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Comparison of FTA Emergency Relief with Appropriated Urbanized Area Formula (Section 5307) & Rural Area Formula (Section 5311) CARES Act Funds

This guidance does not have the force and effect of law and is not meant to bind the public in any way. This document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies. FTA recipients and subrecipients should refer to FTA’s statutes and regulations for applicable requirements.

  Section 5307/5311 ER Flexibilities CARES Act
Federal Share 100%
Pre-Award Authority

January 20, 2020

All expenses must be incurred on or after January 20, 2020. For example, a contract for a capital project awarded prior to January 20, 2020 is not eligible

Eligible Expenses


Expenses must be COVID-19 specific

COVID-19-related capital and operating assistance (for all recipients), above and beyond normal operations. Examples include:

  • Administrative Leave
  • Removal of health and safety hazards, such as additional vehicle and facilities cleanings
  • Costs associated with shutting down and/or restarting service.
  • Materials like hand sanitizer, gloves, soap, and cleaners.
  • Emergency protective gear relevant to the emergency.
  • Temporary service, that is not part of regular service, provided in response to the emergency.
  • Essential delivery services, such as meal delivery, for six-months following January 20, 2020

All capital, operating, and planning activities normally eligible under Sections 5307 and 5311.


All expenses listed as eligible for Section 5307/5311 ER flexibilities

Including, operating assistance for all recipients.

Eligibility of Existing Capital Projects

Capital Projects that were previously obligated into other FTA grants can be funded by ER Fund Flexibility or CARES Act grant IF:

  • Project meets eligibilities described above
  • Cost were not incurred prior to January 20, 2020 (e.g. a contract was not executed before 1/20/2020.)
  • Note: The applicants will also need to remove the projects from the previously obligated grants.
  • Funds already disbursed cannot be returned and reused
Eligibility of Existing Operations or Maintenance Contracts Operations or Maintenance contracts entered prior to January 20, 2020 are eligible regardless of whether those contracts met federal requirements. Any new contracts would need to follow all federal requirements.
Period of Availability

Flexibility only applies to funds that have not passed their period of availability, including unliquidated funds in existing applications and unobligated funding from the following Federal Fiscal Years (as of FFY2020):

  • Section 5307: 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
  • Section 5311: 2018, 2019, 2020

Note: there is no limitation on the types of activities that can be amended (i.e. capital vs. operating) to take advantage of this flexibility.

Available until expended. No lapse date.
TIP/STIP Projects are not required to be in the TIP or STIP if they do not involve substantial changes to the function, location, or capacity of the asset(s) involved
Department of Labor (DOL) Certification Relevant 5307/5311 DOL requirements apply.