FTA Policy Guidance and Procedures for ARRA Grants

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A. Civil Rights

Existing regulations and guidance pertaining to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO), Title VI, and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) programs apply to ARRA funds apportioned in this Federal Register notice.


Concerning DBE in particular, FTA does not expect grantees will need to amend FY 2009 overall goals. However, there are some key situations to consider. First, it may be that receipt of ARRA funds will bring a grantee above the $250,000 threshold amount, which triggers the requirement to comply with the DBE program, including goal setting. In this case the grantee will need to submit a DBE goal (in such a case, it may submit a single goal for the remainder of FY 2009 and entirety of FY 2010). Second, a grantee's receipt of additional ARRA funds could render the FY 2009 goal obsolete. This could occur if the additional funds create vastly different contracting opportunities, for example. In this case, the grantee may:

  1. Submit a project goal to be approved by FTA's Administrator (project goals are appropriate only if there is a specific large, multi-year, and/or design-build project. Additional funding alone would not trigger the need for a project based goal);
  2. amend the FY 2009 goal (with FTA approval per normal procedures under the DBE regulations);
  3. submit a new goal for the remainder of FY 2009 and entirety of FY 2010 that accounts for contracting opportunities derived from ARRA financed projects; or
  4. do not amend the 2009 goal, but include the ARRA project in your FY 2010 goal, if the ARRA-funded project will be primarily executed during FY 2010.

Further Departmental guidance on the Disadvantaged Business Utilization program can be found at http://osdbu.dot.gov/DBEProgram/dbeqna.cfm#economic_recovery.

Grantees should consult closely with their Regional Civil Rights Officer to determine which approach best applies to their specific situations.

In the interim, grantees must immediately begin considering DBE and non-DBE availability and capacity as they relate to anticipated or potential projects funded by the ARRA, and discuss strategies for DBE utilization with the relevant contracting industries and DBE communities. 

Other important issues that affect FTA grant processing activities are discussed below. a. DBE Goal—Existing DOT and FTA regulations and guidance pertaining to the ADA, EEO, Title VI, and DBE programs will apply to the ARRA funds. Concerning the DBE program (49 CFR part 26) the U.S. DOT has issued ARRA DBE Questions & Answers at http://osdbu.dot.gov/DBEProgram/dbeqna.cfm#economic_recovery.

This Q&A should address some of the unique issues and opportunities raised by the new spending, express DOT’s expectations, with NOTICES, and delineate grantees’continued obligations and options as they prepare for and execute their potential grants.

Technical Assistance

FTA headquarters and regional staff are pleased to answer your questions and provide any technical assistance you may need to apply for FTA ARRA funds and to manage the grants you receive. In addition to this notice, Questions and Answers regarding FTA’s implementation of the ARRA, and additional resources may be viewed via the FTA Web site http://www.fta.dot.gov/economicrecovery. Further, all FTA circular are posted on our Web site, including: C4220.1F, Third Party Contracting Requirements, dated November 1, 2008; and C5010.1D, Grant Management Guidelines (November 1, 2008).  Contact FTA for civil rights-related ARRA inquiries  The toll-free free hotline is 866-525-5561.  Within the DC metropolitan area, the number is 202-366-7107.

FTA has also established an e-mail address FTA.ARRACivilRightsreq@dot.gov for civil rights inquiries related to ARRA.

You may also contact the regional civil rights officer at the Regional Office listed in Appendix C.

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