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Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Infrastructure Investment Program Application Frequently Asked Questions

General

If we have already registered on Grants.gov for submission of other grants, do we need to re-register specifically for this application?

Can an applicant submit multiple grant application packages?

Where do I find the SF-424 Form? Where do I find the Supplemental Form?

What is the character limit on the narrative sections of the supplemental form?

Can I convert the supplemental form to a Word document and upload to Grants.gov?

Is it possible or appropriate to attach signed support letters, resumes, and other documents as supplemental details to the application?

How should letters of support be addressed?

I am a designated recipient and will be applying for multiple urban agencies. Should I use multiple SF 424s or just one SF 424 with multiple supplemental forms?

What is the recommended documentation for local match?

When demonstrating the state of need for replacement buses, is it best to attach documentation or verbalize the status in the narrative?

If awarded, do funds need to be expended by a certain time?

Are partial awards possible under this program or is it all or nothing?

Will projects that only request incremental costs be prioritized over projects that request the full amount?

Can you explain what is meant by workforce development?

Is workforce development related to CAA and ADA also at a reduced local match?

Can credit from partners for payment of operating costs for transit service qualify as local match or portion of local match?

Is there a maximum/minimum amount that can be requested?

Should an applicant submit his/her application to the state in addition to the FTA? Will states review the applications after they are submitted to the FTA?

Since states can submit a consolidated proposal on behalf of both urbanized and rural areas, does the state have to submit separate consolidated proposals or can there be one single proposal including both urbanized and rural area projects?

We are applying for buses and bus facilities. Is each of these a separate project within the supplemental form?

We applied in 2016 and were unsuccessful. Can we discuss our 2016 application?

Eligible Applicants 

What is the difference between a "direct" recipient and a "designated" recipient? Can a non-designated recipient apply separately?

Is an airport authority eligible to receive funding? What about state universities?

What is a local governmental authority?

Eligible Projects

Do "facilities" include transportation centers or just shops/yards?

Can we use this grant to pay for a study?

Can school buses be purchased with Bus and Bus Infrastructure Funds?

If we place an order prior to the award announcement and we are selected to receive funding, would we be eligible for reimbursement?

What administrative costs are eligible?

Are remanufactured vehicles eligible for purchase under the Bus and Bus Infrastructure Program?

Are rolling stock repowers eligible for the Bus and Bus Infrastructure Program?


General - Answers

No, if you have registered and are up to date you should be able to apply for these opportunities.

Yes, this is allowable. Projects will be evaluated on a project by project basis regardless of how they are submitted to grants.gov.

Both the SF-424 and Program Supplemental forms can be downloaded from Grants.gov under the program opportunity tab.  The supplemental form is also available from the FTA website at ________________. 

The character limit for each response is 4,000 characters. If you have additional information you would like to provide, you may include it as a separate attachment and reference the attachment in the narrative response. Please note that attachments should be used to support the narrative responses and that information or documents not cited in the narrative may not be reviewed.

An applicant must use the pdf supplemental form that is provided at Grants.gov or on FTA’s website. Other formats will not be accepted.

Grants.gov will allow you to upload supporting documents. Supporting documents may be helpful to reviewers, as they may confirm what is stated in the narrative.

For letters that you wish to have considered as a part of the application, address the letters to the FTA Program Manager.  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.

An applicant can choose either option; however, we recommend separate submissions for multiple agencies.

The appropriate documentation may vary depending on the source of local match. Examples could include a city council or board resolution to provide local match for the project or a letter from the state attesting to the availability of state funding for the project.

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.

Funds must be obligated within 4 years (year of award plus 3 years) – September 30, 2020. 

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.

Projects to fund the incremental costs of a project may receive a higher rating for the local financial commitment to the project, but will still be evaluated based on the remainder of the evaluation criteria provided in the NOFO.

Workforce development includes activities related to employment or education with a direct linkage to the capital project. Examples include developing apprenticeships, on-the-job training, and instructional training for public transportation maintenance and operations occupations. Refer to FTA’s Workforce Development fact sheet for additional information.

Workforce development match for CAA and ADA projects is still 80% federal, 20% local.

No. Operating expenses are not eligible under this program and cannot be counted toward the total project cost in determining the local cost share. Eligible sources of local match include the following: Cash from non-government sources of that revenues from providing public transportation services; revenues derived from the sale of advertising and concessions; amounts received under a service agreement with a state or local social service agency or private social service organization; revenues generated from value capture financing mechanisms; or funds from an undistributed cash surplus; replacement or depreciation cash fund or reserve; new capital; or allowable in-kind contributions.

There is no minimum or maximum application amount. Depending on the applications received, FTA may cap awards at a particular amount to ensure a diversity of funded projects.

If an applicant is a direct recipient of FTA funds, then the application should be submitted to the FTA directly. States may only apply on behalf of rural and small urbanized areas. 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.

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

Yes. Each can be considered a separate project. However, it is up to the applicant whether to present multiple related activities as a single project or as multiple independent projects. For projects with multiple components, FTA encourages applicants to identify how the project can be scaled.

No. FTA cannot discuss specific applications once the debrief period ends. Agencies have 30 days to request a debrief once the selected projects are published in the Federal Register Notice (FRN).  

Eligible Applicants - Answers

Direct recipients receive funding directly from FTA. Designated recipients have been designated by the state governor or his/her designee to receive and/or sub-allocate. Both direct and designated recipients are eligible to apply directly for the Bus and Bus Infrastructure Program.

Only designated recipients of FTA funds, states, local governmental authorities and Indian tribes are eligible to apply for funds. If you are unsure about whether you can apply for funding, please contact your FTA Regional Office or your state’s Department of Transportation.

A local government authority includes: (1) a political subdivision of a state, (2) an authority of at least one state or political subdivision of a state, (3) an Indian tribe, or (4) a public corporation, board, or commission established under the laws of a state.

Eligible Projects - Answers

Both types of projects are eligible.

The Bus and Bus Infrastructure Program is for capital projects only. Studies and planning efforts are not eligible expenses.

No. School buses are not eligible.

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

Administrative costs must be directly related to implementing or overseeing a project. For examples of eligible administrative costs, refer to 2 CFR Part 225, Appendix B to Part 225 - Selected Items of Cost.

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.

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.  

Updated: Wednesday, July 12, 2017
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