You are here

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.

Answer: 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.
Answer: It depends on the source and use of funding. Ride-sourcing services that provide exclusive-ride service for a single passenger or group are not considered public transportation and are not eligible as a public transportation expense. However, exclusive-ride services may be eligible as an alternative to public transportation in the 5310 program or as a job access and reverse commute project. For example, a transit agency may use FTA funds to provide vouchers for individuals to use an exclusive-ride service.
Answer: 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.  
Answer: No, applicants are not required to conduct a cost-benefit analysis to evaluate multiple alternatives for protecting a given asset, although this may be a useful step in selecting and identifying proposed projects for this competition. As a part of the evaluation criterion “Protection of Most Vulnerable and Essential Infrastructure”, applicants should explain how and why a particular alternative was identified for this competition. This evaluation may use FTA’s HMCE tool, or may utilize a similar hazard-mitigation focused BCA process.
Answer: It depends. Capital projects may not have a useful life of less than one year. “Resiliency projects” are defined as capital projects designed and built to reduce the vulnerabilities of a public transportation facility or system to future emergencies or major disasters likely to occur in the geographic area in which the public transportation system is located; or to projected changes in development patterns, demographics, or extreme weather or other climate patterns.All resiliency projects must comply with FTA’s useful life requirements for capital assets. FTA’s useful life requirements state that a recipient must reimburse FTA for the remaining useful life of any asset that is disposed of prior to the end of its useful life.Useful life is determined in accordance with the purpose of the project as well as the type of asset acquired. Since the purpose of a resiliency project is to protect other assets, the useful life of a resiliency project is tied to the lesser of the length of time that an asset (or its replacement) needs protection or the standard useful life of the purchased asset. For example, the useful life of a concrete flood barrier around a substation that is projected to be moved in five years is equal to five years. The useful life of movable equipment, such as modular flood barriers, should be determined by the grantee based on guidance in FTA Circular 5010.
Answer: 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.
Answer: See each detailed course listing/registration forms for this information.
Answer: 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.
Answer: FTA will apply the same oversight and grant management/administration requirements that apply to recovery and local priority resilience projects, once awarded. Resilience projects must comply with all Federal planning requirements, including the TIP/STIP requirement; however, they will not require prior FTA approval or to be submitted as part of a program of recovery projects, as required for Hurricane Sandy recovery and local priority resilience work. As projects were evaluated and selected based on the submitted application, projects should be delivered in accordance with the schedule and scope identified in the application.
Answer: As the specific purpose of a resiliency project is to add protective features to existing infrastructure to minimize damage from future emergencies or major disasters, a resiliency project typically includes a “substantial functional, location or capacity change." As such, FTA expects project sponsors to ensure such resiliency projects are included or appropriately referenced in the MPO’s metropolitan transportation plan as well as the TIP and STIP prior to incurring costs. Please reference FHWA and FTA’s joint planning rule (23 CFR 450.324) for TIP/STIP requirements. Project sponsors are also reminded they must comply with other applicable pre-award requirements (unless specifically waived), before incurring costs for these projects.While 23 CFR 450.324 contains an exception for "emergency relief projects" that do not involve substantial functional, locational, or capacity changes be included in the TIP/STIP, FTA does not expect resiliency projects, particularly those funded from the local priority resiliency allocations and future competitive resiliency allocations, to qualify for the reason noted above and given most are not "emergency" in nature.However, there may be some integrated resiliency elements or projects specifically tied to a recovery project and funded from a grantee's recovery allocation that do not include "substantial functional, location, or capacity changes". Project sponsors should review the additional planning FAQs for more information about this exception and the process for certifying if a project qualifies. What appropriate funding assumptions can be made to include projects funded under FTA’s Emergency Relief Program (ERP) in a TIP/STIP? Per FHWA/FTA’s joint planning rule, a project must be fully funded from “reasonably anticipated” fund sources to be included in the TIP/STIP. To meet the requirement of anticipated full funding, sponsors of ERP projects must identify all the funding sources for the ERP project including the federal funds that FTA has allocated from the ERP to individual project, any required non-federal match plus any other funds required to meet the total cost of the project. Project sponsors should not assume the availability of ERP funds for a specific project if Congress has not appropriated those funds to the ERP, or if FTA has not specifically allocated ERP funds to the specific project. Projects that have been allocated ERP funds from the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act by the Notice of Availability published May 29, 2013 can assume the ERP funds to be “reasonably available” to the project so that the project can be included in the TIP/STIP.However, project sponsors cannot assume that any future funds that have not yet been allocated, particularly those that may be awarded on a competitive basis, are “ reasonably anticipated to be available” until FTA makes an allocation to a project. Once FTA makes an allocation, the project sponsor should work with the MPO and/or State to amend the TIP/STIP to include the ERP project, identifying all federal and other funds required to meet the full cost of the project. Project sponsors are urged to work closely with the MPO and States early to understand and plan for any TIP/STIP amendment procedures for project inclusion once FTA has allocated ERP funds. If my agency has incurred eligibility expenses, recovery and/or resiliency, in advance of having the project programmed in the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) and Statewide Improvement Program (STIP), can they be reimbursed from my pro-rated allocations for recovery and local priority resiliency? It depends. Some grantees, in preparation for the 2013 hurricane season, have incurred costs on local recovery and resiliency projects prior to those projects being included in the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) or the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). Inclusion in the TIP/STIP is a requirement for pre-award authority. Given the short time frame for completing these projects, FTA has determined that it will reimburse costs incurred for recovery and approved resiliency projects if those projects are in the TIP/STIP by November 1, 2013. However, grantees are reminded that the planning requirement is just one of the pre-award requirements. In order to be eligible for reimbursement, the project must have met other applicable federal requirements (e.g. NEPA, procurement) or had a waiver in place. Resiliency projects also require FTA approval prior to incurring costs to confirm eligibility.Beyond November 1, the agency will need to determine if we will permit reimbursement of costs incurred that were not in compliance with the planning rule.FTA also already published guidance in a previous Q&A about exceptions that may apply to recovery projects that do not involve substantial functional, locational, or capacity changes. If you have a recovery project that may qualify for this exception to the planning rule (23 CFR 450.324), please submit the request in writing to the FTA Sandy Office. (here)
Answer: FTA’s EJ circular defines low-income population as “any readily identifiable group of low-income persons who live in geographic proximity, and, if circumstances warrant, geographically dispersed or transient persons who will be similarly affected by a proposed DOT program, policy, or activity.” Environmental Justice considerations apply to transient populations (homeless, migrant workers legally working in the U.S., etc.), or dispersed populations (Native Americans). The transitory nature of a transient population makes it more difficult to collect and access reliable data about their presence and movement. In order to consider transient populations, who may also have limited English proficiency, be sure to consult a variety of resources such as planning offices, NGO service providers like churches, homeless shelters, medical clinics, and food banks, as well as local job centers and school districts. HUD also maintains a Homelessness Data Exchange.
Answer: Yes, however each state administers its own HMGP funds and determines how those funds are spent, in accordance with FEMA requirements.
Answer: No. Under Department of Transportation (DOT) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 37.167(d), transit entities are only required to allow service animals to accompany individuals with disabilities in vehicles and facilities. DOT ADA regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 37.3 define a service animal as an animal “individually trained to work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability.” If an animal’s only function is to provide emotional support or comfort for the rider, that animal would not fall under the regulatory training-based definition of a service animal. Simply providing comfort is something that animal does passively, by its nature or through the perception of the owner. However, the ADA does not prohibit a transit agency from choosing to accommodate pets and comfort animals, which would be a local decision.
Answer: Yes, under Department of Transportation (DOT) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 37.167(f), a transportation entity must make communications and information available, using accessible formats and technology (e.g., Braille, large print, TDDs) to obtain information about transportation services. Someone cannot adequately use the bus system if schedule and route information is not available in a form he or she can use. A lack of adequate information in accessible formats for fixed route service may lead to an over-reliance on paratransit service, and a lack of adequate accessible information on paratransit services could constitute a prohibited capacity constraint.
Answer: Under 49 U.S.C. Section 5307(d)(1)(D) of the Federal Transit Act, federally subsidized transit providers may not charge more than half of the peak fare for fixed route transit during off-peak hours for seniors, people with disabilities, and Medicare cardholders. This is not an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirement. Rather, this is a general condition placed upon those receiving federal funding for transit from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The discount does not apply for purposes of determining the fare for ADA complementary paratransit, which, under 49 C.F.R. Section 37.131(c), would be calculated without regard to discounts such as this. To learn more about this program, please visit the following link. Further questions may be answered by submitting a question online at
Answer: Yes. Under Department of Transportation (DOT) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 37.131(b), paratransit reservation service must be available during at least all normal business hours of the entity’s administrative offices, as well as during times, comparable to normal business hours, on a day when the entity's offices are not open before a service day (e.g., on a Sunday).
Answer: No. The DOT ADA regulations cover transportation provided by both public and private entities, whether or not they are primarily engaged in the provision of transportation service. For example, if a hotel wants to provide shuttle service to its guests along a fixed route serving local attractions, because hotels are not primarily engaged in transportation, the vehicles used may not need to be accessible as long as equivalent service is provided for persons with disabilities, including wheelchair users.
Answer: No. For plans adopted before October 1, 2018, there is no requirement to include TAM performance measures or performance targets as part of your plans and programs.  Please note, however, that any amendment of your MTP or TIP after October 1, 2018, will trigger the requirement to incorporate transit performance management components into the planning process.  NOTE:  Other Performance Management targets (Highway Safety, Bridge, Pavements, etc.) will each have their own implementation dates.
Answer: To begin with, it is important to understand the difference between the concepts of “art” and “design.” FTA expects all transit projects to be designed and built by professional architects, engineers, planners, interior and landscape design professionals, and those in other professional trades.  The building and surrounding landscape designs should incorporate aesthetic considerations, including but not limited to decisions regarding the use of light, shape, color, materials, the use of space, and the historic setting to achieve a functional and welcoming public transit facility.  In fact, the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary defines “design” in this context as “the arrangement of elements or details in a product[…]” and as “the creative art of executing aesthetic or functional designs.” Based on this definition, FTA does not interpret the law to exclude or prohibit the functional and aesthetic design of transit stations or related facilities, including designs intended to minimize adverse visual effects on the surrounding community as identified in the environmental review process.  For this reason, FTA will not require grantees to assess the often indeterminate incremental costs associated with functional design elements, including, but not limited to, the use of different types or colors of paint or tile, wayfinding elements intended to direct passengers or staff, or different or alternate construction materials in the design of a transit facility. In contrast to design, FTA interprets the term “art” in this context as primarily aesthetic objects that do not have a meaningfully functional structural or transit-related purpose. “Art,” within the meaning of the statute, would include, for example, most decorative murals, sculptures, statues, musical installations, or similar objects or elements included for primarily aesthetic purposes.  Accordingly, in the case of primarily aesthetic elements or objects, FTA considers any costs directly associated with or attributable to creating, producing, or installing such elements or objects to be ineligible for FTA grant funding.
Answer: Pre-construction activities (i.e. planning, NEPA review, preliminary engineering and design) are not required to be on the TIP and STIP prior to incurring costs to be eligible for potential reimbursement under pre-award authority. FTA considers these activities necessary to estimate the cost of a project for inclusion in the TIP and STIP. All other project activities must be in the TIP and STIP prior to incurring costs. FTA will determine the eligibility for reimbursement of pre-award activities once a grant is in development and the project has been included in the TIP and STIP.


Submit Feedback >