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Formula Grants for Rural Areas - 5311

A photo of a transit vehicle driving through mountainous rural terrain.The Formula Grants for Rural Areas program provides capital, planning, and operating assistance to states to support public transportation in rural areas with populations of less than 50,000, where many residents often rely on public transit to reach their destinations. The program also provides funding for state and national training and technical assistance through the Rural Transportation Assistance Program.

View presentations from the 17th Biennial FTA State Programs Meeting/State Public Transit Partnerships Conference, August 16-18, 2017.

Eligible Recipients

Eligible recipients include states and federally recognized Indian Tribes. Subrecipients may include state or local government authorities, nonprofit organizations, and operators of public transportation or intercity bus service. 

Eligible Activities

Eligible activities include planning, capital, operating, job access and reverse commute projects, and the acquisition of public transportation services.

Statutory References

Funding and Match

The federal share is 80 percent for capital projects, 50 percent for operating assistance, and 80 percent for Americans with Disabilities Act  (ADA) non-fixed route paratransit service. Section 5311 funds are available to the States during the fiscal year of apportionment plus two additional years (total of three years). Funds are apportioned to States based on a formula that includes land area, population, revenue vehicle miles, and low-income individuals in rural areas. 

Intercity Bus Program

Each state must spend no less than 15 percent if its annual apportionment for the development and support of intercity bus transportation, unless it can certify, after consultation with intercity bus service providers, that the intercity bus needs of the state are being adequately met. 

Technical Assistance Resources

Training and Technical Assistance is available through the National Rural Transit Assistance Program

Statutory References

49 U.S.C. 5311

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