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Frequently Asked Questions

View frequently asked questions on this topic below. Perform a word search to narrow your content or, if this topic has sub-categories, select based on your interest from the drop-down list.

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No.  Discounts on costs charged are not considered in-kind contributions and cannot be counted towards local match.  Discounts reduce the total project cost, which is used to calculate the federal and local shares.

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Applicants may provide a scalable option or the minimum fundable amount within their submission. FTA may award an amount that is less than the amount requested, provided it will fund a project of independent utility.

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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.  For the purposes of the Low-No Program, remanufactured vehicles include vehicles that have been converted from a traditional power source to a low or no emission power source. If an applicant includes remanufactured vehicles in the application, whether as a partnership with a remanufacturer or through a proposed competitive procurement, 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. The recipient must identify in their application and procurement their intent to purchase previously-owned and/or remanufactured vehicles.  As part of the bid or proposal the recipient 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.
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Planning studies are not eligible for Low-No funds. However, data collection and analysis directly related to the implementation of the proposed project is eligible.

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No. The only required reports are Federal Financial and Milestone Reports. These reports are submitted electronically using FTA’s electronic grants management system. FTA encourages recipients to continually evaluate performance of electric vehicles and to share information on their operation and performance within the transit industry.

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Although there isn’t a page limit for supporting documentation, applicants should only include information that specifically supports the statements made in the narrative.  Applicants may include just the pertinent excerpts from a larger document.  For example, an applicant may attach a document that includes only the cover page and the pages referenced in the narrative. File sizes cannot be larger than 3 MB.

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Yes.  The spare ratio policy applies to all buses in an agency’s fleet.  However, FTA will permit agencies to include vehicles that have met their minimum useful life in their contingency fleet if the agency is introducing zero-emission vehicles into its fleet.  Contingency fleet vehicles are not included in the calculation of spare ratio.

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Eligible applicants include designated recipients, states, local governmental authorities, and Indian tribes. Eligible subrecipients may partner with eligible recipients but cannot be the primary applicant.

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An eligible recipient may partner with other entities that will assist in implementing the project. If an application that includes a partnership is awarded, then the competition itself fulfills the competitive procurement requirement. This provision only applies to the Low-No Program. Please refer to the Eligible Applicants and Project Implementation Strategy sections in the NOFO for additional information.

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Yes, this is allowable as projects will be evaluated individually.  An applicant must submit a SF-424 form for each supplemental form.

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CNG vehicles are eligible, but CNG-powered vehicles may not be rated as highly as other alternative fuel projects that have lower emission than CNG. Propane-powered vehicles are also eligible. Please refer to Eligible Projects section in the NOFO. Proposed vehicles must make greater reductions in energy consumption and harmful emissions, including direct carbon emissions, than comparable standard buses or other low or no emission buses (49 USC 5339(c)(5)(A).

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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.

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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.

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Yes.  FTA permits a single lump sum payment at the inception of the lease rather than periodic payments during the life of the lease.  Applicants requesting funds for a lump sum payment for a multi-year lease should discuss the strategy to ensure satisfactory continuing control of the battery in the application.  Once the award is made, the recipient must contact their FTA Regional Office to verify the information in the application.

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States and other eligible applicants may submit consolidated proposals for projects in urbanized areas. Proposals may contain projects to be implemented by recipients or sub-recipients. If a single project proposal involves multiple providers, the proposal must include a detailed statement regarding the role of each provider in implementing the project.

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No. School buses are not eligible.

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The Low-No Program is for capital projects only. Studies and planning efforts are not eligible expenses. However, a project proposal may include project administration costs directly related to the deployment of eligible vehicles in revenue service.

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Yes.  VW settlement funds can be used for local match.  However, applicants must provide documentation that the funds have been reserved and can be used for the project.

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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 website for additional information.  For the purpose of the Low-No Program, workforce development projects must be directly related to the deployment of low or no emission buses.  In addition, workforce development could also include site visits to agencies with established zero-emission bus fleets.

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Both types of projects are eligible under the Low-No Program. However, facilities projects must directly support low-no buses.

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