Federal Transit_Formula Grants

To support public transportation services in urbanized areas (cities over 50,000 population).

Related Programs

Examples of Funded Projects

Grants were awarded to: (1) Kansas City Area Transportation Authority for engineering, design and construction of the Kansas City Union Station Intermodal Facility; (2) Flint, MI Mass Transportation Authority for expansion of existing bus garage and renovation of operations/maintenance facility; (3) Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District for 48 replacement buses, one expansion ferry vessel, and operating assistance; (4) Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority for Park and Ride lots and right-of-way acquisition; and (5) Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation for Rail Transit Way Lines, rail station stops/terminals and rail support equipment and facilities.

Agency - Department of Transportation

The Department of Transportation's mission is to ensure fast, safe, efficient, accessible and convenient transportation that meets vital national interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people, today and into the future.

Office - See Appendix IV of the Catalog for a listing of Federal Transit Administration regional offices.

Program Accomplishments

Federal funds have supported the replacement and rehabilitation of the existing rail fleet and restoration of rail facilities such as stations, track, and yards and shops; helped to increase the percentage of bus and rail maintenance facilities in good or better condition; and contributed significantly to the continuing effort to make the national fixed-route bus system 100 percent lift-or-ramp equipped. In fiscal year 2007 $5.5 billion was awarded in grants.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Funds may be used for capital projects to finance the planning, acquisition, construction, cost-effective lease, improvement, and maintenance of equipment and facilities for use in transit.

One percent of the funds apportioned to urbanized areas with a population of at least 200,000 must be expended for transit enhancements.

For urbanized areas with populations under 200,000, funds may be used to finance transit operating costs.

Recipients of these grants are required to make information available to the public and to publish a program of projects to afford affected citizens opportunities through public hearings to submit comments on the proposed program and the performance of the recipient.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Funds will be made available to urbanized areas (as defined by the U.S.

Census Bureau) through designated recipients, which must be public entities and have the legal capacity to receive and dispense Federal funds.

The Governor, responsible local officials, and publicly owned operators of mass transportation services must jointly select the designated recipient(s) for an urbanized area with a population of 200,000 or more.

The Governor or his designee is the designated recipient for an urbanized area with a population of 50,000 to 199,999.

Recipients must submit a program of projects to FTA; submit a program application to FTA; enter into formal agreements with FTA; and certify that public notification has been conducted.

Beneficiary Eligibility

The general public, both users and non-users, and publicly owned operators of public transportation services.


Resolution by an authorized public body approving the filing for an application; projects must be included in an urbanized area's transportation improvement program (TIP), and in the Statewide transportation improvement program (STIP) approved by FTA and FHWA. Information must be provided on labor agreements and relocation planning; environmental impact; legal capacity; coordinated regional planning; and compliance with certifications and assurances as compiled in FTA's Annual List of Certifications and Assurances. Eligible costs must be in accordance with OMB Circular No. A-87 for State and local governments. A notice is published annually in the Federal Register on FTA's fiscal year apportionments and allocations. The notice contains list of the amount apportioned to each urbanized area. The final apportionment amounts for fiscal year 2008 were published in the January 28, 2008 notice. Prior year notices can be found on the FTA website at www.fta.dot.gov/ or by contacting the appropriate FTA Regional Office to obtain copies or publication dates.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

An environmental impact assessment may be required.

In addition, an environmental impact statement may also be required.

This program is eligible for coverage under E.O.

12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance under the FTA 49 U.S.C.

5307 program.

Application Procedures

This program is subject to the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-87 and 49 CFR Part 18. Applications are to be submitted in the Transportation Electronic Award Management system. (TEAM-Web), which is the FTA electronic grant-making and record keeping system.

Award Procedures

An FTA grant award obligating Federal funds is reflected in a grant agreement. To access funds, the recipient must execute the grant agreement.


Applications may be submitted throughout the fiscal year. Funds are usually available for obligation approximately 10 days after the President signs the appropriation bill for a particular fiscal year.


49 U.S.C. 5307.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

In FY 07, FTA obligated Urbanized Area formula grants in 26 days (on average)after submission of a complete application.


Opportunity for public hearing for interested persons.


Funds are apportioned annually to each urbanized area. Grants may be amended to add newly available funds for a continuing project.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Funding is apportioned on the basis of legislative formulas. For urbanized areas with populations 50,000 to 199,999 the formula is based on population and population density, and performance statistics for those areas eligible for funding under the Small Transit Intensive Cities formula. For urbanized areas with populations of 200,000 or more, the formula is based on a combination of bus revenue vehicle miles, bus passenger miles, fixed guideway revenue miles, and fixed guideway route miles as well as population and population density. Also, funding made available to an urbanized under the Growing States and High Density States formula factors (49 USC 5340) are combined with funds apportioned to an area under the Urbanized Area Formula program. The program operates under the statutory formula prescribed in 49 USC 5336. The Federal share is not to exceed 80 percent of the net project cost. The Federal share may be 90 percent for the cost of vehicle-related equipment attributable to compliance with the American with Disabilities Act and the Clear Air Act. The Federal share may also be 90 percent for projects or portions of projects related to bicycles facilities. The Federal share may not exceed 50 percent of the net cost for operating assistance.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Funds apportioned under the Urbanized Area Formula program are available for obligation by the Governor, designated recipient, or authorized grant recipient for a period of 3 years following the close of the fiscal year for which such funds are apportioned. Any amounts remaining unobligated at the end of this period are distributed among all urbanized areas.

Post Assistance Requirements


(1) Progress reports.

(2) Financial status reports, which must be submitted quarterly for recipients in urbanized areas over 200,000 population; annually for other recipients and states.

(3) Construction reports where applicable.

(4) Annual report to the National Transit Database (NTD).


In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133, "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Nonprofit Organizations," nonfederal entities that expend $500,000 or more in a year in Federal awards shall have a single or program specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year with certain exceptions as stated in OMB Circular No. A-133.


Recipient is required to retain intact, for 3 years following submission of the final expenditure report, pending resolution of audit findings, all project contract documents, financial records and supporting documents.

Financial Information

Account Identification

69-1129-0-1-401; 69-8350-0-7-401.


(Grants) FY 07 $5,540,822,000; FY 08 $4,230,751,000; and FY 09 $5,498,651,000.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Varies according to local programming of available formula funds and the level of operating expenses incurred.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Formula Grant Application Instructions may be accessed on the FTA website or secured at no charge from the FTA Regional Offices - FTA Circular 9030.1C, "Urbanized Area Formula Program: Grant Application Instructions," October 1, 1998.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

See Appendix IV of the Catalog for a listing of Federal Transit Administration regional offices.

Headquarters Office

FTA Office of Program Management, Director, Office of Transit Programs, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, S.E., Washington, DC 20590. Scott Faulk, Telephone: (202) 366-2053.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Projects must be eligible public transportation projects and meet all formula grant requirements.

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