The Urbanized Area Formula Program supports projects that assist public transportation providers in financing capital and planning projects, job access and reverse commute projects, associated transit improvements, and certain operating costs. Under the revised guidance provided by the Moving Ahead for Progress for the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), the North Central Texas Council of Governments sets aside 2% of funds apportioned to support job access and reverse commute type projects provided by non-profits and non-traditional providers. These funds are available for competitive award through a Call for Projects.
A job access and reverse commute project is defined as a transportation project to finance the planning, capital and operating costs that support the development and maintenance of transportation services designed to transport welfare recipients and eligible low income individuals to and from jobs and activities related to their employment, including transportation projects that facilitate the provision of public transportation services from urbanized areas and rural areas to suburban employment locations.
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Below are a list of eligible project types and some examples. Refer to the Urbanized Area Formula Program Guidance for a more comprehensive list of eligible Job Access and Reverse Commute projects.
Capital Projects include:
- Implementing Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)
- Deploying vehicle position-monitoring systems
- Supporting mobility management and coordination programs among public transportation providers and other hum services agencies providing transportation
Planning Projects include:
- Planning, engineering, design, and evaluation of public transportation projects or technical transportation related studies
Operating Projects include:
- Late-night and weekend service
- Demand-responsive van service
Job Access/Reverse Commute funds may be used to finance capital, planning, and operating expenses. Federal match requirements are determined according to the type of expenditure funded:
For capital and planning expenses, JA/RC funds may provide up to 80 percent of the cost of the project.
For operating expenses, JA/RC funds may provide up to 50 percent of the project’s net operating cost.
The local share must be provided from sources other than federal Department of Transportation (DOT) funds. Some examples of sources of local match which may be used for any or all of the required local share include, but are not limited to State or local appropriations; non-DOT federal funds; dedicated tax revenues; private donations; revenue from human service contracts; and net income generated from advertising and concessions.
Non-DOT federal funds may be used for local match when transportation is an allowable expense under the given program. Examples of types of programs that are potential sources of local match include, but are not limited to, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, Employment Training, Vocational Rehabilitation Services, and the Administration on Aging. To be eligible for local match to FTA funds, the other non-DOT federal funds must be used for activities included in the total net project costs of the FTA grant. Expenditures of other federal funds for transportation outside of the scope of the project cannot be applied as a credit for local match in the FTA grant.
Projects selected for Job Access/Reverse Commute funding must be derived from a locally developed, coordinated public transit-human services transportation plan. The regional coordination plan, Access North Texas, identifies region-wide and county-wide strategies to address transportation needs. Project submittals must be consistent with strategies identified through the Access North Texas Plan. The complete plan can be found at www.accessnorthtexas.org.
The basic grant management requirements for States and local governments are contained in the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations, “Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Cooperative Agreements to State and Local Governments,” 49 CFR Part 18. The comparable DOT rule for private non-profit organizations is “Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Non-Profit Organizations,” 49 CFR Part 19.
Other federal requirements, such as those related to Civil Rights, Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), Buy America, School Bus Transportation, Lobbying, and Drug and Alcohol Testing apply to JA/RC funded projects. This includes Labor protections required under Title 49 U.S.C. 5333(b).