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Frequently Asked Questions

View frequently asked questions on this topic below. Perform a word search to narrow your content or, if this topic has sub-categories, select based on your interest from the drop-down list. Answers to frequently asked questions are provided as guidance.

Answer:

No. Environmental justice stems from an executive order from the President of the United States to Federal agencies and is intended to improve the internal management of the Federal government; therefore, it does not create legal rights enforceable by a party against the United States.

Answer:

CNG vehicles are eligible, but CNG-powered vehicles may not be rated as highly as other alternative fuel projects that have lower emission than CNG. Propane-powered vehicles are also eligible. Please refer to Eligible Projects section in the NOFO. Proposed vehicles must make greater reductions in energy consumption and harmful emissions, including direct carbon emissions, than comparable standard buses or other low or no emission buses (49 USC 5339(c)(5)(A).

Answer:

No. Operating expenses are not eligible under this program and cannot be counted toward the total project cost in determining the local cost share. Eligible sources of local match include the following: Cash from non-government sources of that revenues from providing public transportation services; revenues derived from the sale of advertising and concessions; amounts received under a service agreement with a state or local social service agency or private social service organization; revenues generated from value capture financing mechanisms; or funds from an undistributed cash surplus; replacement or depreciation cash fund or reserve; new capital; or allowable in-kind contributions.

Answer:

No. Operating expenses are not eligible under this program and cannot be counted toward the total project cost in determining the local cost share. Eligible sources of local match include the following: Cash from non-government sources of that revenues from providing public transportation services; revenues derived from the sale of advertising and concessions; amounts received under a service agreement with a state or local social service agency or private social service organization; revenues generated from value capture financing mechanisms; or funds from an undistributed cash surplus; replacement or depreciation cash fund or reserve; new capital; or allowable in-kind contributions.

Answer:

ER funds allocated to repair damage to a facility may be used for another eligible project at the discretion of the grant recipient. However, the purchase or construction of a new replacement facility is only eligible if the damaged facility for which funds are allocated is not repairable and must be rebuilt.

Answer:

No. Please see section 4.2.2 “Federal/Local Cost Sharing” in FTA’s Emergency Relief Manual for additional details on matching funds.

Answer:

ER funds cannot be used for projects for which FTA has already obligated funds. For example, if FTA has obligated funding to replace a piece of equipment but before the equipment is replaced it is damaged or destroyed during a disaster, ER funds cannot be used to replace that piece of equipment at a greater Federal share. The previously obligated grant and its corresponding Federal share must be utilized.

However, if a project with an obligated grant is under construction and is damaged, any additional expense to repair the damage may be eligible under the ER program, depending on the type of project, the type of damage, and what entity was responsible for the project at the time of the storm.

Answer:

It depends. FTA grant recipients are responsible for ensuring FTA funds are used for eligible expenses. The eligibility of shared mobility services will depend largely on the specific contracts entered into between FTA recipients and third parties, such as shared mobility operators.  When structuring such contracts, grantees should consider whether the terms of service will meet the legal definition of public transportation, for example, or whether such service may be permitted as an alternative to public transportation within several of FTA’s grant programs. 
FTA funds may be used to reimburse recipients for expenses associated with public transportation capital projects, and in some cases, for the costs of operating transit service. The statutory definition (49 U.S.C. § 5302) of public transportation is “regular, continuing shared-ride surface transportation services that are open to the general public or a segment of the general public defined by age, disability or low-income.”  
Examples of eligible public transportation capital projects include constructing waiting or pick-up/drop off areas at a transit facility, or providing information technology (IT) systems that support the use of shared mobility services.
When federal public transportation law allows funding for transit operating expenses, such as in small urban and rural areas, or for job access and reverse commute activities and ADA paratransit services, FTA may reimburse a transit agency for the costs of contracting with a shared mobility operator to provide shared ride service to the general public. This may be an option for off-peak services or first-mile/last-mile transportation. Where contract services are used, the transit agency must ensure that civil rights obligations continue to be met, as noted in the Americans with Disabilities Act FAQs.
In addition, FTA funds may also be used to support operating or capital costs for alternatives to public transportation, particularly under the Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities (Section 5310) program or as a job access and reverse commute project under FTA’s rural and urban formula programs. Such costs may include the costs of contracting with a taxi company or shared mobility operator to provide exclusive ride service or for voucher programs.

Answer:

Yes, this is allowable, provided that the contract was compliant with all Federal requirements, including competitive procurement, and funds can be properly tracked and allocated to the relevant award.

Answer:

No. The only Federal funds that can be used in place of local share for the FTA Emergency Relief Program are funds, which by statute lose their federal identity and can be used as match for other Federal programs, such as Community Development Block Grant funds.

Answer:

Yes. Many disaster recovery projects will involve changes and improvements to damaged assets that will increase resilience to future disasters. In cases where the improvements are functionally integrated with the recovery project, these improvements may be conducted with recovery funding. This includes improvements to comply with building codes, FEMA flood elevations, relocating equipment within a structure, and similar improvements. Resilience improvements that are associated with, but not integrated into a recovery project must be completed with dedicated resilience funding. This includes additions to existing structures such as flood barriers, backup power units, new drainage systems, and similar projects. When a project involves both functionally integrated resilience improvements and new resilience elements, FTA recommends submitting activities that will use both recovery and resilience funding as separate projects within the grant to ensure the requirements associated with each funding type are applied and tracked properly.

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An applicant must use the pdf supplemental form that is provided at Grants.gov or on FTA’s website. Other formats will not be accepted.

Answer:

An applicant must use the pdf supplemental form that is provided at Grants.gov or on FTA’s website. Other formats will not be accepted.

Answer:

Sure.  We are always looking for transit system experts who have a desire to share their important knowledge with others in the industry.  Contact Ruth Lyons.

Answer:

No. Local priority resilience funds cannot be used to design projects that will be submitted as part of the competitive process.However, the grantee has the following options for paying for these costs:
FTA will extend pre-award authority for environmental work (to comply with NEPA) and design costs for these activities, permitting them to be eligible for reimbursement OR count towards your local match if the competitive resiliency project is selected.
A grantee can use their FTA formula funds such as the Section 5307 funds to pay for these costs.

Answer:

In most cases, yes.
If a joint development involves the use of property previously acquired with the assistance of an FTA award for which the period of performance has ended, the project sponsor can use the revenue as program income and apply it to any transit capital or operating expense, or as local match for any FTA capital grant.
If FTA is funding the joint development through a new award or the joint development uses property recently acquired with the assistance of an FTA award for which the period of performance has not ended, the revenue a project sponsor earns during the period of performance of the award is treated as “program income,” as defined in FTA C 5010.1E. Program income may be used towards eligible transit capital or operating expenses, or as local match for a future FTA award. However, program income may not be used as local match for the same award from which it was earned, or the award that assisted the joint development project.
For more on this, see “Program Income” in FTA C 5010.1E.

Answer:

No.  Local funds used to match FTA funds may be spent only on eligible expenses. 

Answer:

Yes.  FTA permits a single lump sum payment at the inception of the lease rather than periodic payments during the life of the lease.  Applicants requesting funds for a lump sum payment for a multi-year lease should discuss the strategy to ensure satisfactory continuing control of the battery in the application.  Once the award is made, the recipient must contact their FTA Regional Office to verify the information in the application.

Answer:

No. Resilience projects must be designed to reduce damages and losses from extreme weather events and other disasters, not to protect assets from exposure to typical weather patterns and other environmental factors. If a project protects against a disaster, but also provides benefits in typical conditions, the application may present these and other ongoing benefits as reduced operations and maintenance costs over the project’s lifespan.

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