Formula Grants for Rural Areas and Tribal Transit Program

 

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. The Public Transportation on Indian Reservations Program is a set-aside form the Formula Grants for Rural Areas program that consists of both a formula and competitive grant program for federally recognized Indian tribes or Alaska Native villages, groups or communities in rural areas.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Active
Program Number
20.509
Federal Agency/Office
Federal Transit Administration, Department of Transportation
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
A - Formula Grants
Program Accomplishments
Fiscal Year 2016 Approximately 167 million trips in rural areas are provided annually. Additionally, FTA allocated approximately $30 million to 124 tribes for the purpose of expanding transportation services and improving the quality of life for tribes in Indian Country. During the 22nd National Rural and Intercity Bus Conference, FTA’s Acting Administrator presented the Administrator’s Award to three rural transit providers that improved the mobility of Americans in rural areas and enhanced access to employment, health care, and other community services. The award recipients included the following: • Durango Transit in Durango, CO; • Barry County Transit in Hastings, MI; and • Tri-Valley Heartland Express in Crookston, MN
Fiscal Year 2017 Approximately 167 million trips in rural areas are provided annually. Additionally, FTA allocated approximately $30 million to 124 tribes for the purpose of expanding transportation services and improving the quality of life for tribes in Indian Country.
Fiscal Year 2018 The rural transit program is anticipated to continue.
Fiscal Year 2019 The programs continue to provide funding to rural areas in support of public transportation. In 2019, The Native Village of Buckland initiated transit service to provide greater access to jobs, school, healthcare and other services.
Authorization
Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, Public Law 114-94, 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. For the Public Transportation on Indian Reservations Program, eligible applicants include federally recognized Indian tribes or Alaska Native villages, groups, or communities as identified by the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs. Additionally, applicants must be located and provide service in a rural area with a population of 50,000 or less.
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. For the Public Transportation on Indian Reservations Program as evidence of Federal recognition, an Indian tribe may submit a copy of the most up-to-date Federal Register notice published by BIA: Entities Recognized and Eligible to Receive Service from the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs.
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 listing. 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
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. 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. In order to receive Public Transportation on Indian Reservations Program formula funds, a tribe must report to the National Transit Database on an annual basis. The steps for applying to the competitive discretionary program are listed yearly in the Notice of Funding Availability published with the Federal Register.
Award Procedure
The Federal Transit Administration approves the State's or tribe's program of projects. An FTA grant award obligating Federal funds is reflected in a grant agreement. To access funds, the state or tribe must execute the grant agreement. The state implements grant agreements or other instructions with the subrecipients. The Public Transportation on Indian Reservations competitive discretionary grant project selections are announced and implementation procedures to begin the process outlined above are provided at the time of announcement.
Deadlines
Contact the headquarters or regional location, as appropriate for application deadlines
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
From 90 to 120 days. As prescribed by the State agency or tribe designated to administer the Section 5311 program. FTA approves grants on a quarterly release cycle.
Appeals
Not applicable.
Renewals
Not applicable.
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 Public Transportation on Indian Reservations (Tribal Transit) formula, Tribal Transit discretionary and Appalachian Development Public Transportation Assistance Formula Programs.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Reporting
Performance Reports: National Transit Database reports are required annually.
Auditing
Not applicable.
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 For the Public Transportation on Indian Reservation Program, no local match is required for the formula program. A 10 percent local match is required under the discretionary program for both capital and operating expenses. There is no match requirement for planning grants under the discretionary program.

Matching is mandatory. The program operates under the statutory formula prescribed in 49 USC 5335. The federal share is not 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. Recipients may use up to 20 percent of the amounts apportioned under Section 5311 for ADA complementary paratransit at an 80 percent federal share if certain conditions are met. Under the Public Transportation on Indian Reservation Program, no local match is required for the formula program. A 10 percent local match is required under the discretionary program for both capital and operating expenses. There is no match requirement for planning grants under the discretionary program.

This program has MOE requirements, see funding agency for further details. Additional Information: This program has MOE requirements; see funding agency for further details.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Formula funds are apportioned annually to the States or tribal recipients. Amounts apportioned are available for obligation by the State designated agency or tribal recipients 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 or tribal recipients 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.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
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
Elan Flippin, Office of Program Management
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE.
Washington, DC 20590 US
elan.flippin@dot.gov
Phone: (202) 366-3800
Website Address
http://www.fta.dot.gov
Financial Information
Account Identification
69-8350-0-7-401
Obligations
(Formula Grants) FY 18$665,576,907.00; FY 19 est $656,025,420.00; FY 20 est $669,933,159.00; FY 17$754,361,641.00; FY 16$619,956,000.00; -
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
In 2018, the average award for a formula grant received under the Public Transportation on Indian Reservations Program was $247,934, ranging from $1,572 to $1,321,904. The average award for the competitive grant program was $138,834, ranging from $25,000 to $300,000. In 2019, the average award under the Formula Grants for Rural Areas was approximately $13,600,000, ranging from approximately $300,000 to $30,000,000.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
FTA Circular 9040.1, Nonurbanized Area Formula Program Guidance and Grant Application instructions.
Examples of Funded Projects
Fiscal Year 2016 The Formula Grants for Rural Areas projects will continue to support capital, planning, and operating assistance to states to support public transportation in rural areas with populations of less than 50,000, where many residents often rely on public transit to reach their destinations. The program also provides funding for state and national training and technical assistance through the Rural Transportation Assistance Program. The Formula Grants for Rural Areas projects supported capital, planning, and operating assistance to states to support public transportation in rural areas with populations of less than 50,000, where many residents often relied on public transit to reach their destinations. The program also provided funding for state and national training and technical assistance through the Rural Transportation Assistance Program.
Fiscal Year 2018 The Formula Grants for Rural Areas projects support capital, planning, and operating assistance to states to support public transportation in rural areas with populations of less than 50,000, where many residents often rely on public transit to reach their destinations. The program also provides funding for state and national training and technical assistance through the Rural Transportation Assistance Program. In 2018, the Public Transportation on Indian Reservations Program awarded $30,000,000 in formula funds to 121 tribal recipients and selected 36 projects for 35 tribes in 14 states for $4,998,028 in competitive grant funds.
Fiscal Year 2019 In 2019, 55 states and US territories were allocated funds under this program.