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Frequently Asked Questions

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Answer:

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

Answer:

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).
Answer:

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.

Answer:

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.

Answer:

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.

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:

Yes, based on the period of availability, FY 13 grant funds can be obligated through September 30, 2015 and FY 14 grant funds through September 30, 2016. FTA, however, encourages you to submit as soon as you possibly can, to ensure that your state's program, and the rail transit agency's safety oversight, receives the benefits of federal funding.

Answer:

Yes. Expenditures for equipment that is directly related to the SSO program are allowable. Such equipment may include, for example, two-way radios, cellular phones, digital cameras, accident investigation kits, electronic tablets, personal protective equipment, as well as office equipment, including computers, servers, printers, and other durable goods or equipment. Items with a unit cost of $5000 or more must have prior FTA approval. If equipment is shared with non-SSO functions, please follow 2 C.F.R. Part 225 for guidance on how to calculate the appropriate reimbursement amount for the equipment’s use in support of SSO activities.

Answer:

Yes. The services paid for must be to develop or carry out SSO programs under MAP-21.

Answer:

Yes. States may use such grant funds for in-state or out-of-state travel or training under this program. Meetings and conferences are eligible if the primary purpose is the dissemination of technical information. For more information, see section 27 of Appendix B of 2 C.F.R. Part 225.

Answer:

Yes. Costs associated with membership in business, technical and professional organizations directly incurred as a result of one’s SSO job functions are allowable. Note that membership in organizations substantially engaged in lobbying are unallowable. Please see section 28 in Appendix B of 2 C.F.R. Part 225 for more information.

Answer:

Yes. States may use SSO Formula Grant Program funds to pay reasonable compensation to employees who are working on the SSO program. All labor must be identified in a staffing plan shared with FTA. You may pay the following types of employees, as identified in the staffing plan:
Full or partial wages for all SSO personnel.
Overtime wages for SSO employees who perform activities such as accident investigation or corrective plan verification.
Partial wages for State employees who support the SSO program.
Refer to section 8 of Appendix B to 2 C.F.R. Part 225 for specific information, and speak to your Regional Office for additional assistance.

Answer:

Yes. Vehicles purchases and vehicle operating costs to develop or carry out the SSO program are eligible, but may require prior FTA approval.

Answer:

Yes, an SSO agency may use existing federal grant funds for reimbursement of operational and administrative costs incurred during the development of its SSO Program. Since 2013, FTA has provided approximately $112.4 million in SSO formula grant funds to help states develop and implement an SSO Program that meets federal requirements.

Answer:

No. These funds may only be used to support MAP-21 compliant State Safety Oversight Program activities.

Answer:

Construction or building improvements to develop or carry out the SSO program may be allowed. As with all proposed activities, grant applications will need to fully address how the activity supports the SSO program.

Answer:

Yes. A rail transit system does not need to receive federal funds to qualify for this program. Eligible rail transit systems must report to the National Transit Database (NTD) to be included in the apportionment and grant funding may only be used for those systems that report to the NTD or intend to report to the NTD. The applicant or the rail transit system that is currently not reporting to the NTD, e.g., those rail transit systems in the engineering or construction phase of development, should submit a letter of intent that the rail transit system at issue will report to NTD and comply with all applicable Federal requirements.

Answer:

Yes. FTA encourages SSOA personnel to take training at the rail transit systems they oversee to improve their knowledge of specific practices and technical systems. SSO grant funds cannot be used to benefit the rail transit agency directly, nor can they be used to provide training or anything else exclusively for the benefit of rail transit agency personnel.

Answer:

Yes. Web-based information management systems used to develop or carry out the SSO program are allowable expenses.

Answer:

No. Aerial tramways, trolleybuses, and bus rapid transit are excluded.

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