Formula Grants for Rural Areas

 

To improve, initiate, or continue public transportation service in nonurbanized areas (rural areas and small cities under 50,000 in population) and to provide technical assistance for rural transportation providers. The Section 5311 program supports both the maintenance of existing public transportation services and the expansion of those services through the following program goals: enhancing access in rural areas to health care, shopping, education, employment, public services, and recreation; assisting in the maintenance, development, improvement, and use of public transportation systems in rural areas; encouraging and facilitating the most efficient use of all transportation funds used to provide passenger transportation in rural areas through the coordination of programs and services; providing financial assistance to help carry out national goals related to mobility for all, including seniors, individuals with disabilities, and low-income individuals; increasing availability of transportation options through investments in intercity bus services; assisting in the development and support of intercity bus transportation; encouraging mobility management, employment-related transportation alternatives, joint development practices, and transit-oriented development; and providing for the participation of private transportation providers in rural public transportation.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Active
Program Number
20.509
Federal Agency/Office
Agency: Department of Transportation
Office: Federal Transit Administration (FTA)
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
FORMULA GRANTS
Program Accomplishments
Fiscal Year 2014: In 2014, FTA recognized five systems in rural public transportation for their contribution to promoting and enahancing rurual transit: North Central Regional Transit District, Espanola, NM used funding to serve over 50 communities with transportation across 10,000 square miles; Streamline Transportation, Bozeman, MT operates service in several communities, carrying 325,000 riders in 2014; Crawford Area Transit Authority, Meadville, PA provides a consistent, seven day a week service to ensure access to employment for transit-dependent riders; Jaunt Inc. in Charlottesville, VA provides essential employment transportation to its community; Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) in Lakewood, CO operates transit service in a 70-mile corridor and uses nearly $1 million in Section 5311 funding to enable many low-income workers who cannot afford to live near Aspen to access jobs in that economic growth area. Additionally, the Nome Eskimo Community received funding to implement public transportation for the community and tribal members of Nome, which is located on the western coast of Alaska. The transit service provides access to employment, social services, low-income housing, and health care. Fiscal Year 2015: Approximately 150 million trips in rural areas are provided annually. Additionally, FTA allocated approximately $25 million to 114 tribes for the purpose of expanding transportation services and improving the quality of life for tribes in Indian Country. Fiscal Year 2016: The rural transit program is anticipated to continue.
Authorization
Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), Public Law 112-141, 49 U.S.C 5311.
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
Only designated State agencies and Indian Tribes may apply directly to FTA for grants. Eligible sub-recipients may include State agencies, local public bodies and agencies thereof, nonprofit organizations, Indian tribes, and operators of public transportation services, including intercity bus service, in rural and small urban areas. Private for-profit operators of transit or paratransit services may participate in the program only through contracts with eligible recipients. Private intercity bus operators may participate as subrecipients or through contracts. Urbanized areas, as defined by the Bureau of the Census, are not eligible.
Beneficiary Eligibility
The general public, both users and nonusers, and private and public providers of public transportation in nonurbanized areas.
Credentials/Documentation
The State agency must be designated by the Governor to administer the program. Projects must be included in the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) approved by FTA and FHWA. The state and sub-recipients must agree to the standard labor protection warranty for the program. Environmental assessments may be required. Compliance with FTA's annual list of Certifications and Assurances is required.

Eligible cost must be in accordance with 2 CFR 200. The state must submit a program of projects listing all sub-recipients and projects in accordance with FTA Circular 9040.1G issued October 24, 2014. FTA annually issues a Federal Register Notice of apportionments, allocations and program information. This information can be found on the FTA website at www.fta.dot.gov or by contacting the appropriate FTA regional office to obtain copies or publication dates. 2 CFR 200 applies to this program. 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles applies to this program.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Preapplication coordination is required. An environmental impact statement is required for this program. This program is eligible for coverage under E.O. 12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.
Application Procedure
This program is excluded from coverage under 2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards. Eligible sub-recipients should submit application to the State agency designated by the Governor to administer the program. This agency will evaluate and select eligible applicants and submit a program of projects to the Federal Transit Administration. .
Award Procedure
The Federal Transit Administration approves the State's program of projects. An FTA grant award obligating Federal funds is reflected in a grant agreement. To access funds, the state must execute the grant agreement. The state implements grant agreements or other instructions with the subrecipients.
Deadlines
Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
From 90 to 120 days. As prescribed by the State agency designated to administer the Section 5311 program. FTA approves grants on a quarterly release cycle.
Appeals
Interested persons are afforded the opportunity of a public hearing for capital projects.
Renewals
Subrecipients typically receive funding through the designated State agency.
How are proposals selected?
The criteria for selecting projects under State allocations is as described by the State designated agency in its procedures or State management plan. There are no criteria for selecting projects under Tribal Transit Formula as allocations are made directly to the tribes. The criteria for selecting projects under the Tribal Transit discretionary program are listed yearly in the Notice of Funding Availability published with the Federal Register.
How may assistance be used?
Section 5311 funds may be used for eligible planning, capital, and operating expenses needed to provide efficient and coordinated public transportation service in non-urbanized areas. States may use up to 10 per cent of the annual apportionment for planning and program administration. Job Access and Reverse Commute projects are also eligible under the program. Projects must provide for the maximum feasible coordination of public transportation sources assisted under this section with transportation services assisted by other Federal sources, and must provide for the maximum feasible participation of private operators. Fifteen percent of the State's annual apportionment must be spent to support rural intercity bus transportation, unless the governor certifies that such needs are adequately met. Rural Transit Assistance Program (RTAP) funds may be used for technical assistance, training, research, and related support services. Additional set-asides under the Section 5311 program include the Tribal Transit formula, Tribal Transit discretionary and Appalachian Development Public Transportation Assistance Formula Programs. States may use up to 10 per cent of the annual apportionment for planning and program administration. Projects must provide for the maximum feasible coordination of public transportation sources assisted under this section with transportation services assisted by other Federal sources, and must provide for the maximum feasible participation of private operators. Fifteen percent of the State's annual apportionment must be spent to support rural intercity bus transportation, unless the governor certifies that such needs are adequately met. Rural Transit Assistance Program (RTAP) funds may be used for technical assistance, training, research, and related support services.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Reporting
Annual Program of Projects Status Reports, Milestone Progress Reports, Federal Financial Reports, Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Reports, National Transit Database Reports.Annual Program of Projects Status Reports are required. SF-425. Milestone progress reports are submitted annually. States may require additional reports from recipients. Federal Financial Reports are submitted annually. National Transit Database reports are required annually.
Auditing
In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, non-Federal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503.
Records
Recipient is required to retain intact, for 3 years following submission of the final expenditure report, all contract documents, financial records, and supporting documents.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory Formula: Title 49, Part 18.
Matching Requirements: The program operates under the statutory formula prescribed in 49 USC 5335. The federal share is no to exceed 80 percent of the net project cost for capital projects The federal share may be 90 percent for the cost of vehicle-related equipment attributable to compliance with the American with Disabilities Act and the Clean Air Act or 85 percent for the cost of a vehicle that complies with these requirements. The federal share may also be 90 percent for projects or portions of projects related to bicycle facilities. The federal share may not exceed 50 percent of the net cost for operating assistance. Under the Tribal Transit Program, there is no match for formula grants. Under the Tribal Transit Discretionary Program, there is a 10 percent match requirement.
This program has MOE requirements, see funding agency for further details. This program has MOE requirements; see funding agency for further details.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Funds are apportioned annually to the States. Amounts apportioned are available for obligation by the State designated agency for a period of three years (two years following the close of the fiscal year for which sums are apportioned) and amounts remaining unobligated at the end of such period shall be apportioned among the States for the succeeding fiscal year. States usually fund local recipients on an annual cycle. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: lump sum. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: lump sum.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
See Regional Agency Offices. See Appendix IV of the Catalog for the address of Federal Transit Administration Regional Offices. State Designated Agency: The Governor in each State has designated a State agency to administer the Section 5311 program. This should be the first contact point. Regional Offices: A person from each Federal Transit Administration Regional Office is available to answer questions about Federal regulations related to the Nonurbanized Formula Program.
Headquarters Office
Marianne Stock, Office of Program Management 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, District of Columbia 20590 Phone: (202) 366-2677
Website Address
http://www.fta.dot.gov
Financial Information
Account Identification
69-8350-0-7-401; 69-1129-0-1-401.
Obligations
(Formula Grants) FY 14 $744,926,295; FY 15 est $547,144,910; and FY 16 est $677,674,634
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
No Data Available.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
FTA Circular 9040.1, Nonurbanized Area Formula Program Guidance and Grant Application instructions.
Examples of Funded Projects
Fiscal Year 2014: In 2014, FTA recognized five systems in rural public transportation for their contribution to promoting and enahancing rurual transit: North Central Regional Transit District, Espanola, NM used funding to serve over 50 communities with transportation across 10,000 square miles; Streamline Transportation, Bozeman, MT operates service in several communities, carrying 325,000 riders in 2014; Crawford Area Transit Authority, Meadville, PA provides a consistent, seven day a week service to ensure access to employment for transit-dependent riders; Jaunt Inc. in Charlottesville, VA provides essential employment transportation to its community; Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) in Lakewood, CO operates transit service in a 70-mile corridor and uses nearly $1 million in Section 5311 funding to enable many low-income workers who cannot afford to live near Aspen to access jobs in that economic growth area. Additionally, the Nome Eskimo Community received funding to implement public transportation for the community and tribal members of Nome, which is located on the western coast of Alaska. The transit service provides access to employment, social services, low-income housing, and health care with routes along Kougarok Road. Fiscal Year 2015: Funding will be provided to maintain and expand public transit service in rural areas. Fiscal Year 2016: Funding will be provided to maintain and expand public transit service in rural areas.