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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:

No. There is no requirement for projects that go beyond the requirements of the ADA to be new.

Answer:

Appropriate data will vary according to the scope and goals of the proposed project.  Applicants should consider the feasibility of obtaining and sharing data in preparing their proposals. In addition, appropriate data should be collected to support evaluation of the demonstrated system.  The following is an illustrative list of possible data types and elements:

  • Vehicle performance data with respect to operations and maintenance (e.g., dwell time, total service provided (vehicle-miles/vehicle-hours), percentage of automated vs manual operation, fuel efficiency, battery life, emissions, travel times, and average vehicle speed)
  • Automation component and system data (e.g., number and types of sensors and actuators, human-machine interface [HMI] design, confidence information in object detection and classification)
  • Safety data (e.g., notifications, disengagements, emergency driver takeover, incidents, and edge cases/near-misses, rules-of-the-road compliance; boarding and alighting incidents)
  • Costs (e.g., vehicle procurement, operation, maintenance, storage; infrastructure improvements; labor and training; other ongoing operational costs; vehicle out-of-service time)
  • Mobility impacts (e.g., passenger counts, percentage of scheduled trips completed, on-time arrival, average passenger wait time, and major origin-destination patterns, and rider demographics)
  • Human factors (e.g., on-board attendant experience and alertness, customer experience and satisfaction, accessibility metrics, and passenger safety metrics)
  • Data from ancillary systems that support non-driving bus operator functions (e.g., fare collection, ramp deployment and retraction, wheelchair securement, occupant detection, and passenger information assistance)
  • Infrastructure and system performance data (e.g., vehicle-to-infrastructure [V2I] communications and equipment, congestion, average traffic speed)
  • Cybersecurity (e.g., cybersecurity assessments [which may include threat analysis and risk assessment (TARA) results, cybersecurity mitigation measures, penetration testing results, etc.], incident frequency and response time, vulnerability data, staffing/training levels)
Answer:

Yes, as stated in the HOPE Notice of Funding Opportunity, non-profit partners can be named in this grant, and DOT’s award competition would satisfy the requirement for a competitive procurement under 49 U.S.C. 5325(a). However, applicants are advised to be specific in their application with regard to the work the identified non-profit partner will perform. It is important for FTA to know the extent of the work being done by that non-profit organization when reviewing the application.

Answer:

No. The HOPE program is intended to fund new planning, environmental, technical and environmental studies.  Each application for funding will be evaluated based upon its merits and how the project meets the criteria in the NOFO. A project that has already incurred costs will not be considered eligible for a HOPE award. However, feel free to describe in your application how your proposed HOPE-funded project, as a separate, new effort, may enhance the effectiveness of other, separately-funded, work.

Answer:

The applicant may choose whether to provide one or multiple DMPs. Whichever approach they decide, the applicant should clearly indicate how the data collected addresses the goals of each area (see Section 1 of the DMP instructions).

Answer:

Yes. MAP-21 requires that at least 55 percent of the grantee’s section 5310 apportionment be used for traditional 5310 projects: capital 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. Thus, the most that could be spent on operating assistance is 45 percent, but this is a maximum and not a minimum. Note: Acquisition of public transportation service is considered a capital expense under the program.

Answer:

Please visit FTA’s Private Sector Participation website.

For any additional questions:

  • For program matters, contact Tom Yedinak, Private Sector Liaison, Office of Budget and Policy, (202) 366-5137, Tom.Yedinak@dot.gov 
  • For legal matters, contact Bonnie Graves, Attorney-Advisor, Office of Chief Counsel, (202) 366-4011 or Bonnie.Graves@dot.gov
Answer:

No. An existing contract for private consultant services may not be utilized for the proposed HOPE-funded work unless all competition requirements are satisfied. Per 2 CFR 200.319(a), all procurement transactions must be conducted in a manner that provides full and open competition, eliminates unfair competitive advantage, and ensures objective contractor performance. Applicants also must avoid creating situations that would unfairly favor a private firm that may have helped develop the HOPE application or preclude other firms from competing.

Answer:

Applicants should provide as much detail as possible for their proposed approach to data storage and data sharing with USDOT.  At a minimum, they should provide separate line items that estimate (1) the cost of data storage and (2) the cost of data analytics or analyses.  These cost estimates should be included whether they are proposing to use an applicant system, a U.S. DOT managed system (e.g. SDC), or a third party system (see Section 3.4 of the DMP instructions).

Answer:

Yes. Mobility management is defined as an eligible capital expense under Section 5302, Definitions. Section 5310 will continue to list Mobility Management and coordination programs among public transportation providers and other human service agencies providing mobility management as an eligible capital expense.

Answer:

Workforce development match for CAA and ADA projects is still 80% federal, 20% local.

Answer:

Yes, as defined as replacement of a vehicle’s propulsion system, including replacing a propulsion system with a propulsion system of a different type (e.g., replacing a diesel engine with an electric battery propulsion system). Rolling stock repowering is permitted for buses that have met at least 40 percent of their useful life; in which case, it must be designed to permit the bus to meet its useful life requirements. Rolling stock repowering is permitted as part of a rebuild; in which case, it must extend the useful life by at least 4 years.

Answer:

No. While a maximum number of months for conducting the study is not identified in the NOFO, we are expecting most applicants to propose a start-to-finish timeframe in the range of 24 to 36-months. If you believe a time frame of longer than 36 months is needed, please make the reasons for this as clear as possible in your application.

Answer:

In order for a Mobility Management project to be an eligible “traditional” 5310 project and be considered for the 55 percent threshold, it must be : 1) be a project planned, designed, and carried out to meet the special needs of seniors and individuals with disabilities when public transportation is insufficient, unavailable, or inappropriate; 2) carried out by and eligible subrecipient and; 3) included in a locally developed coordinated transit human-services transportation plan.

Answer:

The Section 5310 program circular treats travel training as a component of mobility management, which is considered a capital expense and is eligible for up to 80 percent Federal match.

Answer:

Administrative costs must be directly related to implementing or overseeing a project.  For examples of eligible administrative costs, refer to 2 CFR Part 225, Appendix B to Part 225 - Selected Items of Cost.

Answer:

Yes. Remanufactured vehicles are vehicles that have undergone substantial structural, mechanical or electrical rebuilding, restoration or updating by a third party and then are sold or leased to a transit agency.

If an applicant includes remanufactured vehicles in the application, whether as a partnership with a remanufacturer or through a proposed competitive procurement, the application must address how the project will meet the remanufactured vehicle requirements identified in FTA Circular C.5010.1E --Award Management Requirements. This information should be addressed as a part of the project implementation plan and includes the following:

  • Procurement. The recipient must identify in their application and procurement their intent to purchase previously-owned and/or remanufactured vehicles.  As part of the bid or proposal the recipient must obtain certification and documentation ascertaining that applicable Bus Testing and Buy America requirements have been met by the original owner or remanufacturer.
  • Useful Life. The grant application and procurement of a previously-owned vehicle must identify the applicable useful life for the vehicle.
  • Bus Testing. The original vehicles must have met the Bus Testing Requirements in place at the time of acquisition by the original owner. 
  • Buy America. The original vehicles must have met the Buy America requirements in place at the time of acquisition by the original owner.  Remanufactured vehicles must meet the applicable Buy America requirements for rolling stock for all new components and subcomponents added or replaced on the vehicle. 
  • DBE Requirements. When a remanufacturer responds to a solicitation for new, or remanufactured vehicles, with a vehicle that has post-production alterations or retro-fitting to provide a “like new” vehicle, the remanufacturer is considered a transit vehicle manufacturer and must comply with the DOT DBE regulations.
Answer:

Yes. “Revenue service” means carrying passengers. Fare-free transit is included in revenue service. However, the service must be public transportation and open to all.

Answer:

Before receiving a grant the designated recipient must certify that: 1) the projects selected by the recipient are included in a locally developed, coordinated public transit-human services transportation plan; 2) the plan was developed and approved through a process that included participation by seniors, individuals with disabilities, representatives of public, private, and nonprofit transportation and human services providers and other members of the pubic; and 3) to the maximum extent feasible, the services funded will be coordinated with transportation services assisted by other Federal departments and agencies, including any transportation activities carried out by a recipient of a grant from the Department of Health and Human Services. Please also review in detail FTA C 9070.1G page V-1 through V-4.

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