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Transit Enhancements Administered by the Federal Transit Administration

Information is provided to help understand the Transit enhancement provisions of TEA-21 at Section 3003 - Definitions, and any similarities the Transit enhancement provisions may have to the FHWA TE program of activities. Additional details on the FTA enhancement provisions are discussed in the appendices of this document.

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."

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. The following activities 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.

Updated: 09/27/2011
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