New Freedom Program (5317)
The New Freedom formula grant program aims to provide additional tools to overcome existing barriers facing Americans with disabilities seeking integration into the work force and full participation in society. Lack of adequate transportation is a primary barrier to work for individuals with disabilities. The 2000 Census showed that only 60 percent of people between the ages of 16 and 64 with disabilities are employed. The New Freedom formula grant program seeks to reduce barriers to transportation services and expand the transportation mobility options available to people with disabilities beyond the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990.
States and public bodies are eligible designated recipients. Eligible subrecipients are private non-profit organizations, State or local governments, and operators of public transportation services including private operators of public transportation services.
Capital and operating expenses for new public transportation services and new public transportation alternatives beyond those required by the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), that are designed to assist individuals with disabilities.
49 U.S.C. 5317
Section 5317 funds are available to the States during the Fiscal Year of apportionment plus two additional years (total of three years).
Allocation of Funding
Of the total New Freedom funds available, FTA apportions 60 percent among designated recipients in large urbanized areas; 20 percent to the states for small urbanized areas; and 20 percent to the states for rural and small urban areas under 50,000 in population. Section 5317 funds are apportioned among the recipients by a formula which is based on the ratio that the number of individuals with disabilities in each such area bears to the number of individuals with disabilities in all such areas.
New Freedom funds may be used to finance capital and operating expenses. The Federal share of eligible capital and planning costs may not exceed 80 percent of the net cost of the activity. The Federal share of the eligible operating costs may not exceed 50 percent of the net operating costs of the activity. Recipients may use up to 10 percent of their apportionment to support program administrative costs including administration, planning, and technical assistance, which may be funded at 100 percent Federal share. The local share of eligible capital and planning costs shall be no less than 20 percent of the net cost of the activity, and the local share for eligible operating costs shall be no less than 50 percent of the net operating costs.
Other Program Highlights
Title 49 U.S.C. 5317, as amended by SAFETEA-LU, requires a recipient of Section 5317 funds to certify that projects selected are derived from a locally developed, coordinated public transit-human services transportation plan.