1. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
When will these changes take effect?
Answer:
The rescission of the budget decision principle requiring at least a Medium rating on cost-effectiveness for a funding recommendation takes effect immediately. Changes to the New and Small Starts evaluation and rating process will take effect upon completion of the rulemaking process.
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2. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
Would a feasibility study meet the requirement for an Alternatives Analysis?
Answer:
A feasibility study would meet the Alternatives Analysis requirement if it assessed a range of alternative urban circulators, provided information on the transportation benefits of the project as well as the impact of the project on the proposed corridor's economic development and land use, and identified the capital and operating costs of the project and the sources of capital and operating funding.
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3. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
What does it mean that the Urban Circulator Discretionary grants would be for exempt projects?
Answer:
Capital investment projects receiving less than $25,000,000 in Section 5309 federal assistance are considered exempt from the evaluation criteria and rating process pursuant to Section 5309(e)(1)(B). Thus, the projects funded with the Urban Circulator grants would only be rated on the livability criteria listed in the Federal Register notice.
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4. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
Who can apply for these grants?
Answer:
Eligible applicants under this program 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, who are authorized to engage in public transportation.
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5. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
What else will FTA consider in its selection of projects to be awarded funding?
Answer:
When selecting projects to be awarded funding, FTA will consider whether the project can begin construction within eighteen months of receipt of the discretionary grant and whether the applicant demonstrates the ability to carry out the proposed project successfully. Applicants must have basic technical, legal, and financial capacity as a precondition of grant award as evidenced by: 1. Project Schedule: A feasible and sufficiently detailed project schedule demonstrating that the project can begin construction within eighteen months of receipt of a Discretionary Grant and that the Grant Funds will be spent steadily and expeditiously once construction starts. 2. Environmental Approvals: Receipt (or reasonably anticipated receipt) of all environmental approvals necessary for the project to proceed to construction on the timeline specified in the project schedule, including satisfaction of all Federal, State and local requirements and completion of the National Environmental Policy Act process. Applicants must consult with their FTA regional office to determine the feasibility of a reasonably anticipated receipt of an environmental decision on the proposed project. 3. Legislative Approvals: Receipt of all necessary legislative approvals. The project application must demonstrate: 1) that development or redevelopment agreements are in place with respect to the project; 2) land use policies complementary to the project have been adopted for land in close proximity to the project; and 3) property zoned to accommodate mixed-use development is available adjacent to the project. 4. State and Local Planning: The project must be included in the relevant State, metropolitan, and local planning documents. All regionally significant projects requiring an action by FTA must be in the metropolitan transportation plan, Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) and Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). A project will not receive an Urban Circulator Discretionary Grant until it is included in the metropolitan transportation plan (where applicable), TIP and/or STIP. 5. Technical Feasibility: The technical feasibility of the project, including completion of sufficient engineering and design. 6. Financial Feasibility: The viability and completeness of the project's financing package, including evidence of stable and reliable financial commitments and contingency reserves, as appropriate, and evidence of the grant recipient's ability to manage grants.
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6. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
Does a project need to be ready for construction to be awarded a Section 5309 Discretionary Grant for Urban Circulators?
Answer:
When selecting projects to be awarded funding, FTA will give priority to projects that can begin construction within eighteen months of being awarded the Section 5309 discretionary grant.
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7. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
To what extent should applications include a plan for operating and maintaining the project?
Answer:
Applicants should include a plan for operating and maintaining the project to demonstrate their ability to carry out the proposed project successfully. Applicants must have basic technical, legal, and financial capacity as a precondition of grant award as evidenced by the viability and completeness of the project's financing package, including evidence of stable and reliable financial commitments and contingency reserves, as appropriate, and evidence of the grant recipient's ability to manage grants.
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8. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
Can operating and maintenance costs be funded with the Urban Circulator Grants expense?
Answer:
No, operating costs cannot be funded with Section 5309 grants.
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9. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
Where can I find the Notice of Funding availability?
Answer:
The announcement is available on the FTA website at: http://www.fta.dot.gov/.
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10. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
Is there a standard form to apply for Urban Circulator discretionary grants?
Answer:
There is not an application form to apply for Urban Circulator discretionary grants. Section IV B of the Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for Urban Circulators includes a description of all the information that should be submitted with an application.
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11. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
What is the Department of Transportation's Livability Initiative?
Answer:
On June 16, 2009, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Ray LaHood, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson announced a new partnership to help American families in all communities –- rural, suburban and urban – gain better access to affordable housing, more transportation options, and lower transportation costs. DOT, HUD and EPA created a high-level interagency partnership to better coordinate federal transportation, environmental protection, and housing investments. Through the Urban Circulator Program grants, FTA will invest in a limited number of projects that fulfill the six livability principles that serve as the foundation for the DOT-HUD-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities: Provide more transportation choices Promote equitable, affordable housing Enhance economic competitiveness Support existing communities Coordinate policies and leverage investment Value communities and neighborhoods
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12. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
Would completion of the National Environmental Policy Act process be an eligible expense under the Urban Circulator Program?
Answer:
Because FTA seeks to fund Urban Circulator projects which can begin construction within eighteen months of receipt of a Discretionary Grant, FTA is limiting awards under the Urban Circulator program to final design and construction activities only. Projects which have not begun the environmental review process would not be competitive for this program.
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13. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
Can in-kind contributions be claimed as expenses against any FTA grants?
Answer:
In-Kind Contributions represent the value of non-cash contributions provided by: (1) the recipient, (2) other public agencies and institutions, and (3) private organizations and individuals. In-kind contributions may consist of charges for real property and equipment, and value of goods and services directly benefiting and specifically identifiable to the grant program. When authorized by Federal legislation, property purchased with Federal funds may be considered as grantee’s in-kind contribution. Equipment can be donated, if FTA and the recipient agree on its value - - then only when authorized by Federal legislation may property purchased with Federal funds be considered as the recipient’s in-kind contributions.
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14. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
Will FTA approve a deferred local share as the match under this program?
Answer:
FTA will not approve deferred local share under this program.
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15. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
What is an Alternatives Analysis?
Answer:
An alternatives analysis is a study conducted as part of the metropolitan or statewide transportation planning process that includes an assessment of a wide range of public transportation alternatives designed to address a transportation problem in a corridor or subarea. For the purposes of approving projects under the Section 5309 Capital Investment program, FTA must also ensure the Alternatives Analysis results in the selection of a locally preferred alternative and the adoption of the locally preferred alternative into the long-range transportation plan required under 49 USC 5303.
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16. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
What is a fixed guideway?
Answer:
49 U.S.C. 5302(a)(4) defines a "fixed guideway" as a public transportation facility that uses and occupies a separate right-of-way or rail for the exclusive use of public transportation and other high occupancy vehicles OR uses a fixed catenary system and a right of way usable by other forms of transportation.
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17. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
How will FTA now determine which projects to recommend in the annual President's budget for Full Funding Grant Agreements (FFGAs) and Project Construction Grant Agreements (PCGAs)?
Answer:
The Administration will no longer target its funding recommendations only to projects that receive a Medium or better cost-effectiveness rating. Instead, FTA will rely on the statutory framework contained in Sections 5309(d) and (e) of Title 49, United States Code, as amended. Thus, in order to be eligible for a funding recommendation, a project must receive an overall rating of at least Medium and be expected to be ready for an FFGA or PCGA in the fiscal year for which the President's Budget is being developed. To receive an overall project rating of Medium or better, a project's justification and the local financial commitment ratings both must be Medium or better. Cost-effectiveness will continue to be evaluated as one of the six statutory project justification criteria.
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18. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
May other federal funds be used to match 5310 (New Freedom) and 5307 (JARC) grants?
Answer:
Section 5310 local share matching funds may be derived from Federal programs that are eligible to be expended for transporatation, other than DOT programs, or from DOT's Federal Lands Highway Program. Section 5316 requires all local share to be provided from sources other than Federal DOT funds. FTA Circular 9070.17 FTA Circular 9050.1
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19. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
1. Since eligible Mobility Management projects have a capital match of 20%, would mobility management projects count towards the 55% floor requirement for capital projects? 2. Is the 55% requirement for the annual apportionment, or over the two-year MAP-21 period? Concerns were raised that from year to year, project proposals resulting from solicitations vary, and the DR may receive more operating proposals than capital one year and vice versa the next year. Since the DR has to rely on local organizations to provide matching funds, they are reliant on what project proposals come in each year. The 55% could be more readily met with flexibility over a two year period.
Answer:
Mobility Management projects were eligible capital expenses under SAFETEA-LU (80% -20% match). These types of projects retain their eligiblilty characteristics under MAP-21 as capital projects with the same matching requirments. Mobility Management projects are public transportation projects planned, designed, and carried out to meet the special needs of seniors and individuals with disabilities when public transportation is insufficient, inappropriate, or unavailable. The amount available for these capital projects shall be not less than 55 percent of the funds apportioned to the recipient. Therefore, they count towards the 55% floor requirement for capital projects. The 55% floor requirement for capital projects counts toward the annual apportionment. Even though MAP-21 is a two year authorization, recipients cannot combine multiple years apportionments for funding capital projects that are counted toward the 55% floor.
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20. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
I was scheduled to attend the recent State management Review workshop, but was unable to attend. Is there a copy of the workbook online that I can download or can I have one sent to me?
Answer:
The following is the link to the State Management Review (SMR) Program Workshop Workshop Workbook that is on the FTA Public Website. http://www.fta.dot.gov/images/content_images/FY2013_SMR_Workbook_REV_2_FINAL_05.31.13.pdf
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21. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
If a company is eligible for the 5310 program, does it matter where they buy the vehicles from? Can it be a local dealer or does it have to go through a certain company?
Answer:
There are a number of regulations that apply to the purchase of vehicles including how an eligible subrecipient should procure a vehicle – often it is not permissible to require purchase from a local dealer and there may be Buy America requirements from 49 CFR Part 661 as well which can be found in the following link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2010-title49-vol7/pdf/CFR-2010-title49-vol7-part661.pdf), specifically section 661.11, "Rolling stock procurements”. FTA Circular C 4220.1F (access this circular from the following link: http://www.fta.dot.gov/legislation_law/12349_8641.html) provides detailed guidance on third party procurement including procurement of rolling stock. Pages 21-22 may be of particular interest. Additionally, 5310 grantees receiving funds from an FTA recipient such as a state or designated recipient should check with their funder with regard to any particular processes that organization may require in addition to what is required by FTA. For more information, please contact the state or designated recipient that oversees your grant.
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22. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
Hello, I understand tha the 5316 grant program is no longer available. I would like to know if there are any other programs which will provide operating funds for employment related transportation?
Answer:
Yes, Job access and reverse commute activities (the former Section 5316) are now eligible under the Urbanized Area Formula program (Section 5307) as well as the Rural Area Formula program (Section 5311). A Job access and reverse commute project is a transportation project to finance planning, capital, and operating costs that support the development and maintenance of transportation services designed to transport welfare recipients and eligible low-income individuals to and from jobs and activities related to their employment, including transportation projects that facilitate the provision of public transportation services from urbanized areas and rural areas to suburban employment locations.
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23. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
All U.S. public buses I know of offer reduced fares to persons with disabilities. Is this required under transportation law? I ask this because I desire to be prepared in the event that a public transportation bus does not offer me a reduced fare (I am a person with a disability who qualifies for reduced fare).
Answer:
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24. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
I'm a disabled citizen w/TBI/PTSD/physical injuries. I've five half fare cards from multiple transits agencies including Portland OR, Salem OR, Lodi CA, Washington DC, Eugene OR. I travel USA. The transits systems usually permit me to use my out of town transits agency card while I wait for one from the new town I arrive- also many times I have no way to apply for a new card in every town I reach. I have successfully told bus drivers I have a card from out of town. Many transits agencies even list on their websites such as Modesto CA, or New York, NY, or Washington DC that an out of town card can be used to get half fare or to obtain a new card in the respective town. However upon entering some towns including Ocean City and Pittsburgh PA I was denied access to ADA disability fare. In Pittsburgh PA the drivers allowed me to use my out of town card - providing half fare. But then another driver will not allow it. Tonight I road one bus to Olive Garden and got half fare, but then upon riding home the new driver refused and made me pay over $6.25 for a ride that should have cost $1.25. He said he didn't care about any of my ADA cards from other terroritories. Can the FTA please unify the system and rules so that I as a disabled person am not discriminated against again and given grief, and denied access to the half fare I have a right to? Shouldn't they make it easy to get by accepting out of town out of county transit cards? Or how about my SSI paperwork as proof? Unfortunately I'm only 31 so I don't have a Medicare card but I have SSI paperwork and doctors paperwork, as well as other transit system ADA cards confirming my disability/eligibility. I feel transit agencies are asking too much/obstructing access by requiring a dedicated ADA card that isn't even available same day in every town I go to as I travel as a disabled citizen. Many of these agencies are also demanding me to get new doctors signature everytime when I can't get a new doctor every
Answer:
Thank you for contacting the Federal Transit Administration. The half fare policy requiring transit agencies to offer reduced fare to people with disabilities and seniors is an FTA program requirement under Section 5307 of the United States Code. This requirement is not part of the Americans with Disabilities Act. It is an FTA requirement only. All transit agencies that receive federal funds are required to comply with the half fare policy. However, FTA does not mandate how the agencies should apply this policy. If you know you are going to travel, you can contact the transit agency in the city you are visiting ahead of time to inquire about half fare requirements. Some agencies will honor an out of town identification card and other agencies will provide a temporary card to be used while you are visiting. Each agency has its own policy on how to honor the half fare policy for out of state visitors. Tara Clark Program Manager Office of Program Management
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25. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
Does a transit system have to offer a senior/disabled half fare discount on anything other than its base fare; say for example half fare on its 31 day passes?
Answer:
Thank you for contacting the Federal Transit Administration. The half fare policy requiring transit agencies to offer reduced fare to people with disabilities and seniors is an FTA program requirement under Section 5307 of the United States Code. All transit agencies that receive federal funds are required to comply with this policy. This requirement is explained on page VI-4 of the 9030.1E Circular which is the policy document for the Section 5307 program. (6) Fares Charged to Seniors and Persons with Disabilities During Nonpeak Hours. According to 49 U.S.C. 5307(c)(1)(D), a recipient must certify that the fares charged to seniors, individuals with disabilities, or individuals presenting a Medicare card during nonpeak hours, for transportation using or involving a facility or equipment of a project financed under this section, are not more than 50 percent of the peak hour fare, regardless of whether the service is provided by the recipient or by another entity under contract, lease, or other arrangement. The half fare policy specifically applies to peak hour fares. FTA has never mandated that other fares, for example, monthly passes, be available to seniors and people with disabilities at half the regular pass rate. However, many transit agencies do offer a reduced monthly pass, particularly bus-only agencies that do not define peak and off-peak hours or do not have different fares based on time of day. Because a monthly pass allows for unlimited rides, there is no fare-by-fare or trip-by-trip fare equivalent on which to base a half-fare. For additional information please contact: Tara Clark Program Manager tara.clark@dot.gov
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26. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
Relative to reduced-fare on fixed-route, is a transit agency mandated by federal law to allow individuals receiving SSI automatic access to a reduced-fare without a successful reduced-fare application? We recognize that those who are Medicare-approved do not have to fill out an application for reduced fare under the regulations, but what about those who are only on SSI?
Answer:
The half fare policy requiring transit agencies to offer reduced fare to people with disabilities and seniors is an FTA program requirement under Section 5307 of the United States Code. All transit agencies that receive federal funds are required to comply with this policy. This requirement is explained on page VI-4 of the 9030.1E Circular which is the policy document for the Section 5307 program: (6) Fares Charged to Seniors and Persons with Disabilities During Nonpeak Hours. According to 49 U.S.C. 5307(c)(1)(D), a recipient must certify that the fares charged to seniors, individuals with disabilities, or individuals presenting a Medicare card during nonpeak hours, for transportation using or involving a facility or equipment of a project financed under this section, are not more than 50 percent of the peak hour fare, regardless of whether the service is provided by the recipient or by another entity under contract, lease, or other arrangement. Because a Medicare card does not constitute proof of an individual’s identity, it is reasonable for a transit agency to request confirmation of the individual’s identity, either through secondary photo identification or by using a photographic identification card issued by the transit agency. It is also reasonable for a transit agency to verify the validity of the Medicare card being presented, and to facilitate the half-fare application process, a transit agency may request that the applicant validate the status of the card at the time the half-fare application is presented. Each transit agency determines how this policy will be implemented. For additional information please contact: Tara Clark Program Manager tara.clark@dot.gov
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27. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
I have two questions regarding the Section 5310 Program: 1. What is age demographic that a person would be considered elderly under the 5310 program? and; 2. Is "addiction" and or "homelessness" considered a disability?
Answer:
Thank you for your inquiry. Response to Question 1: For Section 5310 program, an "elderly" person or a "Senior" as referred to in the program circular is defined as "An individual who is 65 years or older." Response to Question 2: For Section 5310 Program funds, a disability is defined as, "Disability: The term disability has the same meaning as in section 3(1) of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12102). The term “disability” means, with respect to an individual— (A) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual; (B) a record of such an impairment; or (C) being regarded as having such an impairment." You may review guidance on Section 5310 Program at the following FTA website: https://www.transit.dot.gov/regulations-and-guidance/fta-circulars/enhanced-mobility-seniors-and-individuals-disabilities. Additionally, you may also seek technical assistance support through our partners at National Aging and Disability Transportation Center (NADTC). Their website is http://www.nadtc.org/, for more information.
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28. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
What would be eligible expenses under the Urban Circulator program?
Answer:
Section 5309(b) grants authority to the Secretary to make capital grants to assist State and local governmental authorities in financing new fixed guideway capital projects, extensions to existing fixed guideway systems, or corridor based bus investments including the acquisition of real property, the initial acquisition of rolling stock for the systems, the acquisition of rights-of-way, and relocation. Operating funding is not an eligible expense under the program. Although Section 5309 also allows the Secretary to make grants for fixed guideway corridor development for projects in the advanced stages of alternatives analysis or preliminary engineering, due to the limited amount of funds available, FTA is limiting awards under the Urban Circulator program to final design and construction activities only. Section 5309 funds cannot be used to reimburse grantees that have incurred prior expenses for the project absent evidence that FTA had issued a Letter of No Prejudice (LONP) for the project prior to the costs being incurred. There is no blanket pre-award authority for projects to be funded under this announcement prior to the identification in the Federal Register of selected projects.
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29. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
What is an Urban Circulator System?
Answer:
Urban circulator systems such as streetcars and rubber-tire trolley lines provide a transportation option that connects urban destinations and foster the redevelopment of urban spaces into walkable mixed use, high density environments. Typically, an urban circulator operates regular service within a closed loop – usually 3 miles or shorter in length – and serves an urban area such as the Portland Streetcar, the Denver 16th Street shuttlebus or the Lynx LYMMO in Orlando which is a bus-based fixed guideway. FTA believes projects that provide circulation through an urban area qualify, whether or not they have an actual loop as long as they follow a course that returns to the starting point and distributes riders around the area.
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30. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
Why did FTA announce the availability of funds for Urban Circulators?
Answer:
Improving mobility and shaping America's future by ensuring that the transportation system is accessible, integrated, and efficient, and offers flexibility of choices is a key strategic goal of DOT. FTA is committed to creating livable communities that improve the quality of life for all Americans. Urban circulator systems such as streetcars and rubber-tire trolley lines provide a transportation option that connects urban destinations and fosters the redevelopment of urban spaces into walkable mixed use, high density environments. By using available funds for these specific types of projects, FTA and DOT can support tangible livability improvements within existing programs while demonstrating the feasibility and value of such improvements. These demonstrations can provide a sound basis for advancing greater investments in the future. In addition, the program builds on the momentum generated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 2009 and can help inform Administration and Congressional decision makers on program structure for reauthorization.
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31. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
To whom at FTA should letters of support be addressed?
Answer:
Letters of support for a project from other public and private entities should be addressed to the project sponsor and not FTA.
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32. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
Can eligible applicants partner with private entities to receive funds under this program for a public-private partnership?
Answer:
Yes, eligible applicants can partner with private entities to receive a Section 5309 discretionary grant. FTA encourages projects which leverage public and private investments. FTA will assess the project's involvement of non-Federal entities and the use of non-Federal funds, including the scope of involvement and share of total funding. FTA will give priority to projects that receive financial commitments from, or otherwise involve, State and local governments, other public entities, or private or nonprofit entities, including projects that engage parties that are not traditionally involved in transportation projects, such as nonprofit community groups or the private owners of real property abutting the project. FTA will also assess the amount of private debt and equity to be invested in the project or the amount of co-investment from State, local or other non-profit sources.
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33. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
Is the maximum grant for an Urban Circulator less than $25 million?
Answer:
Yes. In order for the project to be considered exempt from evaluation and rating under the statutory New Starts and Small Starts criteria, the maximum grant for an Urban Circulator can be no greater than $25 million. FTA will provide up to 80% of the net project capital cost; however the amount of Section 5309 Capital Investment funds requested should be no greater than $25 million for each urban circulator project. Other Federal funds that are eligible to be expended for transportation capital projects can be applied to the project.
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34. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
Are there statutory requirements that must be met to use Section 5309 Capital Investment discretionary funds?
Answer:
Yes. To be eligible for funding under Section 5309, a project must be based on the results of an alternative analysis and preliminary engineering. In addition, a project must meet one of the following guideway criteria: 1. Be a fixed guideway for at least 50% of the project length in the peak period OR 2. Be a corridor-based bus project with the following minimum elements: a. Substantial Transit Stations b. Signal Priority/Pre-emption (for Bus/LRT) c. Low Floor / Level Boarding Vehicles d. Special Branding of Service e. Frequent Service - 10 min peak/15 min off peak f. Service offered at least 14 hours per day
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35. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
Who should I contact if I have additional questions?
Answer:
You can contact Elizabeth Day, (202) 366–5159, e-mail: Elizabeth.Day@ dot.gov in the FTA Office of Planning and Environment, Office of Project Planning. A TDD is available at 1–800–877–8339 (TDD/ FIRS) for general program information. For proposal-specific information and issues, contact your FTA Regional Administrator.
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36. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
Is construction to add shelters to provide protection from sun and inclement weather to light rail station ramps specifically for disabled and/or elderly passengers who must use the ramp to access the light rail stations an eligible activity under the Section 5317 New Freedom program?
Answer:
New Freedom funds may be used to construct accessible bus shelters or to modify existing bus shelters to make them accessible.
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37. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
What are the requirements on visitors with an ADA eligibilty card from another transit agency that wishes to use the visiting fixed route agencies service for the reduce fare? Is their ADA eligibilty card from their home agency still acceptable for the 21 day period? Can an agency adopt a policy in regards to visitors to apply for a visitor pass prior to making the visiting rider eligible for reduced fare?
Answer:
The half fare program, as applied, may require passengers to show proof of eligibility when they pay their fare in order to receive the half fare. A transit agency may require passengers to have a special identification card as the sole basis for obtaining the half fare. FTA recognizes a valid Medicare card as sufficient identification for obtaining such a reduced fare card for all transit systems. Transit agencies may establish their own forms of an ADA eligibility card as well, but they must accept the Medicare card. Therefore, a transit agency may require visitors to obatin their ADA eligibility card before allowing the visitors to take advantage of the reduced fare program if the visitors do not have a valid Medicare card. References: Chapter 53 of Title 49, Section 5307(d)(1)
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38. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
How do I get grant money to purchase shuttle buses for my transportation business?
Answer:
Unfortunately, the FTA does not provide grants to individuals, but to States, local governments and public transportation agencies for the planning, construction, and operation of public transportation systems. Perhaps you may find more information or opportunities on http://www.grants.gov/.
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39. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
How does this change affect National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) approvals of New and Small Starts projects?
Answer:
Existing FTA New and Small Starts policy guidance related to NEPA approvals does not address the previous cost effectiveness policy specifically. Instead, it states that the environmental decision document for a New or Small Starts project with an overall project rating of less than Medium must include a statement as to how the New or Small Starts process may affect the ability of the project to advance to implementation. This does not change.
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40. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
Will this alter FTA's process for reviewing ridership estimations, calculation of transportation system user benefits, or comparison of the proposed project with a baseline alternative?
Answer:
In the near term, the evaluation and rating process will remain as is, including FTA's review of ridership estimations, calculation of user benefits, and comparison with a baseline alternative. Changes in one or more of these areas may occur as a result of regulatory changes.
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41. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
Will FTA be changing how cost-effectiveness is calculated?
Answer:
In the near term, the New and Small Starts evaluation and rating process, including the calculation of cost-effectiveness, will remain as it is. However, FTA will soon put out a rulemaking for public comment that will propose ideas for better measuring and quantifying the benefits provided by transit projects including environmental, economic development, congestion relief, and other social benefits. FTA will propose a revised cost-effectiveness calculation that more fully takes into account this wider range of benefits. FTA encourages active participation by the transit industry on this rulemaking and looks forward to hearing input from our grantees and stakeholders.
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42. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
How will the rescission of the requirement for at least a Medium cost-effectiveness rating for a funding recommendation affect projects already in the New/Small Starts pipeline?
Answer:
Most of the projects currently in the New Starts pipeline have a cost-effectiveness rating of Medium or better. The few that do not could be affected favorably by this change, as long as an overall project rating of at least Medium is maintained. The change also benefits those projects close to the threshold between a Medium and Medium-low cost-effectiveness rating since projects in this situation in the past sometimes have had to select sub-optimal design options to remain at a Medium rating for cost-effectiveness.
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43. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
How does this affect FTA's New and Small Starts approval process for entry into preliminary engineering, final design, or project development?
Answer:
Previously, FTA did not prohibit new projects from entering into New Starts preliminary engineering or Small Starts project development if they had a cost-effectiveness rating less than Medium as long as the overall project rating was at least Medium. However, FTA did previously prohibit New Starts projects from moving into final design if they had a cost-effectiveness rating of less than Medium. With this new change, all projects will be allowed to advance through the various phases of project development as long as they receive a Medium or better overall rating and have met the other readiness requirements associated with advancement into that stage.
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44. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
What is a Grant?
Answer:
Grants are not benefits or entitlements. A federal grant is an award of financial assistance from a federal agency to a recipient to carry out a public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by a law of the United States. Federal grants are not federal assistance or loans to individuals.
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45. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
How can I find a grant opportunity or obtain federal funding?
Answer:
Discretionary Grant opportunities offered by the federal agencies can be found on the Grants.gov website http://grants.gov/. FTA publishes all discretionary funding opportunities in grants.gov and in many instances also announces them in the Federal Register http://www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/browse.html and on the FTA website as “notices of funding availability” at http://www.fta.dot.gov/funding/apportionments/grants_financing_7829.html . FTA posts all competitive grant and cooperative agreement opportunities on Grants.gov, the comprehensive government wide website for announcing competitive grant opportunities. Grants.gov is one of 24 Federal E-government initiatives to improve access to services via the Internet. It is the single, secure Federal website unifying 1000 grant programs from 26 Federal grant-making agencies. Please follow this link to search for competitive opportunities or to find out more about Grants.gov http://grants.gov/.
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46. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
How can I find information about available funding and apply for a grant?
Answer:
All discretionary grants offered by the 26 federal grant-making agencies can be found on Grants.gov http://grants.gov/. The opportunities are located under “Find grant opportunities” http://www07.grants.gov/applicants/find_grant_opportunities.jsp . New applicants for grants or cooperative agreements must submit their applications via grants.gov or as indicated in the announcement of funding availability. You do not have to register with Grants.gov to find grant opportunities. However, once you are ready to apply for a grant, you will need to register. This process takes 3-5 business days.
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47. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
What are FTA Grant Programs?
Answer:
FTA sponsors a number of major grant programs and each program is referred to by name and number that correlates to Title 49 of the United States Code. The Clean Fuels Formula Program, for example, can be found in 49 USC § 5308. A listing of all FTA grant programs and associated information can be found by following the available links at http://www.fta.dot.gov/funding/grants_financing_263.html.
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48. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
As an individual, how do I find information on federal and state grants, benefits, or assistance? Where can I search for grants or assistance to pay off debt, bills, or medical costs? Where can I find information on government benefits that I may be eligible to receive?
Answer:
If you are an individual looking for information on government benefits, refer to GovBenefits.gov http://www.govbenefits.gov, the official government benefits website, a free, confidential tool that helps individuals find government benefits they may be eligible to receive, as well as information on how to apply.
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49. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
Is the FTA looking for proposals for passenger train interior car design to minimize injuries related to accidents? If so, how do I obtain information on when such a request for proposal is available?
Answer:
FTA publishes Notices of Funding Opportunities in the Federal Register as well as posts them on the FTA website at http://www.fta.dot.gov/funding/grants_financing_7829.html. Additionally you may be able to find opportunites announced via the Grants.gov website at http://grants.gov/
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50. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
Does this change affect the projects considered eligible for funding under the Urban Circulator notice of funding availability?
Answer:
This change does not affect the Urban Circulator program in any way. Because they will receive less than $25 million in Section 5309 Major Capital Investment funds, Urban Circulator projects will be exempt from the evaluation criteria and rating process pursuant to Section 5309(e)(1)(B). As stated in the notice of funding availability, Urban Circulator projects will be evaluated solely on the livability criteria listed in the Federal Register notice. The Federal Register notice does not mention cost-effectiveness as a criterion.
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51. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
We have finished the projects on the FTA approved budget but money still remains. What can we do?
Answer:
- Revise the project budget if the funds have not lapsed and use remaining funds for another project that fits the "Scope" of the original grant. - Split fund projects - Notify FTA that you intend to, for example, pay for a bus partially from one grant that has remaining money and partially from another FTA funded grant. - Request FTA to deobligate the remaining funds and reobligate into a newer FTA grant.
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52. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
When do I submit a grant application after all information has been added to TEAM?
Answer:
Call the FTA regional office to have an official grant number assigned, if the grant number is provided, you can submit immediately, unless you receive special instructions.
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53. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
When do I contact FTA regarding a Closeout request?
Answer:
Contact FTA regarding a closeout after you have completed and submitted your final FSR and Quarterly Milestone reports. If your closeout requires you to adjust the budget to reflect actual money spent, include a budget revision with your final FSR and Milestone reports.
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54. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
How long does it take to get an approved grant from FTA?
Answer:
Our policy is to approve all COMPLETE application within 60 days from the time the application was submitted to FTA. Application is not considered complete if STIP, environmental or legal issues still remain despite having all the fields in TEAM complete.
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55. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
When is the deadline to have the Annual Certification and Assurances (C&A) submitted?
Answer:
The C&A's are due 90 days after the Federal Register containing the Annual C&A's is released. C&A's are normally issued in October but may be issued later due to fiscal year activities.
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56. Category:
Transit Grant Programs
Question:
What are Section 5309 Capital Investment discretionary funds?
Answer:
"Section 5309 funds" refer to the Capital Investment grant funds authorized under 49 U.S.C. 5309. The Secretary may make grants under Section 5309 to assist State and local governmental authorities in financing new fixed guideway capital projects, extensions to existing fixed guideway systems, or corridor based bus investments including the acquisition of real property, the initial acquisition of rolling stock for the systems, the acquisition of rights-of-way, and relocation.
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