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No. Under Department of Transportation (DOT) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 37.167(d), transit entities are only required to allow service animals to accompany individuals with disabilities in vehicles and facilities. DOT ADA regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 37.3 define a service animal as an animal “individually trained to work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability.” If an animal’s only function is to provide emotional support or comfort for the rider, that animal would not fall under the regulatory training-based definition of a service animal. Simply providing comfort is something that animal does passively, by its nature or through the perception of the owner. However, the ADA does not prohibit a transit agency from choosing to accommodate pets and comfort animals, which would be a local decision.
Yes, under Department of Transportation (DOT) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 37.167(f), a transportation entity must make communications and information available, using accessible formats and technology (e.g., Braille, large print, TDDs) to obtain information about transportation services. Someone cannot adequately use the bus system if schedule and route information is not available in a form he or she can use. A lack of adequate information in accessible formats for fixed route service may lead to an over-reliance on paratransit service, and a lack of adequate accessible information on paratransit services could constitute a prohibited capacity constraint.
Under 49 U.S.C. Section 5307(d)(1)(D) of the Federal Transit Act, federally subsidized transit providers may not charge more than half of the peak fare for fixed route transit during off-peak hours for seniors, people with disabilities, and Medicare cardholders. This is not an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirement. Rather, this is a general condition placed upon those receiving federal funding for transit from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The discount does not apply for purposes of determining the fare for ADA complementary paratransit, which, under 49 C.F.R. Section 37.131(c), would be calculated without regard to discounts such as this. To learn more about this program, please visit the following link. Further questions may be answered by submitting a question online at http://ftawebprod.fta.dot.gov/ContactUsTool/Public/NewRequest.aspx.
Yes. Under Department of Transportation (DOT) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 37.131(b), paratransit reservation service must be available during at least all normal business hours of the entity’s administrative offices, as well as during times, comparable to normal business hours, on a day when the entity's offices are not open before a service day (e.g., on a Sunday).
When made available for transportation purposes, CDBG funds may be used as the local match for FTA ER funds. HUD has received a supplemental appropriation of CDBG Disaster Relief funds and has awarded those funds to Florida, Puerto Rico, Texas, and the US Virgin Islands. Restoration of infrastructure is an eligible use of such funds. For more information on HUD’s awards, please see HUD’s notice of allocation here. For information on the availability of CDBG funds, please contact the recipients of the CDBG funds, listed here.
Yes. The spare ratio policy applies to all buses in an agency’s fleet. However, FTA will permit agencies to include vehicles that have met their minimum useful life in their contingency fleet if the agency is introducing zero-emission vehicles into its fleet. Contingency fleet vehicles are not included in the calculation of spare ratio.
No. The DOT ADA regulations cover transportation provided by both public and private entities, whether or not they are primarily engaged in the provision of transportation service.
For example, if a hotel wants to provide shuttle service to its guests along a fixed route serving local attractions, because hotels are not primarily engaged in transportation, the vehicles used may not need to be accessible as long as equivalent service is provided for persons with disabilities, including wheelchair users.
For rail transit agencies, General Directive 17-1 would require to:
- Complete a safety risk evaluation of the potential consequences of hazards related to stop signal overruns within 90 days of the issuance of a final General Directive 17-1;
- Evaluate the current safety performance monitoring activities in place to assess the effectiveness of stop signal overrun mitigations within 90 days of the issuance of a final General Directive 17-1; and
- Develop and submit a corrective action plan, as necessary to its State Safety Oversight Agency within 150 days of the issuance of a final General Directive 17-1.
For State Safety Oversight Agencies, General Directive 17-1 would require:
- Participating in the safety risk evaluation conducted by the rail transit agency;
- Reviewing and approving the evaluation within 60 days after its completion;
- Reviewing and approving any needed corrective action plan within 60 days of its receipt; and
- Reporting the status of the corrective action plan to FTA, as part of the SSO Program Annual Report to FTA (per 49 CFR 674.39).
To begin with, it is important to understand the difference between the concepts of “art” and “design.” FTA expects all transit projects to be designed and built by professional architects, engineers, planners, interior and landscape design professionals, and those in other professional trades. The building and surrounding landscape designs should incorporate aesthetic considerations, including but not limited to decisions regarding the use of light, shape, color, materials, the use of space, and the historic setting to achieve a functional and welcoming public transit facility. In fact, the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary defines “design” in this context as “the arrangement of elements or details in a product[…]” and as “the creative art of executing aesthetic or functional designs.”
Based on this definition, FTA does not interpret the law to exclude or prohibit the functional and aesthetic design of transit stations or related facilities, including designs intended to minimize adverse visual effects on the surrounding community as identified in the environmental review process. For this reason, FTA will not require grantees to assess the often indeterminate incremental costs associated with functional design elements, including, but not limited to, the use of different types or colors of paint or tile, wayfinding elements intended to direct passengers or staff, or different or alternate construction materials in the design of a transit facility.
In contrast to design, FTA interprets the term “art” in this context as primarily aesthetic objects that do not have a meaningfully functional structural or transit-related purpose. “Art,” within the meaning of the statute, would include, for example, most decorative murals, sculptures, statues, musical installations, or similar objects or elements included for primarily aesthetic purposes. Accordingly, in the case of primarily aesthetic elements or objects, FTA considers any costs directly associated with or attributable to creating, producing, or installing such elements or objects to be ineligible for FTA grant funding.
Pre-construction activities (i.e. planning, NEPA review, preliminary engineering and design) are not required to be on the TIP and STIP prior to incurring costs to be eligible for potential reimbursement under pre-award authority. FTA considers these activities necessary to estimate the cost of a project for inclusion in the TIP and STIP.
All other project activities must be in the TIP and STIP prior to incurring costs.
FTA will determine the eligibility for reimbursement of pre-award activities once a grant is in development and the project has been included in the TIP and STIP.
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.” Paratransit service is by nature a shared-ride service. The standard of service is not intended to reflect that of a taxi service, which typically transports passengers directly to their destination. A paratransit trip should be comparable in length to an identical trip on the fixed route system, including the time necessary to travel to the bus stop, wait for the bus, actual riding time, transfers, and travel from the final stop to the person’s ultimate destination.
Yes, in the case of projects with scalable options or multiple independent sub-projects, it is permissible for an applicant to reallocate the funds associated with one or more specific sub-projects. The remaining resilience funded sub-projects must have independent resilience utility, and may be identified based on their location or the specific proposed activity. Recipients are encouraged to identify why the particular sub-project has been chosen for reallocation, for example, if it has a lower benefit-cost balance than the remaining projects.
Yes, it is permissible for a recipient to request the reallocation of a portion of a project’s proposed scope, provided that the remaining scope results in a viable project with an independent resilience benefit. In this case, the recipient should submit a revised project budget breakdown reflecting the reduced scope.
Eligible applicants include designated recipients, states, local governmental authorities, and Indian tribes. Eligible subrecipients may partner with eligible recipients but cannot be the primary applicant.
An eligible recipient may partner with other entities that will assist in implementing the project. If an application that includes a partnership is awarded, then the competition itself fulfills the competitive procurement requirement. This provision only applies to the Low-No Program. Please refer to the Eligible Applicants and Project Implementation Strategy sections in the NOFO for additional information.
States may apply for an amount that is less than what is available under the SSO Formula Grant Program. States may ask FTA to later amend the grant to add all or a portion of the remaining available funds until the end of the period of availability, which is one year from the end of the fiscal year that the grant funds are apportioned.
Yes. At least until one year after the effective date of a final rule to require public transportation agency safety plans (PTASP) (49 U.S.C. § 5329(d)), a state may use SSO formula grant funding to comply with security requirements under 49 U.S.C. part 659. FTA will issue further guidance on this issue after publication of the final PTASP rule.
Yes. At least until one year after the effective date of a final rule to require public transportation agency safety plans (PTASP) (49 U.S.C. § 5329(d)), a state may use SSO formula grant funding to comply with security requirements under 49 U.S.C. part 659. FTA will issue further guidance on this issue after publication of the final Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan (PTASP) rule.
No. However, if a transit agency allocates project management or oversight staff time to an otherwise eligible ER project, that time would be an eligible expense for that project.
Under the terms of a Memorandum of Agreement between FEMA and FTA, if and when FTA has funding available after a disaster for emergency relief, FTA will be the primary provider of transit-related emergency relief.
Due to the timing of FTA’s Emergency Relief funding becoming available, some transit agencies may have already received reimbursement for hurricane related expenses from FEMA. These reimbursements are allowable under the terms of the FTA-FEMA agreement, however, any expenses previously reimbursed by FEMA are not eligible for assistance under FTA’s ER program.
If a transit agency has disaster expenses under review by FEMA that have not yet been reimbursed , these must be transferred to FTA’s ER program. This includes expenses that have already been submitted to FEMA but have not yet been disbursed.
If a transit agency provided services that are not eligible under the FTA ER program, such as providing emergency shelter or meals to evacuees, the transit agency may seek reimbursement for those expenses from FEMA subject to all applicable FEMA requirements. If the transit agency also provided services eligible under FTA’s ER program, the transit agency may receive funds from both FTA and FEMA.