New Freedom Program
The New Freedom program (Section 5317) provides grants for new capital and operating projects aimed at reducing, beyond the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, transportation barriers faced by individuals with disabilities to expand mobility through transportation, including transportation to and from jobs and employment support services. The New Freedom Program was repealed under MAP-21; however, New Freedom type projects are eligible for funding under the new Section 5310 Program (Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities Program – Circular FTA C 9070.1G).
General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Agency: Department of Transportation
Office: Federal Transit Administration (FTA)
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
Fiscal Year 2014: The New Freedom formula grant program provided additional tools to overcome existing barriers facing Americans with disabilities seeking integration into the work force and full participation in society. Major gains for the New Freedom Program include expansion of service times that impact availability of transportation services for individuals with disabilities; improving accessible infrastructure including additions or changes to environmental infrastructure (e.g., transportation facilities, sidewalks, etc.); use of technology to improve access; and increases in the number of eligible recipients of service and number of rides for people with disabilities. The 2000 Census showed that only 60 percent of people between the ages of 16 and 64 with disabilities are employed. The New Freedom formula grant program was able to reduce barriers to transportation services and expand the transportation mobility options available to people with disabilities beyond the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. In 2014, New Freedom programs out of Ohio included: a taxi voucher program for same day service, expanded travel training program for riders with disabilities, and weekend service for riders with disabilities with no other form of transportation. Fiscal Year 2015: The New Freedom Act funded Projects will continue to expand accessible transportation options for people with disabilities to enhance their access to employment, education, healthcare and other life activities. New Freedom programs such as mobility management, expansions of service coverage/time, accessible infrastructure improvement, the proliferation of travel training programs, taxi voucher programs, and other above the ADA service will assist more people with disabilities to stay remain active in their communities of choice. Fiscal Year 2016: It is expected that current New Freedom Projects will continue to expand accessible transportation options for people with disabilities to enhance their access to employment, education, healthcare and other life activities. New Freedom programs such as mobility management, expansions of service coverage/time, accessible infrastructure improvement, the proliferation of travel training programs, taxi voucher programs, and other above the ADA service will assist more people with disabilities to stay remain active in their communities of choice. Additionally, as these projects end, the innovations developed through those programs will inform additional projects that could be funded other formula grants such as Section 5310.
Program was repealed under MAP-21 and Safe, Accountable, Efficient, Flexible Transportation Equity Act: A legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) , 49 U.S.C 5310.
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
The chief executive officer of each State or an official designee must designate a public entity to be the recipient for New Freedom funds. In urbanized areas with populations less than 200,000 and in non-urbanized areas, the State is the designated recipient. For these areas, the chief executive officer of a State designates a State agency responsible for administering the New Freedom Program, and officially notifies the appropriate Federal Transit Administration (FTA) regional office in writing of that designation. The chief executive officer of a State may designate the State agency that receives Other Than Urbanized Area (Non-urbanized Area, Section 5311) and/or the Elderly Individuals and Individuals with Disabilities (Section 5310) Program funds to be the New Freedom recipient, or the chief executive officer of a State may designate a different agency. In urbanized areas over 200,000 in population, the recipient charged with administering the New Freedom Program must be officially designated through a process consistent with 49 U.S.C. 5307(a)(2): an entity designated in accordance with the planning process under Sections 5303, 5304, and 5306, by the chief executive officer of a State, responsible local officials, and publicly owned operators of public transportation, to receive and apportion amounts under Section 5336 that are attributable to transportation management areas identified under Section 5303.
Individuals with Disabilities.
Compliance with FTA's Annual list of Certifications and Assurances is required. Eligible costs must be in accordance with 2CFR200. The New Freedom program provides grants for new capital and operating projects aimed at reducing, beyond the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, transportation barriers faced by individuals with disabilities to assist with transportation, including transportation to and from jobs and employment support services. The New Freedom Program was repealed under MAP-21; however, New Freedom projects are eligible for funding under the new Section 5310 Program. This program is excluded from coverage under 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Preapplication coordination is not applicable. An environmental impact assessment 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.
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-102. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-110. The project must be a product of the local coordinated public transit human services coordinated plan, competitively selected by the areas’ recipient, and included in the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) prior to grant award. Recipients will submit applications electronically to the appropriate Federal Transit Administration (FTA) regional office. The FTA regional offices are listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog or visit http://www.fta.dot.gov/12926.html. Recipients will then distribute funding directly to the subrecipients. Notification of the grant program may also be found at http://www.grants.gov.
The New Freedom Program has been repealed. No funding will be appropriated in FY 2014 or beyond. For previously awarded FTA New Freedom grants, awards and funds are obligated in an electronic grant agreement. The recipient must execute the grant agreement, and access FTA's electronic funds management system; the funds management system allows the grantee to drawdown funds after invoices are received. The grantee directs funds to subrecipients.
Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
It is a goal of the Federal Transit Administration to obligate grants within 36 days of the submission of a complete grant application.
Prior to the New Freedom Program being repealed, funds were appropriated annually. Grants may be amended to add project continuations.
How are proposals selected?
Per Congressional designation, project must be ‘new’. For the purpose of the New Freedom Program, “new” service is any service or activity that was not operational on August 10, 2005, and did not have an identified funding source as of August 10, 2005, as evidenced by inclusion in the Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) or the STIP. Recipients must conduct a competition to determine which projects should be funded and publically available and transparent information in the state management plan that describes how the recipient will manage and oversee projects. The competitive process and selection criteria must be clear and transparent to the public. Recipient must also certify that all projects are derived from a locally developed, coordinated public transit-human services transportation plan developed through a process that consists of representatives of public, private, and non-profit transportation and human services providers with participation by the public.
How may assistance be used?
To be eligible, a project must either be a new public transportation service or a public transportation alternative beyond those required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the project must assist individuals with disabilities with transportation, including transportation to and from jobs and employment support services. Capital and operating expenses for projects that meet the purpose of the statute are eligible to be funded. The recipient may use up to 10 percent of apportioned funds for administration, planning, and technical assistance.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
No program reports are required. No cash reports are required. Annual Program of Projects Status Reports, Milestone Activity Reports. Program Measures. Financial Status Report. And, a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Reports is required if the recipient receives planning, capital, and/or operating assistance and will award prime contracts exceeding $250,000 in FTA funds in a fiscal year,. SF-425. Program measures have to be reported.
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. Pursuant to requirements established by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and 2 CFR 200, nonfederal entities that expend $1,000,000 or more in a year in Federal awards shall have a single or program specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year with certain exceptions as determined by the OMB. The Federal Transit Administration may also conduct its own audits.
Recipient is required to retain intact, for 3 years following submission of final expenditure report, pending resolution of audit findings, all project contract documents, financial records, and supporting documents.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory formulas are not applicable to this program.
Matching Requirements: New Freedom funds may be used to finance capital and operating expenses. The Federal share of eligible capital and planning costs may not exceed 80 percent of the net cost of the activity. The Federal share of the eligible operating costs may not exceed 50 percent of the net operating costs of the activity. Recipients may use up to 10 percent of their apportionment to support program administrative costs including administration, planning, and technical assistance, which may be funded at 100 percent Federal share. The local share of eligible capital and planning costs shall be no less than 20 percent of the net cost of the activity, and the local share for eligible operating costs shall be no less than 50 percent of the net operating costs.
This program does not have MOE requirements.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
The period of time New Freedom Program funds are available is three years from year of allocation. Terms and conditions are delineated in the grant agreement. Funds are awarded using an electronic financial management system as funds are expended and invoices received. See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: Funds are appropriated annually. Grants may be amended to add newly available funds for a continuing project.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
Danielle Nelson 1200 New Jersey Ave., S.E , Washington, District of Columbia 20590 Phone: (202) 366-2160
(Formula Grants) FY 14 $36,460,691; FY 15 est $18,826,466; and FY 16 est $4,706,617 - The program has been repealed. No funding will be appropriated in FY 2014.
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
Project funding varies based on competitive selection process at State or urbanized area level. Urbanized area apportionments range from $111 to $2.2 M. for an average of $150K. State apportionments for small urbanized areas range from $644 to $1.5 M for an average of $115K, and for rural areas from $459 to $701K for an average of 160K.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
1.) Federal Transit Administration Transit Program Changes, Authorized Funding Levels and Implementation of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users, 70 Fed. Reg. 71950, 71968 (Nov. 30, 2005). 2) FTA Circular 9045.1, New Freedom Program Guidelines and Application Instructions, enacted May 1, 2008.
Examples of Funded Projects
Fiscal Year 2014: State-wide mobility management program, travel training program, taxi voucher program for same day service, and weekend service for riders with disabilities. Fiscal Year 2015: Human services transportation programs that enable people with disabilities to access community services such as employment programs; mobility management programs, travel training programs, taxi voucher programs for same day service, and expansion of service to later in the evenings and on weekends service for riders with disabilities. Fiscal Year 2016: Continuation of projects such as those through human services transportation programs that enable people with disabilities to access community services such as employment programs; mobility management programs, travel training programs, taxi voucher programs for same day service, and expansion of service to later in the evenings and on weekends for riders with disabilities.