U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao announced during a transit industry call on March 26 that deadlines for current FTA competitive grant programs will be extended for 30 days amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The deadline for the Helping Obtain Prosperity for Everyone (HOPE) Program Notice of Funding Opportunity is now June 3.
Rural transportation networks play a vital role in supporting our national economic vitality. In keeping with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s focus on addressing the deteriorating conditions and disproportionately high fatality rates on our rural transportation infrastructure, FTA’s Helping Obtain Prosperity for Everyone (HOPE) Program supports projects that will address the transportation challenges faced by areas of persistent poverty.
HOPE supports planning, engineering and technical studies or financial planning to improve transit services in areas experiencing long-term economic distress. It will also support coordinated human service transportation planning to improve transit service or provide new services such as rides to opioid abuse recovery and treatment.
An area of persistent poverty is a county with 20% or more of the population living in poverty over the 30 years preceding the date of enactment of the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020, or December 20, 2019, as measured by the 1990 and 2000 decennial census and the most recent Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates.
HOPE Program 2020 Notice of Funding
On March 3, 2020, FTA announced the availability of $8.5 million in HOPE Program funds to improve transit services or facilities in areas of persistent poverty through planning, engineering, technical studies, or financial plans. See the 2020 Notice of Funding Opportunity.
FTA will host two webinars to provide information about FTA’s Helping Obtain Prosperity for Everyone (HOPE) Program. Join FTA program staff on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, at 2 p.m. ET, and on Wednesday, April 8, 2020, at 2 p.m. ET, to learn more about this competitive funding opportunity, including application eligibility, evaluation criteria, and the application submission process. Register.
The HOPE Program supports projects that will improve transit services or facilities in areas of persistent poverty through planning, engineering, or development of technical, or financing plans for projects. Applicants are encouraged to work with non-profits or other entities of their choosing to develop an eligible project (see Eligible Projects below).
The HOPE Program is intended to help areas of persistent poverty:
- Reduce fatality rates on rural transportation infrastructure
- Increase access to jobs and healthcare through enhanced transit options and improved facilities
The HOPE program seeks to fund planning for projects that will improve transit service and facilities in areas of persistent poverty in the U.S. FTA is particularly interested in proposals that may introduce innovative technologies or practices in support of FTA’s Accelerating Innovative Mobility (AIM) initiative and, consistent with the R.O.U.T.E.S. Initiative, projects that address the challenges faced by rural areas of persistent poverty.
Eligible activities for HOPE funds include planning, engineering, or development of technical, or financing plans for projects eligible under Chapter 53 of title 49 U.S.C. in areas of persistent poverty.
Applicants for the HOPE program must be eligible recipients or sub-recipients under section 5307, 5310, or 5311 of title 49, United States Code. An application must clearly identify the eligible lead applicant and all project partners on the team. Eligible project partners and sub-recipients may include, but are not limited to:
- Public transportation systems
- Operators of transportation, such as employee shuttle services or airport connector services or university transportation systems
- State or local government entities
- Other organizations that may contribute to the success of the project team including consultants, research consortia or nonprofit industry organizations, and institutions of higher education
- Urbanized Area Formula Grants (49 U.S.C. § 5307)
- Formula Grants for the enhanced mobility of seniors and individuals with disabilities (49 U.S.C. § 5310)
- Formula Grants for Rural Areas (49 U.S.C. § 5311)
The minimum federal share for projects selected under the HOPE Program should be not less than 90 percent of the total project cost (i.e., the local amount should be no more than 10 percent of the total project cost, not 10 percent of the requested grant amount). The applicant must provide the local share of the net project cost in cash, or in-kind, and must document in its application the source of the local match.
Project applications are due by 11:59 p.m. June 3, 2020.
The contents of this page do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. This page is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding the existing requirements under the law or agency policies.