I. Program Administration FAQs
FY 2009 Apportionments Notice
published in the Federal Register, December 18, 2008.
1) Question: Do ARRA program funds have pre-award authority?
Answer: Yes, FTA will extend pre-award authority to economic recovery program funds consistent with the program requirements of the applicable FTA program. ARRA funds administered under the requirements of Section 5307, Section 5311, or Fixed Guideway Modernization will have blanket pre-award authority from October 1, 2008, until September 30, 2010. There are two exceptions: the energy savings and tribal transit projects will have pre-award authority from the date that project selections are announced in the Federal Register. Economic recovery funds administered in accordance with the requirements of the Section 5309 Capital Investment Grant program (New/Small Starts) will have pre-award authority only for the stage approved up to that point. For example, upon approval to enter preliminary engineering, the grantee has pre-award authority to incur preliminary engineering costs. For more information, refer to the FY 2009 Apportionments Notice published in the Federal Register, December 18, 2008.
2) Question: Is a local match required with use of ARRA funds?
Answer: No local match is required except for the Capital Investment Grant Program.
3) Question: Will all current recipients of SAFETEA-LU Fixed Guideway Modernization funds receive ARRA Fixed Guideway Infrastructure Investment funds?
Answer: No. Some areas do not meet the standard required to be included in the apportionment calculations under the Fixed Guideway Modernization (FGM) tiers for which ARRA funds are available. The $750 million in FGM funds under ARRA is not sufficient to fund all tiers of the FGM formula. The allotment of the funds to the tiers, in accordance with Section 5337, results in full funding of tiers 1, 2, and 3, and partial funding of tier 4, in the amount of $169,100,000. FTA is not permitted to pro-rate the $750 million over all of the FGM formula tiers. The first tier allocates specific amounts to designated areas. Funds allotted to tiers 2, 3, and 4 are apportioned using the 1997 standard.
If an area did not receive an FGM apportionment in 1997, it did not meet the 1997 standard and, thus, it is not eligible to be apportioned funds under tiers 2-4, unless that law specifies otherwise.
4) Question: Are FTA grantees required to display any special signs or logos to identify ARRA funded projects?
Answer: No. However, FTA grantees are strongly encouraged to use the two logos unveiled on March 3, 2009, by President Obama that were designed to identify all Recovery Act projects approved and funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The first logo represents Recovery.Gov and for purposes of transparency and accountability will be used government wide to show the public where their tax dollars are working to promote economic recovery and reinvestment in the nation’s infrastructure. The second logo is specific to the US DOT and includes the word TIGER, which stands for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery. FTA has made available high resolution images suitable for reproduction for grantees to download to produce signs or decals to display on FTA funded ARRA projects.
FTA strongly encourages grantees to prominently display both logos described above on all projects funded by the ARRA. Given the wide variability of transit projects, FTA does not specify a particular size or format of sign, but provides the following guidelines:
- Signs should be designed to maximize visibility of the logos and minimize any accompanying text.
- Minimal text may be included on the sign, for example, “This Project funded by” preceding the logos, or “This Station Improvement…” or “This Bus…,” etc. as appropriate, but text is not required.
- The Recovery.Gov logo should be larger than the TIGER logo.
- Because the TIGER logo was designed to identify US DOT ARRA projects, it is not necessary to display the standard DOT triscalion seal in combination with the TIGER logo.
- It is not necessary to display the standard FTA mark in combination with the TIGER logo.
- Grantees may adapt placement of the logos and may design signs to be suitable to the specific project on which they are displayed, but may not alter the design and colors of the logos themselves.
- Signs at construction projects, for example facilities, should be placed where they are visible to passersby and to customers approaching the site.
- Revenue service vehicles may be identified by a decal and/or bumper sticker visible to the public and to boarding passengers.
- FTA understands that the useful life of a bumper sticker or decal may be less than the useful life of the vehicle to which it is attached, while a costly new facility funded by ARRA might merit a more durable permanent sign.
- If a construction project involves roadways, grantees should use the guidance for road signs disseminated by the FHWA division offices.
- Safety concerns should be taken into consideration in the placement of signs, so as not to obscure traffic control signs, for example, or create a hazard.
- Grantees may use the Recovery.Gov and TIGER logos on paper documents and websites related to ARRA funded projects, for example bid documents and website postings of contract awards.
- The cost of producing and displaying the logos is an eligible project administration cost in FTA ARRA grants.
However, it is important that costs associated with signage are reasonable and limited. Signs should not be produced or displayed if doing so results in unreasonable cost or expense. OMB provides the following guidance on ARRA signage:
Q: Is there an Administration policy regarding Recovery Act signage?
A: The Administration believes that signage is one of several ways to provide the public with full notice of how its tax dollars are being spent and advance the Recovery Act’s goals of openness and transparency. However, it is important that costs associated with signage are reasonable and limited. Signs should not be produced or displayed if doing so results in unreasonable cost or expense.
Guidance therefore intends to encourage—but does not require—the use of signage where appropriate and in furtherance of openness and transparency. While guidance provides that “(a)ll projects which are funded by the ARRA should display signage that features the Primary Emblem throughout the construction phase” it also states that “exclusions may apply.” Specific requirements regarding usage of signage are handled on an agency-by-agency basis.
In the event that signage is used, please refer to the following guidance.
5) Question: Where can I get electronic files of the logos to reproduce?
Answer: Electronic copies are available to grantees on this website. Both logos are available in two electronic formats:
- PNG (bitmap) format appropriate for use in Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, etc. - it is easy to use and readable by any program.
- AI (vector) format that can be resized to any size without loss of quality. This is the ones that grantees will use on their vehicles/facilities, etc.
6) Question: Are there any new Title VI requirements?
Answer: There are no new or additional Title VI requirements. Title VI program requirements are not waived with ARRA.
7) Question: Is bonding assistance available to small and disadvantaged business that may need such assistance to participate in the recovery?
Answer: Yes, the statute has information on Surety Guarantee Revolving Funds.
8) Question: When will guidance be available for the ARRA Discretionary Multimodal Program?
Answer: Following issuance of interim guidance and notice of funding availability, the Department announced final project selections on February 17, 2010. The announcement may be viewed at http://www.dot.gov/documents/finaltigergrantinfo.pdf.
9) Question: I am not clear on the details of the Pre-Award Authority back to October 1, 2008. Does this mean projects that were awarded October 1 or after are eligible for ARRA fund reimbursement even though ARRA had not come out yet?
Answer: Pre-award authority allows grantees to incur project costs prior to grant approval and retain the eligibility of those costs for subsequent reimbursement after grant approval. Grants could not be approved prior to March 5, 2009 when funding availability was announced in the Federal Register. In the March 5 Federal Register Notice, FTA extended blanket pre-award authority beginning October 1, 2008, for ARRA program funds that are distributed by formula, to facilitate early expenditure of the ARRA funds to achieve the purposes of the Act. Costs incurred before that date are not eligible for reimbursement. Prior to incurring costs, all Federal requirements such as NEPA and STIP approval must have been met.
10) Question: How will ARRA Fixed Guideway funds that become available after the September 1, 2009 withdrawal be re-allocated? Will they be re-allocated beginning in Tier 4 or Tier 5?
Answer: All areas obligated 50 percent of the funds apportioned to them before the September 1 deadline; therefore no funds were made available for reallocation. The balance of the initial apportionment was obligated by March 5, 2010, the final deadline. Thus, no funds were available for redistribution.
11) Question: What will be the basis for reapportioning ARRA 5307 and 5311 funds? Will the reapportionment be based on a discretionary review of submitted projects?
Answer: All areas obligated 50 percent of the funds apportioned to them before the September 1 deadline; therefore no funds were made available for reallocation. The balance of the initial apportionment was