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Frequently Asked Questions

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Answer:

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 Workforce Development fact sheet for additional information.

Answer:

Allowable
Not Allowed

Speakers in a transit station, intended to amplify announcements and/or provide background sound (e.g. white noise, music)

Commissioning an original musical composition to be played through speakers in the facility
Arranging and installing colorful or decorative tiles that are available commercially

The incremental cost of hiring an artist to develop the design or arrange the tiles in such a way as to serve a primarily aesthetic purpose

Visually appealing signage directing passengers within or around the facility

Murals, paintings, or other visual installations that are primarily intended to provide visual appeal

Functionally operable gates or fences designed using materials, images, or techniques inspired by local industries

A stone or steel sculpture within a waiting area drawing visitor’s attention to the history of local industry.  If placed on a rail platform or other surface requiring additional support, the cost to reinforce the platform or other surface under the sculpture would not be eligible.

When part of an eligible transit project that includes renovation of an historic transportation facility, restoration of murals, paintings, tiles, or other aesthetic features.

 

Answer:

Both types of projects are eligible.

Answer:

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

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Principles of environmental justice should be reflected in existing policies, programs, procedures, processes, and accompanying documentation. FTA encourages grantees to pay special attention to low-income and minority populations and fully involve them in the regular activities of the MPO, State, or transit provider.

Answer:

Emergency Relief Operating and Capital Projects that have been validated by FTA for Categories 1-3 do not need to be placed in the TIP/STIP. See February 6, 2012 FRN.Other Emergency Relief projects, including those funded through a pro-rated or future allocation, are subject to the joint FHWA-FTA planning rule (23 CFR 450.324). The joint planning rule requires that capital and non-capital surface transportation projects (or phases of projects) within the boundaries of the metropolitan planning area proposed for funding under 23 U.S.C. and 49 U.S.C. Chapter 53 be included in the TIP (and STIP) prior to incurring costs, unless the project qualifies as one of the exceptions listed in the rule. 23 CFR 450.324 provides that emergency relief projects are not required to be included in the TIP (and STIP) except for those involving substantial functional, locational, or capacity changes.To qualify for this exception, the grantee must certify in writing that the emergency relief project does not involve substantial functional, locational or capacity changes and that the local share is available. The Grantee must submit this documentation to FTA in order for the project to be eligible for federal participation. Absent such certification, FTA expects Emergency Relief projects to be included in the TIP/STIP prior to incurring costs. Grantees may petition FTA for a waiver from this requirement by using the FTA docket process outlined in this Q&A document. FTA encourages grantees to work closely with their MPO in determining whether to include emergency relief projects in the TIP, and ultimately in the STIP.Guidance for addressing Resiliency Projects will be forthcoming.

Answer:

No. The FTA has determined that if a public transit agency is subsidizing first mile/last mile service, offering same day ADA paratransit service, or other service as a pilot program (for up to one year) and there are no FTA funds in either the vehicles or the operations of the service, then the drug and alcohol rules do not apply, even if the public transit agency is contracting with only one ridesourcing or one taxicab company.  If the transit agency continues to subsidize the service beyond one year, the transit agency must either expand its list of providers such that the taxicab exception applies, or incorporate the drivers of the ridesourcing company into the drug and alcohol programs.

Answer:

No. For FY 2013 and FY 2014 SSO grant funds, a state does not need to be certified to receive the apportioned funding. However, if a state is not certified, the state must submit a Certification Work Plan (CWP) and have it approved by FTA before applying for and receiving grant funds. FTA developed a recommended CWP template to support this process.

Answer:

Yes, FTA considers accrued costs to have been incurred, and hence are eligible under Category 1. It is our intent that both incurred costs, and incurred and disbursed costs are included in Category 1.

Answer:

No. Category 3 is for work performed by a grantee’s in-house labor force. Work by a grantee's contractor under an existing contract would be Category 2, unless it has been paid to the contractor, in which case it would be Category 1.

Answer:

Yes. EJ requirements apply regardless of the size of the community. There are no situations where EJ considerations do not apply based on population size.

Answer:

No. The SSO rule requires only those states – 30 in total – which operate rail transit systems to establish and certify an SSO Program. The SSO Certification Map identifies those states that are required to establish an SSO Program.

Answer:

FHWA provides a few examples of EJ work related to project development in a rural locale in South Carolina and on tribal lands in Arizona. FHWA case studies can be found here.

Answer:

Yes. FTA will update its Circular 5010.1D, “Grant Management Requirements” and may update other circulars to change references from TEAM to TrAMS and to ensure that information in our circulars is consistent with new grantmaking procedures put in place in TrAMS.

Answer:

No. FTA grant programs provide Federal financial assistance to public transit operators. Funding for private individuals may be available through State vocational rehabilitation programs, the Department of Veterans Affairs, or other individual funding sources. Many automobile manufacturers also offer rebates or reimbursements on adaptive modifications to new vehicles.

Answer:

Yes, in addition to classroom training, we provide seminars and workshops, supporting resources, guides and standards. See the "resources" tab on this web site for information and links.

Answer:

Any procurements assisted with FTA funds, including those for FTA-assisted joint development, must adhere to certain standards, among which is the requirement for full and open competition. If FTA is not funding the project, FTA encourages project sponsors to engage in fair and competitive procurement practices.

Answer:

MAP-21 already incorporates SMS tools and principles into FTA’s regulatory framework for public transportation safety; including the use of safety performance criteria (49 U.S.C. Section 5329(b)(2)(A)) and safety targets to monitor program implementation and effectiveness (49 U.S.C. Section 5329(d)(1)(E). MAP-21 also requires executives and boards to be accountable to hire qualified safety managers as direct reports and, annually, to certify safety plans (49 U.S.C. Section 5329(d)((1)(A) and 5329(d)(1)(F). In safety plans, public transportation agencies must specifying safety risk management methods and safety assurance strategies to minimize the exposure of the public, personnel, and property to hazards and unsafe conditions (49 U.S.C. 5329(d)(1)(B)&(C); and requiring comprehensive staff training programs for safety (49 U.S.C. Section 5329(d)(1)(G)).
FTA will build on these requirements to integrate SMS principles directly into the National Public Transportation Safety Plan and Public Transportation Agency Safety Plans required in MAP-21. Of course, specific requirements will be developed in concert with the public transportation industry and State oversight agencies through a formal process of rulemaking and notice and comment.

Answer:

FTA has determined, in consultation with Council on Environmental Quality, that the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) do not apply for Category 1, 2 or 3 projects as these are activities that were already complete, in process, or committed to as of January 29th. However, FTA has determined that other related environmental statutes, such as Section 106, do not apply to Category 1 expenses, but may apply to Category 2 and 3 expenses. For any questions relating to NEPA, please contact the FTA Regional Office.For any other Sandy-related expenses that will be funded with future allocations (e.g. pro-rated allocation) outside of Categories One, Two, and Three, normal NEPA requirements (and related statutes) apply. It is probable that many recovery projects funded from a prorated or future allocation will fall under FTA’s Emergency Categorical Exclusion (Emergency CE) or another of FTA’s newly revised CEs. Resiliency projects might not fall under one of FTA’s CEs and may require further environmental documentation to be in compliance.

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