The FY 2002 DOT Appropriations Act provides $125 million for the Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) Program, which is the guaranteed funding level under TEA-21. In the FY 2002 Conference Report the appropriators indicated their desire that $109,339,000 of this amount be awarded to certain specified States and localities. These areas and the corresponding amounts are listed in Table 10. States and localities listed in the FY 2002 Conference Report, along with other States and localities not so listed, are invited to apply for JARC funding according to the procedures that will be published in a separate Federal Register notice. That notice will solicit applications for the $125 million available in FY 2002 and the $150 million that is the guaranteed level of funding for FY 2003.
Because recipients of JARC funds have expressed the need for multi-year funding through the early stages of implementation, FTA will no longer limit awards to a single year, but rather will consider multi-year funding in appropriate cases. To give effect to this new policy, FTA will give priority to funding continuation of previously selected projects. FTA will solicit applications for continued funding from those applicants previously funded under the JARC program. Grantees may apply for up to two additional years of continuation funding beyond that previously approved. Continuation does not include expansion of services beyond those previously funded. Expanded services will be treated as new projects. Continuation projects are expected to document their progress through their most recent progress report. Evaluation of JARC projects' progress will be a key element in determining continued FTA financial support.
FTA will solicit applications for new JARC projects both from existing recipients and from States, localities and nonprofit organizations that have not previously been awarded JARC funds. Because FY 2003 is the last year of the TEA-21 authorization of the JARC program, applicants for new projects will be encouraged to apply for a level of funding that would allow them to sustain service for at least two years.
Applicants identified in the FY 2002 Conference Report must participate in this application process along with all other applicants. FTA will evaluate and rank all projects submitted in response to this new solicitation. Because it is expected that FY 2002 funds will be used primarily, if not entirely, for continuation projects, it is expected that new projects will not be funded until FY 2003 funds become available.
The JARC program, established under TEA-21, provides funding for the provision of transportation services designed to increase access to jobs and employment-related activities. Job Access projects are those that transport welfare recipients and low-income individuals, including economically disadvantaged persons with disabilities, in urban, suburban, or rural areas to and from jobs and activities related to their employment. Reverse Commute projects provide transportation services for the general public from urban, suburban, and rural areas to suburban employment opportunities. A total of up to $10,000,000 from the appropriation can be used for Reverse Commute Projects.
One of the goals of the JARC program is to increase collaboration among transportation providers, human service agencies, employers, metropolitan planning organizations, States, and affected communities and individuals. All projects funded under this program must be derived from an area-wide Job Access and Reverse Commute Transportation Plan, developed through a regional approach which supports the implementation of a variety of transportation services designed to connect welfare recipients to jobs and related activities. A key element of the program is making the most efficient use of existing public, nonprofit and private transportation service providers.