As the recipient of a grant funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), I applaud your efforts to support the creation of jobs in your community as you implement President Obama's vision for economic recovery by strengthening transportation. However, it has come to my attention that your ARRA grant carries a large balance of undisbursed funds. Therefore, I am asking you to review the progress of your grant closely and take any measures you can to accelerate the spending while continuing to exercise prudent stewardship and adequate controls to minimize risk.
Specific measures that may assist in expediting your project include the following:
- Accelerate project schedules and revise milestone completion dates to compress project activity.
- Make authorized budget revisions to realign grant funding to activities that can be expended more quickly.
- Explore the use of progress payments under your contracts and discuss with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) the possibility of requesting advance payments in cases where the Federal interest can be secured. (We will soon issue additional guidance on how to use progress and advance payments based upon the information provided in FTA's Third Party Contracting Guidance FTA C. 4220.1F and the grants Common Rule at 49 CFR 18.21.)
- Submit payment requests to FTA promptly-upon incurring expenses-instead of submitting requests for periodic or scheduled draw-downs.
- Request technical assistance from FTA to resolve issues that are impeding project delivery.
Your prompt attention to this matter will help to ensure that FT A and the U.S. Department of Transportation continue to invest wisely and efficiently in transportation projects that matter to America. As you know, ARRA afforded the FT A an unprecedented opportunity to responsibly administer over $8 billion for a variety of critical transportation projects that created tens of thousands of jobs around the United States at a time when they were needed most.
To date, over 70 percent of FTA's obligated ARRA funds have been spent and grantees have been reimbursed. FTA's outstanding performance is reflected in President Obama's American Jobs Act, which would entrust FTA with an additional $9 billion to invest in critical infrastructure needs. My staff and I are eager to work with you to accelerate the spending of ARRA funds you received, so that we can ensure that these taxpayer dollars are used to benefit public transit as intended. Please contact your regional FTA office for further assistance on this matter.