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Frequently Asked Questions

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Answer:

Although there isn’t a page limit for supporting documentation, applicants should only include information that specifically supports the statements made in the narrative. Applicants may include just the pertinent excerpts from a larger document.  For example, an applicant may attach a document that includes only the cover page and the pages referenced in the narrative. File sizes cannot be larger than 3 MB.

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Applications will be evaluated based on the responses provided in the supplemental form and the attached documentation. Content that is not included in the application package will not be reviewed. 

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States and other applicants should consider submitting a single supplemental form that includes multiple activities to be evaluated as a consolidated proposal. If a State or other applicant chooses to submit separate proposals, each proposal must be submitted using a separate SF-424 and supplemental form.

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Applicants may provide a scalable option or the minimum fundable amount within their submission. FTA may award an amount that is less than the amount requested, provided it will fund a project of independent utility.

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There is no minimum or maximum application amount.  However not more than 10 percent may be awarded to a single grantee. Depending on the applications received, FTA may cap awards at a particular amount to ensure a diversity of funded projects.

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For letters that require an official response, address the letter to the Acting Administrator at Federal Transit Administration 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE Washington, DC 20590. For letters that you wish to have considered as a part of the application, address the letters to the FTA Program Manager.

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If an applicant is a direct recipient of FTA funds, then the application should be submitted to the FTA directly. States do not review the applications once they are submitted to FTA. If selected, the project will need to be added to the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program in cooperation with the MPO and/or state DOT.

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The state should submit separate proposals on behalf of its small urbanized and rural areas. Each proposal should have its own SF-424 and supplemental form.

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The narrative should provide a complete explanation of the need for replacement buses, including any relevant supporting information. Attachments, such as a fleet inventory, vehicle status report, or other documentation, may be used to support the statements in the narrative response.

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FTA has defined the criteria for Demonstration of Need in the NOFO, including specific guidance for expansion projects.

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Pre-award authority starts on the day the projects are announced on FTA’s website. Projects will not be eligible for reimbursement for expenses incurred prior to the date of announcement.

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No. Riders requiring accessible vehicles cannot be charged a higher fare. The cost of providing accessible vehicles must be borne by the county’s Guaranteed Ride Home Program.

Answer:

The standard value of passenger time in the HMCE tool is pre-set at $15.58 per hour. Consistent with FEMA and DOT guidance, this represents one half of the average national wage, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The value allows the HMCE tool to evaluate the benefits of avoided service outages or alternative services, as well as the cost of outages associated with project implementation.Applicants have three options for this value:
Use the standard value in the tool of $15.58 per hour, reflecting 50 percent of the national average wage rate.
Adjust the value to account for regional differences, using regional wage information reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Based on an analysis of the September 2013 BLS report “Employer Costs for Employee Compensation &mdash September 2013”, Historical Listings through September 2013, and National Compensation Survey data from 2010-2011 for applicable Census regions and combined statistical areas (CSAs, i.e. adjacent metropolitan areas), comparing regional average wage values to the regional average private industry wages resulted in the following adjustments:
Regional:
New England (CT, RI, MA, ME, NH, VT): $18.38 per hour
Mid-Atlantic (NY, NJ, PA): $17.59 per hour
South-Atlantic (MD, DC, DE, VA, NC, etc.): $14.38 per hour

Combined Statistical Areas
Boston-Worcester-Manchester (RI, MA, NH) CSA: $18.80 per hour
New York-Newark-Bridgeport Mid-Atlantic (NY-NJ-CT) CSA: $19.40 per hour
Philadelphia-Camden-Vineyard (PA-NJ-DE-MD) CSA: $17.86 per hour
Washington-Baltimore-Northern Virginia (DC-MD-VA-WV) CSA: $18.25 per hour
Adjust the value to account for regional differences as follows: Calculate one half of the average household income for the applicant’s service area, or for all public transportation users in the applicant’s service area, divided by the average household size for the population used.

Regardless of the approach selected, the same value must be used in all proposals submitted by a single applicant. If an applicant intends to use the third option, additional backup documentation is required, including copies of the applicable census tables, the calculations used, and a brief statement of why one of the other two options is not accurate or sufficient for the analysis. Other alternative approaches are not recommended.

Answer:

It depends upon the size of the vans.
For vehicles with a capacity of more than 16, including the driver, the vehicles must be accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, including wheelchair users (49 CFR 37.101(b))
For vehicles with a capacity of 16 or fewer, including the driver, the vehicles must be accessible unless the fixed route system, when viewed in its entirety, provides equivalent service to persons with disabilities, including wheelchair users (49 CFR 37.101(c))
The interaction between the passenger and the service via the app does not make an otherwise fixed route service demand responsive.

Answer:

Federal law mandates that vehicles used for public transit service be accessible. Additionally, ADA regulations require drivers to provide assistance, for example, with securing wheelchairs and helping with other accessibility features. Partial automation (Level 1 / Level 2) does not appear to present any ADA issues or challenges because the driver would still be present. However, for fully automated operations, it is unclear how this assistance could be provided without having an employee in the vehicle.

Some transit agencies have discussed having a non-driving employee available for onboard assistance. Robotic approaches and other technologies solutions have been developed, but more research is needed to determine whether they meet ADA standards and requirements.

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For all eligible force account and operating expenses, FTA will pay both straight and overtime labor costs.

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Given the unique eligibility criteria for the Category 1, 2, or 3 grants, FTA will only permit budget revisions that meet the below criteria with prior FTA approval.
Budget revisions will only be permitted to shift funds from an existing Category 2 Activity Line Item (ALI) when a cost-savings is realized to another existing Category 2 ALI, should there be a cost-overrun or need for additional funds.
Grantees will be required to submit documentation demonstrating the cost savings and cost over-run involved in the budget revision.
If the grantee experiences a cost-savings or determines it no longer needs the funds obligated in other ALIs in its Category 1, 2, and 3 grant, then the excess funds will be deobligated. Funds that are deobligated from the grant may be available for future obligation by the grantee, should the grantee have additional eligible recovery costs that cannot be funded by its pro-rated allocation or its insurance proceeds.

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Yes. Under Department of Transportation (DOT) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 37.165(f), transit entity personnel must assist individuals with disabilities with the use of ramps, lifts, and securement systems. If it is necessary for the personnel to leave their seats to provide this assistance, they must do so, even if the entity’s drivers traditionally do not leave their seats (e.g., because of labor-management agreements or company rules). On a vehicle which uses a ramp for entry, the driver may have to assist in pushing a manual wheelchair up the ramp, particularly if the ramp slope is relatively steep. In sum, transit entity personnel must ensure that a passenger with a disability is able to take advantage of the accessibility and safety features on vehicles.

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No. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not require public transportation entities to install bench seating at bus stops or at transportation facilities. However, transit systems may find it beneficial to provide seating, as it may enable use of the fixed-route system by persons whose disabilities prevent them from standing for extended periods of time, and who might otherwise be dependent upon paratransit service.

Answer:

FTA will develop case studies to include on the FTA EJ webpage. In the meantime, FHWA has several cases for review here. FTA also encourages you to sign up with GovDelivery on the FTA EJ page to receive email notifications when new materials become available.

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