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Frequently Asked Questions

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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.

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Yes, under Department of Transportation (DOT) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 37.167(b), the minimum requirement for fixed route stop announcements by a transit provider is that stops be announced (by personnel or a recording system) at least at transfer points with other fixed routes, other major intersections and destination points, and intervals along a route sufficient to permit individuals with visual impairments or other disabilities to be oriented to their location. Further, the transit personnel must announce any stop upon request of an individual with a disability. For the text of 49 C.F.R. Section 37.167(b) and its corresponding section in Appendix D, please visit this link.

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Yes. If these services offer shared rides and are open to the general public, these services would be considered public transportation and generally would be eligible. Services that do not meet the definition of public transportation may be eligible as ADA paratransit, as a job access and reverse commute project, or as an alternative to public transportation. A transit agency may contract for eligible micro-transit services; however, the law generally does not permit private firms to be eligible to receive FTA funds as a direct recipient or subrecipient. 
As with car sharing, a recipient may provide for the integration of transit services with micro-transit through the design and construction of an eligible capital project. For example, information about these services can be integrated into electronic signage that stream data to applications as part of an infrastructure project in order to provide the consumer with more transportation options.

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Yes, under Department of Transportation (DOT) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 37.137, an entity developing a paratransit plan must ensure public participation through outreach, consultation with individuals with disabilities, opportunity for public comment on the plan, and at least one public hearing. Additionally, Section 37.137(c) requires an “ongoing mechanism for the participation of individuals with disabilities in the continued development and assessment of services to persons with disabilities.” Many transit providers choose to establish an advisory committee as part of their process to fulfill the requirements under Section 37.137. To learn more about the specific requirements under this regulation, you may want to consult the full text of the regulation.

Answer:

Under Department of Transportation (DOT) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 37.129(a), complementary paratransit service for ADA paratransit eligible individuals must be “origin-to-destination” service. The goal behind use of this particular language, rather than characterizing the service as “curb-to-curb” or “door-to-door,” is to emphasize the obligation of transit providers to ensure that eligible passengers are able to travel from their point of origin to their point of destination. The particular factors involved will determine whether curb-to-curb or door-to-door service will be better for that individual or the location. During the local paratransit planning process, a transit provider may establish either door-to-door or curb-to-curb service as the basic mode of paratransit service. However, a paratransit policy must not be inflexible to the extent that service will not be provided beyond the curb under any circumstance. Paratransit providers must provide enhanced service on a case-by-case basis where necessary to meet the origin-to-destination requirement; some individuals or locations may require service that goes beyond curb-to-curb service. It should be recognized that transit providers are not required to accommodate individual passengers’ needs which would fundamentally alter the nature of the service or create an undue burden. Transit providers’ obligations do not extend to the provision of personal services, such as requiring a driver to go beyond a doorway into a building to assist a passenger or requiring a driver to lose visual contact with their vehicle. For further information, please see the following DOT guidance document.

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

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No. There is no categorical exemption of private companies from the controlled substance and alcohol testing requirement. Recipients of Urbanized Area (§ 5307), Capital Investment Grant (§ 5309) and Rural Area (§ 5311) funds must conduct drug and alcohol testing of all employees or contractors performing safety sensitive functions. Ride-sourcing companies are subject to the testing requirement to the extent they are a contractor of a recipient and perform a safety sensitive function. However, ride-sourcing companies may qualify for the taxicab exception.

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Yes. The Department of Transportation (DOT) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations apply to both public and private operators of transportation service to the general public. If the private entity is providing service under a contract or other arrangement with a public entity, the private entity “stands in the shoes” of the public entity under 49 C.F.R. Section 37.23 and is subject to the requirements applicable to the public entity. While a public entity may hire contractors, it may not “contract away” its ADA responsibilities. For further detail regarding the “stand in the shoes” requirement, please consult the regulation, which is available here.

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No. Private shuttle services, which include corporate, regional and local shuttles that make limited stops to pick up specified riders, are not considered public transportation and are not eligible for FTA funding.  

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Yes, under Department of Transportation (DOT) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 37.121(a), “each public entity operating a fixed route system shall provide paratransit or other special service to individuals with disabilities that is comparable to the level of service provided to individuals without disabilities who use the fixed route system.” The regulation does not specify how this paratransit service is to be provided—whether by vehicles from its own fleet, by vehicles from a subrecipient, or by vehicles from a for-profit third-party contractor. The regulation only requires complementary paratransit services to be provided, leaving the details to the local planning process. The fixed route operator, however, is ultimately responsible for ensuring a contractor meets all applicable ADA requirements as explained in Section 37.23. You may view the cited regulation here.

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While the spreadsheets are provided to make the submission easier for recipients, recipients may provide alternative documentation containing the same information. (See Circular Sections 2.2.4 and 2.2.6).

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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, 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. Recipients must identify in their applications and procurement their intent to purchase previously-owned and/or remanufactured vehicles. As part of the bid or proposal, recipients 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.  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.  For the purposes of the Low-No Program, remanufactured vehicles include vehicles that have been converted from a traditional power source to a low or no emission power source. 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:

It depends on the source and use of funding. Ride-sourcing services that provide exclusive-ride service for a single passenger or group are not considered public transportation and are not eligible as a public transportation expense. However, exclusive-ride services may be eligible as an alternative to public transportation in the 5310 program or as a job access and reverse commute project. For example, a transit agency may use FTA funds to provide vouchers for individuals to use an exclusive-ride service.

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:

It depends. Capital projects may not have a useful life of less than one year. “Resiliency projects” are defined as capital projects designed and built to reduce the vulnerabilities of a public transportation facility or system to future emergencies or major disasters likely to occur in the geographic area in which the public transportation system is located; or to projected changes in development patterns, demographics, or extreme weather or other climate patterns.All resiliency projects must comply with FTA’s useful life requirements for capital assets. FTA’s useful life requirements state that a recipient must reimburse FTA for the remaining useful life of any asset that is disposed of prior to the end of its useful life.Useful life is determined in accordance with the purpose of the project as well as the type of asset acquired. Since the purpose of a resiliency project is to protect other assets, the useful life of a resiliency project is tied to the lesser of the length of time that an asset (or its replacement) needs protection or the standard useful life of the purchased asset. For example, the useful life of a concrete flood barrier around a substation that is projected to be moved in five years is equal to five years. The useful life of movable equipment, such as modular flood barriers, should be determined by the grantee based on guidance in FTA Circular 5010.

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A State DOT is required to submit an FTA EEO Program if it meets the two-prong threshold requirement in Circular Section 1.4. If the State DOT does not meet the threshold, it is not required to submit an FTA EEO Program.

Answer:

Planning studies are not eligible for Low-No funds. However, data collection and analysis directly related to the implementation of the proposed project is eligible.

Answer:

See each detailed course listing/registration forms for this information.

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