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Transit Enhancements Provision of TEA-21

TEA-21. TEA-21 created the "transit enhancements" provisions in the Urbanized Area Formula Program administered by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). TEA-21 established the requirement that a minimum of one percent of the part of FTA's Urbanized Area Formula Program funding for urbanized areas with populations 200,000 and over must be made available for activities that are transit enhancements.

FTA's Urbanized Area Formula Program. Under the FTA Urbanized Area Formula Program (Title 49 U.S.C. Section 5307), over $2 billion is apportioned annually to urbanized areas with populations of 200,000 and over for transit capital projects. In Fiscal Year 1999, $2.3 billion was apportioned to urbanized areas with populations 200,000 and over. One percent of each urbanized area's apportionment, or a total of $23 million, must be used for transit enhancements. Funds are available for obligation by FTA for the Federal fiscal year in which the funds are appropriated, plus three years. Thus, FY 1999 funds are available to be obligated by FTA through FY 2002.

FTA makes grants in each urbanized area with a population 200,000 and over to a "designated recipient." A designated recipient is a public body that has the legal authority to apply for, receive, and dispense Federal funds in the urbanized area. There is usually one designated recipient in an urbanized area, but occasionally there is more than one. There are approximately 400 designated recipients of the FTA program. Recipients of FTA grant funds are referred to as "grantees."

A designated recipient may allow another public agency to be the direct applicant for Urbanized Area Formula Program funds. On occasion, a grantee, whether a designated recipient or not, may choose to pass its grant funds through to another agency to carry out the purposes of the grantee's agreement with FTA. To do this, the grantee must enter into a written agreement with the sub-recipient that assures FTA that the grantee will be able to comply with its obligation to satisfy the requirements of the grant agreement.

Eligible Transit Enhancements. The term "transit enhancement" means projects or project elements that are designed to enhance mass transportation service or use and are physically or functionally related to transit facilities. Following are the transit projects and project elements that qualify as transit enhancements. All must be related to or serve mass transit.

FTA Administration of the Enhancements Minimum-Expenditure Provision

Requirements. One percent of the Urbanized Area Formula Program apportionment to each urbanized area with a population of 200,000 and over must be made available only for transit enhancements. When there are several grantees in an urbanized area, it is not required that each grantee spend one percent of its Urbanized Area Formula Program funds on transit enhancements. Rather, one percent of the urbanized area's funding must be expended on projects and project elements that qualify as enhancements

It will be the responsibility of the Metropolitan Planning Organization for the urbanized area to determine how the one percent will be allotted to transit projects. The one-percent is a minimum requirement; more than one percent of an urbanized area's formula program funds may be expended for transit enhancements. In fact, most of the enhancement activities listed have long been eligible for funding under the Urbanized Area Formula Program. However, one item - "operating costs for historic facilities"-is only eligible for funding when classified as a transit enhancement activity. (The Urbanized Area Formula Program does not provide assistance for transit operating costs for areas with populations 200,000 and over.)

Project Budget. The project budget for each grant application that includes a request for enhancement funds must identify transit enhancements and use the specific budget activity line items established by FTA for transit enhancements. Assistance with this step is available from any FTA regional office (see regional office list below).

Enhancement Report. The recipient of a grant that contains an enhancement project must submit a report to the appropriate FTA regional office listing the projects or elements of projects carried out with those funds during the previous fiscal year and the amount expended. The report must be submitted in the Federal fiscal year's final quarterly report.

Bicycle Access. Projects providing bicycle access to transit assisted with the FTA enhancement funding are assisted with a 95 percent Federal share. All other transit enhancement activities are funded with a maximum 80 percent Federal share.

Enhanced Access for Persons with Disabilities. The costs of meeting transit requirements set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 are eligible under all FTA programs. Enhancement projects or elements of projects designed to enhance access for persons with disabilities must go beyond the requirements attendant to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

FTA Web Site. Information about the Federal Fiscal Year 1999 funding for enhancements can be found on the FTA web site at www.fta.dot.gov/library/legal/fr11698a.pdf. (Reader should scroll to page 19, for Table 4.)

FTA Regional Offices. Telephones of the FTA Regional Offices are listed below.

Region I, Cambridge, Mass., (617) 494-2055.
Region II, New York, NY., (212) 668-2170
Region III, Philadelphia, Pa., (215) 656-7100
Region IV, Atlanta, Ga., (404) 562-3500
Region V, Chicago, Ill., (312) 353-2789
Region VI, Ft. Worth, Tex., (817) 978-0550
Region VII, Kansas City, Mo. (816) 523-0204
Region VIII, Denver, Co. (303) 844-3242
Region IX, San Francisco, Cal. (415) 744-3133
Region X, Seattle, Wash. (206) 220-7954

Updated: 01/11/2012
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