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Frequently Asked Questions

These FAQs do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. These FAQs are intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies. FTA recipients and subrecipients should refer to FTA’s statutes and regulations for applicable requirements.

Answer:

Yes, provided that such entities coordinate with an eligible recipient of Section 5307, 5310, or 5311 funds or with your State Department of Transportation to develop your application and partnership agreements that support the application.

Answer:

There is no minimum or maximum grant award amount; however, FTA intends to fund as many meritorious projects as possible.

Answer:

Even if funds have been appropriated or allocated to a New Starts, Small Starts, or Core Capacity project, FTA will not award a construction grant until the following conditions are met and FTA is assured the project is ready:

  • The project’s development and design have progressed to the point where its scope, cost, schedule, benefits, and impacts are considered firm and final;
  • All non-CIG capital funding for the project is committed;
  • All significant third party agreements are completed;
  • The project continues to obtain at least a Medium overall rating under the statutory evaluation criteria; and
  • The Project Management Plan and subplans have been updated to include a management approach at a sufficient level of development to construct and implement the project.
Answer:

Yes. VW settlement funds can be used for local match. However, applicants must provide documentation that the funds have been reserved and can be used for the project.

Answer:

The steps listed below will enable you to access the 2013-2017 American Community Survey 5-year Data Series in order to view the percentage of the population at or below the poverty level for all census tracts in the United States.

  • Navigate to the Census poverty map
  • From the U.S. map displayed, locate and click on the census tract(s) of interest
  • Click 'Select,' which will highlight the selected census tract with shading
  • Click 'Table,' and the "Percent Below Poverty Level (Estimate)" statistic for the selected census tract will be displayed on the top row, 2nd column from the right-hand side.
  • Census tracts with 20% or greater of their population below the poverty level qualify as 'areas of persistent poverty.'
Answer:

One request for a waiver or modification per phase of a project may be submitted, and a submission may include requests for waivers or modifications of more than one FTA requirement. Allowing a request for a waiver or modification for each phase of a project means a recipient may, for example, submit a request during the project development phase, a second request during the engineering phase, and a third request during construction.

FTA encourages applicants to include all requests for waiver or modification in one submission to streamline the waiver/modification request process.

Answer:

Due to the competitive nature of this NOFO, FTA is unable to comment in advance on individual ideas from applicants.  We are unable to tell you what will be favorable or what will not. We cannot entertain hypothetical situations about your unique ideas.  We seek bold and innovative applications from eligible applicants.  However, the idea(s) you choose to propose is a business decision that you have to make, realizing that this is a competition for funds.

Answer:

Acquisition of service occurs in the course of a procurement action resulting in a contract. Generally speaking, a contractor provides service at the request and direction of the designated recipient or subrecipient. The designated recipient or subrecipient establishes the requirements of the service to be performed, such as days, hours, routes, geographic coverage, etc. There is a difference between this contractual relationship and that of a traditional subrecipient relationship. A traditional subrecipient relationship exist when the designated recipient selects an organization such as a nonprofit to provide a service, but the nonprofit determines the characteristics of the service to be provided.

Answer:

No. However, FTA will include the eligibility of rolling stock for and acquisition of ADA complementary service as Traditional Section 5310 Projects when carried out by eligible subrecipients (or recipient) that can count toward the minimum 55 percent required, so long as the projects are planned, designed and carried out to meet the specific needs of seniors and individuals with disabilities when public transportation is insufficient, unavailable or inappropriate, and the projects are included in the area’s coordination plan. For further information please see the 5310 Circular FTA C9070.G Chapter III pages 11-15.

Answer:

No. Any recipient or subrecipient of Section 5307, Section 5310 or Section 5311 funding may apply directly through Grants.Gov for a HOPE award. However, as an option, a State Department of Transportation or designated recipient of FTA funding may apply on behalf of a recipient or subrecipient who receives Section 5307, Section 5310, or Section 5311 funds. This may be advantageous if the applicant has limited experience or resources for applying directly for Federal funding.

Answer:

Each can be considered a separate project. However, it is up to the applicant whether to present multiple related activities as a single project or as multiple independent projects. For projects with multiple components, FTA encourages applicants to identify how the project can be scaled.

Answer:

FTA does not have a mechanism to facilitate partnering.  But we encourage all applicants, and public and private partners to reach out to each other to form teams for this competition.

Answer:

An Early Development Agreement (EDA) is a document that is developed jointly between the project applicant and FTA. The EDA describes the parameters for implementing PIPP project waiver or modification requests. The EDA will identify the specific roles of all parties, define procedures, and establish timeframes and other conditions under which the project will be administered.

Answer:

No, under MAP-21, given the blending of the two programs, eligible activities for this program include projects that were funded under both the SAFETEA-LU section 5310 and section 5317 programs. In addition to the blending , one new type of eligible project was included under MAP-21. See (B) below.

Specifically, section 5310 now authorizes grants for: (A) 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; (B) public transportation projects that improve access to fixed route service and decrease reliance by individuals with disabilities on complementary paratransit; (C) public transportation projects that exceed the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Action of 1990; and (D) alternatives to public transportation that assist seniors and individuals with disabilities with transportation.

Answer:

Yes, but the waiver or modification requests must be limited to FTA requirements.

Answer:

Workforce development includes activities related to employment or education with a direct linkage to the capital project.  Examples include developing apprenticeships, on-the-job training, and instructional training for public transportation maintenance and operations occupations.  Refer to FTA’s website for additional information.

Answer:

Yes. If a subrecipient is awarded funding under the HOPE Program, it is advantageous for the State DOT or designated recipient of FTA funding with experience in FTA’s Transit Award Management System (TrAMS), to administer grant processing for the subrecipient, particularly if the subrecipient does not have experience administering a grant directly. In such cases, it is advisable for the subrecipient to discuss this possible role with the State or designated recipient before they submit their application in Grants.Gov.

Answer:

Yes, you may apply to IMI. However, applicants with another pending application should clearly disclose in the application that the applicant is seeking funding for the proposed project from another grant program. In the event the project is selected by the other grant program, the applicant should notify FTA and withdraw the application given the selection and duplication of applications. FTA will not award funding from two sources for the same scope of work. Additionally, DOT funds from another source cannot be used to support the local match requirement for IMI projects.

Answer:

Yes. A report is required one year after the completion of construction of a PIPP project. For projects that involve a private entity in the operations or maintenance of the project, a second report is required two years after the project begins revenue operations. Project sponsors will be responsible for submitting an independently prepared report that summarizes lessons learned from implementation of approved waiver or modification requests and from the PIPP process. These reports will evaluate the success of the process, its overall impact on the project, and recommend whether the waivers or modifications should be made routine through statutory or regulatory changes. The report should include an explanation of how the changes improved the delivery of the project.

Answer:

No. School buses are not eligible.

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