Formula Grants for Other Than Urbanized Areas

To improve, initiate, or continue public transportation service in nonurbanized areas (rural and small areas under 50,000 population) and to provide technical assistance for rural transportation providers.

credit: KLHVAC

Related Programs

Examples of Funded Projects

A typical local recipient of Section 5311 operates a fleet of about six vans or small buses in demand responsive and fixed route service.

Section 5311 provides replacement vehicles and covers about a quarter of the average $316,000 annual operating budget.

The State receives Federal funds for a statewide program of projects.

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 the address of Federal Transit Administration Regional Offices.

State Designated Agency: The Governor in each State has designated a State agency to administer the Section 5311 program.

This should be the first contact point.

Regional Offices: A person from each Federal Transit Administration Regional Office is available to answer questions about Federal regulations related to the Nonurbanized Formula Program.
Website Address

Relevant Nonprofit Program Categories

Selected Recipients for this Program

RecipientAmount Start DateEnd Date
Transportation, Arkansas Department Of $ 14,234,140   2019-08-282030-12-31
Illinois Department Of Transportation $ 17,500,246   2020-12-112029-03-30
New Jersey Transit Corporation, The $ 4,186,102   2020-08-182028-06-30
Transportation And Development, Louisiana Department Of $ 37,660,676   2019-06-272028-06-30
Transportation Cabinet, Kentucky $ 8,097,628   2021-03-182028-03-30
Illinois Department Of Transportation $ 17,506,426   2019-08-292028-03-30
Transportation, Iowa Dept Of $ 37,520,995   2019-07-172027-12-31
Transportation, North Dakota Dept Of $ 465,282   2021-09-092027-09-30
Transportation, North Dakota Dept Of $ 950,298   2021-08-242027-09-30
Transportation, Nevada Department Of $ 7,333,101   2021-07-272027-09-30

Program Accomplishments

Since 1979 assistance has been provided to over 1,300 providers of rural and small urban transportation.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Section 5311 funds may be used for eligible capital expenses, project administration, and operating expenses needed to provide efficient and coordinated public transportation service in nonurbanized areas.

States may use up to 15 per cent of the annual apportionment for planning and program administration.

Projects must provide for the maximum feasible coordination of public transportation sources assisted under this section with transportation services assisted by other Federal sources, and must provide for the maximum feasible participation of private operators.

Fifteen percent of the State's annual apportionment must be spent to support rural intercity bus transportation, unless the governor certifies that such needs are adequately met.

Rural Transit Assistance Program (RTAP) funds may be used for technical assistance, training, research, and related support services.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Only designated State agencies and Indian Tribes may apply directly to FTA for grants.

Eligible sub-recipients may include State agencies, local public bodies and agencies thereof, nonprofit organizations, Indian tribes, and operators of public transportation services, including intercity bus service, in rural and small urban areas.

Private for-profit operators of transit or paratransit services may participate in the program only through contracts with eligible recipients.

Private intercity bus operators may participate as subrecipients or through contracts.

Urbanized areas, as defined by the Bureau of the Census, are not eligible.

Beneficiary Eligibility

The general public, both users and nonusers, and private and public providers of public transportation in nonurbanized areas.


The State agency must be designitated by the Governor to administer the program. Projects must be included in the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) approved by FTA and FHWA. The state and subrecipients must agree to the standard labor protection warranty for the program. Environmental assessments may be required. Compliance with FTA's annual list of Certifications and Assurances is required. Eligible coast must be in accordance with OMB Circular A-87. The state must submit a program of projects listing all subrecipients and projects in accordance with FTA Circular 9040.1F issued April 4, 2007. FTA annually issues a Federal Register Notice of apportionments, allocations and program information. For fiscal year 07, the publication date was March 23, 2007. Prior year notices can be found on the FTA website at or by contacting the appropriate FTA regional office to obtain copies or publication dates.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

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, if the State has selected the program for review.

Application Procedures

Eligible sub-recipients should submit application to the State agency designated by the Governor to administer the program. This agency will evaluate and select eligible applicants and submit a program of projects to the Federal Transit Administration. The provisions of 49 CFR, Part 18, apply to the state and governmental bodies, and 49 CFR Part 19 applies to the private non-profit organizations.

Award Procedures

The Federal Transit Administration approves the State's program of projects. An FTA grant award obligating Federal funds is reflected in a grant agreement. To access funds, the state must execute the grant agreement. The state implements grant agreements or other instructions with the subrecipients.


States may submit applications to FTA throughout the fiscal year. Funds are available for obligation for three fiscal years. Local transit operators apply to the state as subrecipients on cycle as prescribed the State agency designated to administer the Section 5311 program.


49 U.S.C. 5311.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

As prescribed by the State agency designated to administer the Section 5311 program. FTA approves grants on a quarterly release cycle.


Interested persons are afforded the opportunity of a public hearing for capital projects.


Subreciients typically receive funding through the designated State agency.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Program funds are apportioned annually to the states according to a statutory formula based on 20 percent of the funds are allocated by the ratio of nonurbanized land area of each State to the nonurbanized land area of all of the States with no State receiving more than five percent of these funds. Eighty percent are allocated by the ration of nonurbainzed population of each State to the nonurbanized population of all of the states. In addition to the funds made available to States under section 5311, approximately 16 percent of the funds authorized for the new section 5340 Growing States and High Density States formula factors will be apportioned to States for use in nonurbanized areas. Rural Transit Assistance Program (RTAP) is funded as a two percent takedown from the amount authorized and appropriated for Section 5311 and can be used for technical assistance, training. Research and related support activities. From the amounts made available for RTAP, up to 15 percent may be used by the Secretary to carry-our projects of f national scope with the remaining balance to the states. Funds are allocated annually based on an administrative formula that provides a base amount to each state and allocates the balance according to the nonurbanized area population. The maximum Federal share eligible capital and project administration costs is 80 percent, except for three categories of projects that can be funded at 90 percent share: projects designed specifically to increase the accessibility of public transportation to bicycles and vehicle related equipment required to comply with the ADA or the Clean Air Act. The maximum FTA share for operating assistance is 50 percent of the net operating deficit. Other Federal funds may be used for half of the local match requirement. Income from purchase of service contracts with human service agencies may be used for the entire local share for operating assistance. There is no matching requirement for RTAP or for state administration.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Funds are apportioned annually to the States. Sums apportioned are available for obligation by the State designated agency for a period of 2 years following the close of the fiscal year for which sums are apportioned, and amounts remaining unobligated at the end of such period shall be apportioned among the States for the succeeding fiscal year. States usually fund local recipients on an annual cycle.

Post Assistance Requirements


States submit progress reports and Financial Status Reports annually to FTA.

States may require additional reports from recipients.


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, all contract documents, financial records, and supporting documents.

Financial Information

Account Identification

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


(Grants) FY 07 est $492,837,736; and FY 08 est $452,410,960; and FY 09 est $601,781,050.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Not applicable.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

FTA Circular 9040.1, Nonurbanized Area Formula Program Guidance and Grant Application instructions.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

See Appendix IV of the Catalog for the address of Federal Transit Administration Regional Offices. State Designated Agency: The Governor in each State has designated a State agency to administer the Section 5311 program. This should be the first contact point. Regional Offices: A person from each Federal Transit Administration Regional Office is available to answer questions about Federal regulations related to the Nonurbanized Formula Program.

Headquarters Office

Federal Transit Administration, Office of Program Management, Office of Capital and Formula Assistance, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590. Lorna Wilson Telephone: (202) 366-0893.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

As described by the State designated agency in its procedures or State management plan.

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