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60. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Will there be standard reporting requirements for all rural systems, or will there be some flexibility based on system size and staff capacity?
Answer:
The data collection requirement will be tailored to the smaller size of the typical public transportation system in a rural area, while ensuring adequate data for FTA to judge the condition and performance of rural public transportation. Sub-recipients will report to the State agency from which they receive Section 5311 funds. The State Department of Transportation (DOT) will provide a consolidated report to FTA through the NTD. Many State DOTs already collect this data from sub-recipients. FTA previously worked with a group of State DOTs to develop a rural reporting module for the NTD. This module will serve as the framework for the now-mandatory data collection.
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61. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Are there requirements that all Section 5311 FTA recipients have to prepare and adopt a safety and security plan?
Answer:
There is no specific requirement for Section 5311 recipients to prepare a separate safety and security plan. However, safety and security are two of the planning factors that must be considered as part of the Statewide Plan, required under Section 5304.
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62. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Are there any differences between SAFETEA-LU and past provisions regarding the requirement to spend 15 percent of the State's apportionment to support intercity bus service?
Answer:
Under SAFETEA-LU, States are required to consult with affected intercity bus service providers before certifying to the Secretary that intercity bus service needs are being met without making 15 percent of the apportionment available for such services. FTA will develop guidance for the consultation process in collaboration with stakeholders.
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63. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Are Indian tribes now eligible direct recipients of Section 5311 program funds?
Answer:
Yes. SAFETEA-LU adds Indian tribes as eligible recipients of Section 5311 funds.
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64. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Is there a new tribal program under the Section 5311 program?
Answer:
Yes. The Conference Report adopts Senate provision setting aside a portion of funding each year for Indian tribes. This set-aside is not meant to replace or reduce funds that Indian tribes receive from States through the Section 5311 program.
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65. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
In the SAFETEA-LU estimates posted on FTA's website, the Section 5307 and Section 5340 apportionments appear to have been combined. Is this correct? If so, why was this done?
Answer:
Yes, the Section 5307 and Section 5340 apportionments have been combined. The "Urbanized Areas (5307 and 5340)” column in the SAFETEA-LU tables posted on the FTA website includes: regular 5307 funds (i.e., funds available after a required one percent takedown for Small Transit Intensive Cities), funds for Small Transit Intensive Cities, and Growing States and High Density States funding for the area. FTA merged these into a single apportionment amount to comply with language in the SAFETEA-LU Conference Report, which asks FTA to publish a single urbanized apportionment for these programs.
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66. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Will the flexibility to use Section 5307 funds for operating assistance be continued under SAFETEA-LU for those urbanized areas that crossed over the 200,000 population threshold for the first time in the 2000 Census?
Answer:
Yes, but within limits. Those areas will be permitted to use FY 2006 and FY 2007 funds for operating assistance. However, the allowable amount will be phased down to a maximum of 50 percent and 25 percent of the amount available to any eligible urbanized areas in FY 2002 for FY 2006 and FY 2007, respectively.
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67. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Can Growing State and High Density States funds be used to support operating activities?
Answer:
Yes, but only in an urbanized area (or, in some cases, a portion of the urbanized area) that qualifies under current law. For Section 5307 this includes: • an urbanized area of less than 200,000 in population; • an urbanized area that crossed the 200,000 threshold in the 2000 Census; • a transit provider or grantee in urbanized areas of at least 200,000 in population that meets the exception noted in section 5307(b)(1)(E) or 5307(b)(1)(F) of SAFETEA-LU, or section 3027(c)(3), as amended, of TEA-21. Growing States funds may also be used for operating assistance in non-urbanized areas. In some instances SAFETEA-LU imposes a limit on how much of an urbanized area's apportionment may be used for operating assistance.
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68. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
How is the Section 5340 funding distributed within an urbanized area?
Answer:
Separate formulas are used to apportion Section 5307 and Section 5340 funds to urbanized areas. Under the 5340 formula, half of the funds are made available under the Growing States factors and are apportioned based on State population forecasts for 15 years beyond the most recent Census. Amounts apportioned for each State are then allocated to urbanized and rural areas based on the State's urban/rural population ratio. The High Density States factors distribute the other half of the funds to States with population densities greater than 370 people per square mile. These funds are apportioned only to urbanized areas within those States. The SAFETEA-LU Conference Report instructs FTA to merge the urbanized area amounts for the 5307 and 5340 formulas into a single apportionment when it publishes program apportionments. The distribution or sub-allocation of Sections 5307 and 5340 funds within an urbanized area is a local responsibility. In those urbanized areas with more than one grantee or designated recipient, FTA expects local officials, operating through the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and the designated recipient, to determine the sub-allocation together. The sub-allocation should be determined fairly and rationally through a process agreeable to recipients.
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69. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
We have a city that exceeded the 50,000 population barrier one year after the 2000 Census. How can we go about getting it designated a small urban area before the 2010 Census?
Answer:
SAFETEA-LU defines an "urbanized area” as one that encompasses a population of not less than 50,000 people and that has been designated in the most recent decennial Census as an "urbanized area” by the Secretary of Commerce. To be reclassified as urbanized prior to the 2010 Census, the area in question may request that the Census Bureau undertake a special census. If as a result the Census Bureau identifies the area as an urbanized area, then FTA may include that area in future apportionments for the section 5307 Urbanized Area formula funds. The area will need to communicate directly with the Census Bureau to determine the process, requirements, and cost to conduct a special census.
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70. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
What urbanized area does 5307(b)(1)(E) refer to?
Answer:
Evansville, IN-KY
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71. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Will UTCs funded under FTA's portions of SAFETEA-LU be competitively selected and, if so, how?
Answer:
The UTCs designated to receive FTA funds are specified in SAFETEA-LU and are not subject to competition during the reauthorization period.
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72. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Section 3036 of SAFETEA-LU amends 49 U.S.C. § 5338 adding a requirement to "carry out the university centers program under section 5506” and states that the designated universities "shall be considered university transportation centers under section 5506 and shall be subject to the requirements of subsections (b), (h), (i), (k), (l) and (m) of such section.” What does this language mean?
Answer:
SAFETEA-LU amends 49 U.S.C. § 5506 and imposes further requirements on DOT's UTC program. For the Public Transportation authorizations at 49 U.S.C. § 5338(d)(2), SAFETEA-LU imposes only the requirements of 49 U.S.C. §§ 5506(b), (h), (i), (k), (l), and (m) as follows: • UTCs will further transportation research and professional capacity development through education (49 U.S.C. 5506(b)). • To attain these objectives, UTCs engage in programs of research, education and technology transfer (49 U.S.C. § 5506(b)). • The UTC programs must support the National Strategy for Surface Transportation Research as defined in: o The report, "The National Highway Research and Technology Partnership: The Need for Greater Investments” (April 2002) – 49 U.S.C. § 5506(h), and o FTA's National Research and Technology programs – 49 U.S.C. § 5506(h). • University recipients must maintain the levels of effort to support their transportation research and education programs that they maintained in the two years prior to FY 2006 (49 U.S.C. § 5506(i)). • Program coordination is required to include: o Dissemination of research results (49 U.S.C. § 5506(k)(1)), o Annual review and evaluation (49 U.S.C. § 5506(k)(2)), o DOT management oversight (49 U.S.C. § 5506(k)(3)). • UTCs will be administered by the Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) (49 U.S.C. § 5506(l)), and • Funds are available for two years after the last day of the fiscal year (49 U.S.C. § 5506(m)).
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73. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
When can universities begin to incur costs with the expectation of reimbursement?
Answer:
RITA will establish pre-award reimbursement eligibility conditions.
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74. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
When will funds be made available to universities and under what conditions?
Answer:
Each fiscal year, funds will become available after Congress passes a bill to appropriate them and the President signs that bill into law. RITA will administer the program and make awards to UTCs.
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75. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Is the direct funding for tribes separate from the Alternative Transportation in Parks and Public Lands?
Answer:
Yes. The funding for tribes is a set-aside under the Non-Urbanized formula program, while the Alternative Transportation and Parks and Public Lands program is a $22 million per year discretionary program.
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76. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
When and how can tribes begin to access these funds?
Answer:
The funds will become available after Congress passes the FY 2006 appropriations act. The application procedure for funds has not yet been determined. FTA will develop an interim process for the allocation of FY 2006 funds to the tribes, after an initial consultation process. Final procedures for the program will be developed over a longer time frame with more extensive public involvement.
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77. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Where does the funding come from for the tribal program?
Answer:
The funding is a takedown from the Section 5311 formula program for Other than Urbanized areas.
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78. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
How will these funds be distributed?
Answer:
SAFETEA-LU does not specify an allocation method. A formula allocation based solely on Census data such as tribal land area and population does not appear practical. Alternatively, funds could be allocated among tribes that respond to a request for proposals for eligible projects. This is how FTA allocates funds in the Over the Road bus program. FTA will consult with stakeholders, including tribal leaders, to develop the method of allocation.
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79. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Does this new tribal program make tribes ineligible for Section 5311 funds apportioned to the States?
Answer:
No. Congressional intent is that tribes continue to be eligible to receive funding from State apportionments as well as from the takedown for tribal transit. The following language is retained in Section 5311 (2)(C)(i): "the Secretary may not approve the program unless the Secretary determines that the program provides a fair distribution of amounts in the State, including Indian reservations.”
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80. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
What is the purpose of the Tribal Transit provision?
Answer:
It provides grants directly to Indian tribes for public transportation services on Indian reservations. In the past, tribes received program funds as sub-recipients of States. SAFETEA-LU now defines tribes as eligible direct recipients under the Section 5311 program.
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81. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
What is a State to do with a Section 5311 tribal set-aside if there are no tribal sub-recipients?
Answer:
FTA will not apportion funds to States under the Section 5311 tribal set-aside. FTA will allocate funds directly to the tribes under the set-aside, but the apportionment method is not specified in SAFETEA-LU and has not yet been determined. Solely for the purposes of illustrating how much money might flow to each State under SAFETEA-LU, FTA included a formula allocation of the tribal set-aside based on tribal population in the State-by-State SAFETEA-LU summary tables posted on its website. An alternative method might be to apportion funds only to those tribes that respond to a request for letters of intent. FTA will consult with tribal leaders as they develop the program.
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82. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
What is the State's role in the tribal transit program?
Answer:
FTA will administer funds under the tribal transit program in direct grants to tribes. States will continue to have a responsibility to include Indian tribes in the allocation of Section 5311 funds apportioned to the State. The States, tribes, and FTA will need to ensure that projects funded are complementary, not duplicative. Tribes may either apply directly to FTA for the funds allocated from the State apportionment or receive the funds as sub-recipients of the State. States may use Rural Transit Assistance Program (RTAP) funds to provide technical assistance related to tribal transit. The consultation process will address the role of the State in the tribal transit program.
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83. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Does SAFETEA-LU continue the one percent set-aside for transit enhancements required in TEA-21?
Answer:
Yes and No. The requirement that one percent of Section 5307 funds apportioned to an urbanized area with a population of 200,000 or more be used for transit enhancement projects is continued under SAFETEA-LU. SAFETEA-LU language stipulates that the recipient for an urbanized area with a population of at least 200,000 must certify that it will expend one percent of the funds it receives each fiscal year for transit enhancements. This differs from the language in TEA-21, which directed FTA to make the funds available from an area's apportionment. Given the SAFETEA-LU language, FTA no longer has a separate accounting classification code for the one percent and does not show the one percent amount separately in the agency's annual apportionment notice. Consequently, the DR will have to compute the amount (one percent of the urbanized area's apportionment) that must be obligated for transit enhancements. See question #6 for further explanation.
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84. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
You said that enhancements are no longer a set-aside. Does this mean that grant applications no longer need a separate ALI (Activity Line Item code) for the one percent enhancement projects?
Answer:
You said that enhancements are no longer a set-aside. Does this mean that grant applications no longer need a separate ALI (Activity Line Item code) for the one percent enhancement projects? A grantee should continue to use the ALI codes for transit enhancement when applicable. Since the requirement to expend funds for and report on transit enhancement activities is still in effect, use of the transit enhancement ALI codes in the project budget will allow FTA to track the amount obligated for transit enhancements and report to Congress on how the funds were used.
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85. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
In the revised FY 2006 apportionment notice, dated February 3, 2006, section 5340 Growing States and High Density funds are combined with 5307 funds. Is the one percent for transit enhancements computed using the total apportionment amount published in that notice, since FTA does not show the required enhancement amount in a separate column?
Answer:
Yes. SAFETEA-LU stipulates that section 5340 funds apportioned to urbanized areas are to be added to urbanized area formula funds made available for grants under section 5307. The apportionment amount for an urbanized area 200,000 or more in population shown in the FTA FY 2006 and future years annual apportionment notice includes section 5340 funds. One percent of the published apportionment is the amount that must be spent for transit enhancements.
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86. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
What is the definition of transit enhancement and what are the eligible projects?
Answer:
The term "transit enhancement” means, with respect to any project or an area to be served by a project, projects that are designed to enhance public transportation service or use and that are physically or functionally related to transit facilities. Eligible projects are: • historic preservation, rehabilitation, and operation of historic public transportation buildings, structures, and facilities (including historic bus and railroad facilities); • bus shelters; • landscaping and other scenic beautification, including tables, benches, trash receptacles, and street lights; • public art; • pedestrian access and walkways; • bicycle access, including bicycle storage facilities and installing equipment for transporting bicycles on public transportation vehicles; • transit connections to parks within the recipient's transit service area; • signage; and • enhanced access for persons with disabilities to public transportation.
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87. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
What information must be included in the annual transit enhancement report?
Answer:
The report must be submitted with the Federal fiscal year's final quarterly progress report for an active 5307 grant in TEAM-Web, or must be submitted without using TEAM-Web if the DR does not have an active FTA grant. The report should include the following elements: a) name of grantee(s) expending the enhancement funds, b) UZA name and number, c) FTA project number(s), d) transit enhancement category or categories for which enhancement funds were obligated, e) brief description of enhancement by Federal fiscal year of funding and progress towards project implementation, f) activity line item codes from the approved budget(s), and g) amount awarded by FTA for the enhancement. A link to the list of transit enhancement categories and activity line item (ALI) codes may be found on the TEAM-Web homepage.
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88. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Must all of the transit enhancement funds be expended in a single fiscal year? For example, does the one percent applicable to FY 2006 funds have to be expended in FY 2006?
Answer:
No. For purposes of clarification FTA interprets the term "expend” as used in section 5307(d)(1)(K) to mean obligate and "each fiscal year” refers to the year of apportionment, which in this case is FY 2006. Therefore, to be in compliance with the expenditure element of the certification, the DR must ensure that one percent of the urbanized area's apportionment for each fiscal year is obligated for transit enhancements within the period of availability. For FY 2006 funds, one percent for transit enhancements must be obligated by September 30, 2009.
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89. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Must the DR apply for the transit enhancement projects? May the DR allocate funds to grantees in the urbanized area and have them apply for transit enhancement projects?
Answer:
No, the DR does not have to apply for or implement the transit enhancement project(s) directly. The DR is responsible for assuring that the one percent is spent for transit enhancements and reporting on the use of the funds. Yes, the DR may allocate funds to grantees in the urbanized area and have them apply directly for a grant that includes a transit enhancement project(s). In coordination with the MPO the DR(s) can decide which grantees and projects in the urbanized area will use the one percent.
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90. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
How does a grantee that is not a DR fit into the process that assures that the urbanized area meets the one percent transit enhancement requirement?
Answer:
It will be the responsibility of the DR, in coordination with the MPO, to determine how the one percent requirement will be allotted to transit projects in the urbanized area. A grantee identified by the DR and MPO to implement a transit enhancement project will use funds allocated to it by the DR to apply to FTA for a grant to fund the transit enhancement project that counts toward the one percent. These grantees, however, will need to provide the DR with the information it needs to report to FTA annually. A grantee that is not the DR, as described in the question, is not required to provide a certification or to submit a report to FTA. The one percent is a minimum requirement and does not preclude the obligation of more than one percent in an urbanized area for transit enhancements (other than operation of historic facilities, which is not an eligible capital activity outside of the transit enhancements category.)
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91. Category:
Reauthorization & Policy Initiatives
Question:
Who must submit the required certification and report?
Answer:
FTA interprets the term recipient as used in section 5307(d)(1)(K) to mean the Designated Recipient (DR) for the urbanized area (UZA) with a population of at least 200,000. Therefore, it is the DR for the UZA that must certify with the submission of the annual Certifications and Assurances that one percent will be spent on transit enhancements. In a UZA that has more than one DR, each DR is required to submit the certification and the required annual report of transit enhancement projects. However, when an urbanized area includes more than one DR the DRs are required to submit a sub-allocation agreement ("split letter”) to the FTA regional office, which shows how the funding will be allocated. If that split letter stipulates that all of the DRs have agreed on how one percent of the urbanized area apportionment will be obligated for transit enhancements, and if the split letter identifies a specific DR (or its grantee) that will obligate the one percent, then only that DR, in the urbanized area with multiple DRs, must submit the required certification and report. See the example below. Example: The Boston, MA-NH-RI urbanized area has eight DRs. The DRs reached agreement on how the area's $120,120,589 FY 2006 Section 5307 apportionment would be allocated among them. They also agreed that the one percent required to be expended for transit enhancements for the entire urbanized area, $1,201,206, will be the responsibility of the Greater Attleboro-Taunton Regional Transit Authority (GATRTA). In the urbanized area sub-allocation split letter to the FTA Region I Office, which is signed by representatives for all of the DRs, the DRs document the amount of the urbanized area apportionment that is allocated to each DR, stipulate that one percent of the urbanized area apportionment will be obligated for transit enhancements, and specify that GATRTA will ensure that these funds are obligated for transit enhancements either by FTA grants in which it is the applicant and recipient, or through grants applied for and carried out by the grantees it represents as a DR. GATRTA also states that it will submit the appropriate certification and report to FTA. In the example above, each DR signs the split letter indicating all agree to the conditions reported to FTA in the letter. In another local procedure FTA has encountered, the agreement of the individual DRs to the sub-allocation of the urbanized area apportionment and use of the one percent for transit enhancements described in the letter was supported by the adoption of an official resolution or similar measure. This procedure can serve as an acceptable example for certifying an identifying the DR and grantee(s) responsible for expending the one percent, in lieu of having all of the DRs sign the split letter. The required annual report must be submitted with the Federal fiscal year's final quarterly progress report for a Section 5307 grant in TEAM-WEB, or be sent to the appropriate FTA regional office electronically, or in hard-copy if the DR has no active grant application in TEAM-Web. The DR may also submit the certification in hard-copy to the regional office. However, a DR can submit the certification and assurances in TEAM-Web, even though it may not have an active grant in TEAM-Web or be an FTA grantee. As you will note, this is a change from FTA's transit enhancement certification and reporting requirements under TEA-21, in that effective with SAFETEA-LU only the DR is responsible to certify and report, and not each grantee that applies for a grant that contains a transit enhancement project subject to the one percent requirement.
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