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United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Competitive

Low or No Emission Vehicle Program - 5339(c)

People board a bus.

What's New

On March 4, FTA hosted a webinar to provide more information about FTA's Low-No FY 2021 notice of funding, including application eligibility and criteria, and the submission process. FTA issued its notice of funding opportunity for the Low-No program on February 11, 2021 and applications are due by April 12, 2021.

Overview

The Low or No Emission competitive program provides funding to state and local governmental authorities for the purchase or lease of zero-emission and low-emission transit buses as well as acquisition, construction, and leasing of required supporting facilities.

  • Watch our four-minute video highlighting the Low and No-Emission Grant Program, which supports new technologies that are changing the makeup of bus fleets nationwide.  

Allocation of Funding

Funding is allocated to projects on a competitive basis, from proposals submitted to FTA in response to a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). Past project selections include:

Technical Assistance

Eligible Applicants

Eligible applicants include direct or designated recipients of FTA grants; States; local governmental authorities; and Indian Tribes. Except for projects proposed by Indian Tribes, proposals for funding eligible projects in rural (non-urbanized) areas must be submitted as part of a consolidated state proposal. States and other eligible applicants also may submit consolidated proposals for projects in urbanized areas.

Eligible Activities

Eligible projects include:

  • purchasing or leasing low- or no-emission buses
  • acquiring low- or no-emission buses with a leased power source
  • constructing or leasing facilities and related equipment (including intelligent technology and software) for low- or no-emission buses
  • constructing new public transportation facilities to accommodate low- or no-emission buses
  • rehabilitating or improving existing public transportation facilities to accommodate low- or no-emission buses

Statutory Reference

49 U.S.C. 5339 (c)/FAST Act Section 3017

Funding Availability

Funds are available the year appropriated plus three years. 

Match

All eligible expenses under the Low-No Program are attributable to compliance with the Clean Air Act and/or the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Therefore the Federal share of the cost of leasing or purchasing a transit bus is not to exceed 85 percent of the total transit bus cost. The federal share in the cost of leasing or acquiring low- or no-emission bus-related equipment and facilities is 90 percent of the net project cost.  

Public Transportation COVID-19 Research Demonstration Grant Program

"innovation"

What's New

  • On January 19, 2021, FTA announced that 37 projects in 35 states and one territory will receive a share of approximately $15.8 million in funding. Grant recipients will receive a share of $15.8 million to support strategies that develop, deploy and demonstrate solutions that improve the operational efficiency of transit agencies and enhance rider mobility during the COVID–19 public health emergency. View the project selections.

Overview

The COVID-19 public health emergency has had a significant impact on transit operations. During a series of FTA listening sessions, transit agencies asked FTA to support research to identify solutions to address the operational challenges that they are facing as a result of COVID-19. In response, FTA announced a new $10 million FY 2020 Public Transportation COVID-19 Research Demonstration Grant Program. An additional $5.8 million in research funding was added to the program to maximize the number of states that could participate Nationwide, transit agencies are increasing the availability of service. The research and demonstration program will help evaluate, assess the efficacy, and promote promising innovative transit solutions that address challenges transit agencies are facing with the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Objectives

The COVID-19 Research Demonstration Grant Program supports strategies to develop, deploy, and demonstrate innovative solutions that improve the operational efficiency of transit agencies and enhance the mobility of transit users affected by the COVID-19 public health emergency. This new program has a specific focus on the following areas:

  • vehicle, facility, equipment and infrastructure cleaning and disinfection 
  • exposure mitigation measures
  • innovative mobility such as contactless payments
  • measures that strengthen public confidence in transit services

Selected Projects

FTA issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the COVID-19 Research Demonstration Grant Program in the fall of 2020. In response to the NOFO, FTA received 104 eligible project proposals totaling approximately $63.4 million.

On January 19, 2021, the FTA announced approximately $15.8 million in grant selections through the COVID-19 Research Demonstration Grant Program.

Statutory References

49 U.S.C. Section 5312

Allocation of Funding

The Public Transportation COVID-19 Research Demonstration Program projects are funded under FTA’s Research, Development, Demonstration and Deployment program authority.

Public Transportation on Indian Reservations Program; Tribal Transit Program

Los Alamos bus in the desert.

What's New

On Tuesday, November 17, 2020, FTA announced project selections totaling $7.7 million to American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments under FTA’s Tribal Transit Program. The grants will support 25 projects

Program Overview  

Federal public transportation law (49 USC 5311(c)(1)(A)) authorizes the competitive amount of the Public Transportation on Indian Reservations (Tribal Transit Program) Program for Fiscal Years (FY) 2016-2020. The TTP is a set-aside from the Formula Grants for Rural Areas program that now consists of a $30 million formula program and a $5 million competitive grant program subject to the availability of appropriations. A 10-percent local match is required under the competitive program.

Project Selections

Eligible Recipients

Only federally recognized tribes are eligible recipients under the Tribal Transit Program. However, tribes which are not federally recognized remain eligible to apply to the state as a subrecipient for funding under the State's apportionment.

Eligible Activities 

Federally recognized tribes may use the funding for capital, operating, planning, and administrative expenses for public transit projects that meet the growing needs of rural tribal communities. All activities eligible under Section 5311 are also eligible under the TTP. Examples of eligible activities include: capital projects including technology projects; operating costs of equipment and facilities for use in public transportation; and the acquisition of public transportation services, including service agreements with private providers of public transportation services.

FTA Regional Tribal Liaisons 

Federal Transit Administration's Regional Tribal Liaisons

Coordination with Federal Programs

FTA’s Tribal Transit Program allows grantees to coordinate and assist in regularly providing meal delivery service for homebound individuals, if the delivery service does not conflict with providing public transportation service or reduce service to public transportation passengers. Learn more about the Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility (CCAM).

Expedited Project Delivery Pilot Program - Section 3005(b)

On July 28, 2020, FTA announced a Notice of Funding Opportunity for The Expedited Project Delivery (EPD) Pilot Program. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until up to eight grants are awarded and subject to funding availability.

On Wednesday, August 26, 2020, FTA hosted a webinar to provide information on the EPD Pilot Program.

View the presentationListen to the recording | Read the transcript

Overview

The EPD Pilot Program, authorized by Section 3005(b) of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), is aimed at expediting delivery of new fixed guideway capital projects, small starts projects, or core capacity improvement projects. These projects must utilize public-private partnerships, be operated and maintained by employees of an existing public transportation provider, and have a Federal share not exceeding 25 percent of the project cost. FTA will notify applicants in writing within 120 days after the receipt of a complete application whether the application has been approved.

Applicants must use the EPD Pilot Program application.

Objectives

The EPD Pilot Program streamlines project delivery of new transit infrastructure that meets program requirements. It encourages innovative partnerships and funding so projects can be completed more quickly.

Eligible Projects

Eligible projects are new fixed guideway capital projects, small start projects, or core capacity improvement projects that have not entered into a full funding grant agreement with FTA. The law defines these types of eligible projects for the EPD Pilot Program in a manner similar to, but not entirely the same as, FTA’s Capital Investment Grants (CIG) program. Applicants should therefore read the NOFO carefully to understand the EPD Pilot Program project eligibility. New fixed guideway capital projects or small start projects may include the acquisition of real property, the initial acquisition of rolling stock for the system, the acquisition of right-of-way, and relocation. Core capacity improvement projects may include the acquisition of real property, the acquisition of rights-of-way, double tracking, signalization improvements, electrification, expanding system platforms, acquisition of rolling stock associated with corridor improvements increasing capacity, construction of infill stations, and such other capacity improvements as FTA determines are appropriate to increase the capacity of an existing fixed guideway system corridor by not less than 10 percent.

Eligible Recipients

State or local government authorities who must demonstrate:

  • Legal, financial, and technical capacities to carry out the eligible project, including the safety and security aspects of the eligible project;
  • Satisfactory continuing control over the use of the equipment or facilities;
  • The technical and financial capacity to maintain new and existing equipment and facilities;
  • That they have qualified advisors providing guidance on the terms and structure of the project who are independent from investors in the project; and
  • That the existing public transportation system is in a state of good repair.
    • This requirement may be waived by FTA if the project meets the definition of a core capacity improvement project, and FTA determines that the eligible project will allow the applicant to make substantial progress in achieving a state of good repair.

Statutory References

Section 3005(b) of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act).

Allocation of Funding

A total of $225 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020, FY 2019, FY 2017 and FY 2016 funds are available, of which $100 million is currently available for allocation. On August 28, 2019, FTA announced the allocation of $125 million under the EPD Pilot Program to the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) for the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Silicon Valley Phase II project. Any project sponsor that receives or has already received an allocation of EPD funds must still submit the formal application outlined in the NOFO to receive the grant.

Match

The federal share of project costs under this program is limited to 25 percent.

Real-Time Transit Infrastructure and Rolling Stock Condition Assessment Research and Demonstration Program

Rolling Stock Station.

 

What's New

On November 30, 2020, FTA announced $1.37 million in competitive grant funds to six projects in six states for the Real-Time Transit Infrastructure and Rolling Stock Condition Assessment Demonstration Program to support infrastructure innovation and safety in the transit industry. View the project selections.

Overview

FTA’s Public Transportation Innovation Program (49 U.S.C. § 5312), authorizes FTA to fund research, development, demonstrations, and deployment projects to improve public transportation. The Real-Time Transit Infrastructure and Rolling Stock Condition Assessment Demonstration Program is a competitive demonstration opportunity under FTA's research emphasis area of infrastructure. This priority area supports the U.S. Department of Transportation's Infrastructure strategic goal, as well as the strategic objective of life cycle and preventive maintenance for asset management planning and innovative maintenance strategies to keep transit assets in a state of good repair. This demonstration program will fund innovative approaches to eliminate or mitigate infrastructure deficiencies in public transportation using innovative technologies and designs.

Objectives

The Real-Time Transit Infrastructure and Rolling Stock Condition Assessment Program is intended to help transit agencies:

  • Explore advanced cutting-edge technologies that can provide real-time condition assessment of transit capital and facilities
  • Allow a more effective way for transit agencies to assess, detect, monitor and track deficiencies and defects related to infrastructure and rolling stock
  • Evaluate the cost-effectiveness and the practicality of proposed state-of-the art solutions

Eligible Projects

The Real-Time Transit Infrastructure and Rolling Stock Condition Assessment program funds cooperative agreements to engage in demonstrations to assess and identify infrastructure deficiencies in public transportation rolling stock via innovative technologies to keep public transit assets in a state of good repair.

This program is a research demonstration program and not a capital procurement program. The project proposals must include a research/synthesis phase, a development phase, and a demonstration phase. All phases are critical to project selection.

To ensure proposed demonstration projects address the needs of transit agencies, FTA requires that applicants identify partnerships with at least one transit agency. FTA will assess the strength of those partnerships as part of its evaluation of applications.

Eligible Recipients

Lead applicants must be one of the listed entities prescribed below. Additionally, project partners and subrecipients under this program may include, but are not limited to:

  • Public transportation systems
  • Private for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, including technology system suppliers and bus manufacturers
  • Operators of transportation, such as employee shuttle services, airport connector services, or university transportation systems
  • State or local government entities
  • Other organizations, such as consultants, research consortia or not-for-profit industry organizations, and institutions of higher education

Statutory References

FTA’s Public Transportation Innovation Program (49 U.S.C. 5312).

Allocation of Funding

Real-Time Transit Infrastructure and Rolling Stock Condition Assessment Program projects are funded under FTA’s Research, Development, Demonstration and Deployment Program (49 U.S.C. § 5312). 

Match

The federal share of project costs under this program is limited to 80 percent. Proposers may seek a lower federal contribution. The applicant must provide the local share of the net project cost in cash, or in-kind, and must document in its application the source of the local match. 

Accelerating Innovative Mobility

Accelerating Innovative Mobility (AIM) highlights FTA’s commitment to support and advance innovation in the transit industry. AIM will drive innovation by promoting forward-thinking approaches to improve financing, system design and service.

What's New

On August 27, 2020, FTA announced 25 projects in 24 states and one territory will receive a share of approximately $14 million in funding through the AIM initiative to support mobility and innovation in the transit industry. View the project selections.

Funding

On March 18, 2020, FTA announced an $11 million Notice of Funding Opportunity under the AIM Initiative to support and advance innovation in the transit industry. AIM challenge grants will help transit agencies explore new service models that provide more efficient and frequent service, which will help retain riders. As a funding partner, FTA will help alleviate the potential risks involved in adopting new technologies and practices.

FTA held a webinar to provide additional information on AIM Challenge Grants, on Thursday, April 2, 2020.

In addition, FTA’s Fiscal Year 2020 competitive grant programs, which total $615 million, will highlight innovation as part of their selection criteria. This will provide applicants with an opportunity to showcase how they can incorporate new approaches to improve the rider experience.

Technical Assistance and Knowledge Sharing

The AIM initiative will establish a national network of innovative transit agencies that will test solutions and share project results with their peers. They will work closely with and use FTA’s technical assistance centers to promote the adoption of promising innovations in communities around the country.

FTA’s Technical Assistance Centers will provide targeted technical assistance to support the successful implementation of innovative models and solutions, both under AIM and otherwise. Additionally, they will be a central resource for all public transportation providers to learn from the experiences of others, and share challenges and solutions that deploy successful innovative models and develop case studies and hands-on resources. The centers will hold workshops focused on bringing together transit agencies to discuss best practices, identify barriers, and advance the adoption of new technologies and practices while ensuring safety for riders.

Pilot Program for Transit-Oriented Development Planning – Section 20005(b)

A metro rail in downtown Portland.

The Pilot Program for TOD Planning helps support FTA’s mission of improving public transportation for America’s communities by providing funding to local communities to integrate land use and transportation planning with a new fixed guideway or core capacity transit capital investment. Comprehensive planning funded through the program must examine ways to improve economic development and ridership, foster multimodal connectivity and accessibility, improve transit access for pedestrian and bicycle traffic, engage the private sector, identify infrastructure needs, and enable mixed-use development near transit stations.

What's New

  • On December 15, 2020, FTA announced $6.2 million in competitive grant funds to nine projects in seven states to support comprehensive planning efforts to improve access to public transportation through the Pilot Program for Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Planning. View the project selections.

Selected Projects

Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program

What's New

  • On August 11, 2020, FTA announced $464 million in infrastructure grants to 96 projects in 49 states and territories to improve the safety and reliability of America’s bus systems. View the project selections.

Background

The Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program (49 U.S.C. 5339) makes federal resources available to states and direct recipients to replace, rehabilitate and purchase buses and related equipment and to construct bus-related facilities including technological changes or innovations to modify low or no emission vehicles or facilities. Funding is provided through formula allocations and competitive grants. A sub-program, the Low- or No-Emission Vehicle Program, provides competitive grants for bus and bus facility projects that support low and zero-emission vehicles.

Eligible Recipients

Eligible applicants include designated recipients that allocate funds to fixed route bus operators, states or local governmental entities that operate fixed route bus service, and Indian tribes. Eligible subrecipients include all otherwise eligible applicants and also private nonprofit organizations engaged in public transportation.

Subrecipients include eligible recipients that receive grant funding under the formula or discretionary programs may allocate amounts from the grant to subrecipients that are public agencies or private nonprofit organizations engaged in public transportation. 

Eligible Activities

Capital projects to replace, rehabilitate and purchase buses, vans, and related equipment, and to construct bus-related facilities, including technological changes or innovations to modify low or no emission vehicles or facilities.

Statutory References

49 U.S.C. Section 5339 / FAST Act Section 3017

Funding Availability

Funds remain available for obligation for four fiscal years. This includes the fiscal year in which the amount is made available or appropriated plus three additional years.

Allocation of Funding

There are three components to this program. The first is a continuation of the formula bus program established on under MAP-21. The remaining two components include the bus and bus facilities competitive program based on asset age and condition, and a low or no emissions bus deployment program. A pilot provision allows designated recipients in in urbanized areas between 200,000 and 999,999 in population to participate in voluntary state pools to allow transfers of formula funds between designated recipients during the period of the authorized legislation.

Match

The federal share of eligible capital costs is 80 percent of the net capital project cost, unless the grant recipient requests a lower percentage. The Federal share may exceed 80 percent for certain projects related to the ADA, the Clean Air Act (CAA), and certain bicycle projects.

Deadline

The application period for the FY20 Buses and Bus Facilities Program closes on April 29, 2020. 

Selected Projects

Mobility for All Pilot Program Grants

What's New

  • On June 5, 2020 FTA announced $3.5 million in grants for 17 projects in 16 states to improve mobility and access to public transportation for older adults, people with disabilities and individuals of low income.

Eligible Applicants

Eligible applicants are designated or direct recipients of 5307, 5310, or 5311 FTA program funds. Applicants must be registered in the System for Award Management (SAM) database and maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which it has an active Federal award or an application or plan under consideration by FTA.

Eligible Activities

This funding opportunity seeks to improve mobility options through employing innovative coordination of transportation strategies and building partnerships to enhance mobility and access to vital community services for older adults, individuals with disabilities, and people of low income. As required by federal transit law, funds will be awarded competitively to finance innovative capital projects for the transportation disadvantaged that will improve the coordination of non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) services.

Some examples include - employing mobility management strategies, vehicle purchase, IT purchase, leasing equipment or a facility for use in public transportation etc.

Statutory References

Section 3006(b) of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act (Pub. L. 114-94, Dec. 4, 2015) authorizes FTA to award grants for innovative coordinated access and mobility projects for the transportation disadvantaged population that improve the coordination of transportation services and non-emergency medical transportation services.

Funding Availability

Grant awardees will have up to 18 months from the time of the award to complete the project. Within the first year, projects must be able to demonstrate impacts related to the expected outcome as described in the application.

Funds under the Mobility for All Pilot Program may be used for capital projects that are derived from Coordinated Public Transit-Human Services Transportation Plans.

Award Administration

There is no minimum or maximum grant award amount; however, FTA intends to fund as many meritorious projects as possible. FTA will only consider proposals from eligible recipients for eligible activities. Due to funding limitations, projects selected for funding may receive less than the amount originally requested.  In those cases, applicants must be able to demonstrate that the proposed projects are still viable and can be completed with the amount awarded.

Match

The maximum federal share of project costs under is 80 percent. The applicant provides a local share of at least 20 percent of the total project cost and must document the source of the local match in the grant application.

Eligible local-match sources include the following:

  • cash from non-government sources other than revenues from providing public transportation services
  • revenues derived from the sale of advertising and concessions
  • revenues generated from value capture financing mechanisms
  • funds from an undistributed cash surplus
  • replacement or depreciation cash fund or reserve
  • new capital
  • in-kind contributions
  • transportation development credits for local match

Deadline

Project proposals must be submitted electronically through Grants.gov by 11:59 PM Eastern Monday, January 6, 2020. 

Helping Obtain Prosperity for Everyone Program

What's New

On October 7, 2020, FTA announced 25 projects in 17 states will receive a share of approximately $8.5 million in funding through the Helping Obtain Prosperity for Everyone (HOPE) program.

An aerial view of a neighborhood.Overview

Rural transportation networks play a vital role in supporting our national economic vitality. In keeping with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s focus on addressing the deteriorating conditions and disproportionately high fatality rates on our rural transportation infrastructure, FTA’s Helping Obtain Prosperity for Everyone (HOPE) Program supports projects that will address the transportation challenges faced by areas of persistent poverty.

HOPE supports planning, engineering and technical studies or financial planning to improve transit services in areas experiencing long-term economic distress.  It will also support coordinated human service transportation planning to improve transit service or provide new services such as rides to opioid abuse recovery and treatment.

An area of persistent poverty is a county with 20% or more of the population living in poverty over the 30 years preceding the date of enactment of the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020, or December 20, 2019, as measured by the 1990 and 2000 decennial census and the most recent Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates.

HOPE Program 2020 Notice of Funding

On March 3, 2020, FTA announced the availability of $8.5 million in HOPE Program funds to improve transit services or facilities in areas of persistent poverty through planning, engineering, technical studies, or financial plans. See the 2020 Notice of Funding Opportunity.

Objectives

The HOPE Program supports projects that will improve transit services or facilities in areas of persistent poverty through planning, engineering, or development of technical, or financing plans for projects. Applicants are encouraged to work with non-profits or other entities of their choosing to develop an eligible project (see Eligible Projects below).

The HOPE Program is intended to help areas of persistent poverty:

  • Reduce fatality rates on rural transportation infrastructure
  • Increase access to jobs and healthcare through enhanced transit options and improved facilities

Eligible Activities

The HOPE program seeks to fund planning for projects that will improve transit service and facilities in areas of persistent poverty in the U.S. FTA is particularly interested in proposals that may introduce innovative technologies or practices in support of FTA’s Accelerating Innovative Mobility (AIM) initiative and, consistent with the ROUTES Initiative, projects that address the challenges faced by rural areas of persistent poverty. 

Eligible activities for HOPE funds include planning, engineering, or development of technical, or financing plans for projects eligible under Chapter 53 of title 49 U.S.C. in areas of persistent poverty.

Eligible Recipients

Applicants for the HOPE program must be eligible recipients or sub-recipients under section 5307, 5310, or 5311 of title 49, United States Code. An application must clearly identify the eligible lead applicant and all project partners on the team. Eligible project partners and sub-recipients may include, but are not limited to:

  • Public transportation systems
  • Operators of transportation, such as employee shuttle services or airport connector services or university transportation systems
  • State or local government entities
  • Other organizations that may contribute to the success of the project team including consultants, research consortia or nonprofit industry organizations, and institutions of higher education

Statutory References

  • Urbanized Area Formula Grants (49 U.S.C. § 5307)
  • Formula Grants for the enhanced mobility of seniors and individuals with disabilities (49 U.S.C. § 5310)
  • Formula Grants for Rural Areas (49 U.S.C. § 5311)

Match

The minimum federal share for projects selected under the HOPE Program should be not less than 90 percent of the total project cost (i.e., the local amount should be no more than 10 percent of the total project cost, not 10 percent of the requested grant amount). The applicant must provide the local share of the net project cost in cash, or in-kind, and must document in its application the source of the local match.

Deadline

Project applications were due on June 3, 2020. FY2020 project selections were announced on October 7, 2020.

The contents of this page do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way.  This page is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding the existing requirements under the law or agency policies.