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Frequently Asked Questions

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Answer:

The appropriate documentation may vary depending on the source of local match. Examples could include a city council or board resolution to provide local match for the project or a letter from the state attesting to the availability of state funding for the project.

Answer:

FTA plans to conduct a risk assessment of New Starts and Core Capacity projects prior to entry into the Engineeringphase of its Capital Investment Grants program.  FTA may perform updates to the risk assessment and scope, cost, and schedule reviews prior to awarding a construction grant agreement.  

For Small Start projects, scope, cost and schedule reviews and a risk assessment may be conducted during the Project Development phase.  

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:

Readiness will vary depending on the elements of the project development process that are being modified or changed. Generally, a PIPP request for a waiver or modification will be submitted prior to the start of a project, but there may be circumstances later on in the process where funding mechanisms change or some other fundamental issue leads to requesting a waiver or modification under the PIPP.

Answer:

FTA has continued to refine the technical methods and adjust the probability thresholds it uses to undertake the risk assessment based on historic data from previous projects. When determining the reasonableness of a project sponsor’s cost and schedule, FTA reviews the estimates to determine whether they include reasonable assumptions or whether adjustments need to be made. FTA then examines risks related to the project to determine the appropriate level of contingency needed. FTA will use a 65% probability threshold to determine reasonableness of the cost and schedule estimates.  

Answer:

No.  Discounts on costs charged are not considered in-kind contributions and cannot be counted towards local match.  Discounts reduce the total project cost, which is used to calculate the federal and local shares.

Answer:

As with a waiver or modification request, an applicant may submit a preliminary application to pipp.fta@dot.gov and the appropriate FTA Regional Administrator.  An application is a short narrative that articulates the basic elements of the applicant's proposed use of PIPP and provides the basis for FTA to offer the applicant a preliminary assessment of the viability of potential experimental features. As the program matures and PIPP waivers or modifications are approved, FTA will also share with the applicant information about lessons learned from previous PIPP projects that may be relevant to the proposed project.

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:

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:

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:

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:

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. 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.

Answer:

Planning studies are not eligible.

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:

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.

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