[PDF version of signed letter]
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has now published its Fiscal Year 2014 Apportionments, Allocations, and Program Information, providing a full fiscal year (FY) of funding for FTA’s programs as authorized by MAP-21, pursuant to the FY 2014 Appropriations Act. The notice is available in the Federal Register.
The notice provides information on our annual allocation of approximately $10.8 billion for programs and administrative expenses. This amount is in addition to more than $7 billion in formula funds that remain available for obligation from prior fiscal year allocations. I strongly encourage you to make every effort to obligate these funds in a timely manner so that necessary capital and operating improvements are made to your system.
The funding notice also includes funding information for our discretionary programs, including the FY 2014 Capital Investment Grant Program (New Starts, Small Starts, and Core Capacity), along with prior year discretionary programs and their unobligated balances. Additionally, the notice includes the status of MAP-21 implementation for many grant programs.
Concurrent with this funding notice, we have also published the FY2013 and FY2014 funding apportionments for the State Safety Oversight (SSO) Program, as required under MAP-21. The combined funding notice is available in the Federal Register.
I wish to highlight some of the changes taking effect in FY 2014, followed by a brief summary of information contained in these notices that may be useful to you.
Time Limits on CMAQ-Funded Operating Assistance Lifted
Projects for which Federal Highway Administration Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ) funding was made available, obligated, or expended in FY 2012 could be eligible for operating assistance without a time limitation. FTA will work with grantees at the time of grant application to verify eligibility for this provision.
Transition from TEAM to TrAMS for Grants Management
Beginning in October 2014, FTA expects to award and manage grants through the Transit Award Management System (TrAMS), the successor to TEAM. TrAMS will offer a more efficient, user-friendly, and flexible tool to award and manage grants and cooperative agreements.
Please note that grant applications must be in “submitted” status in TEAM by June 30, 2014, so that we have adequate time to make awards by the end of FY 2014, because TrAMS is expected to become operational in FY 2015. If your application has not been awarded in TEAM by the end of FY 2014, we cannot guarantee that it will be migrated into TrAMS. Training and technical assistance on TrAMS will be forthcoming.
Extension of Pre-Award Authority
Historically, FTA provides pre-award authority under all formula programs until the end of the authorization period and then extends it in one year increments. However, given the short authorization period and the need for continued pre-award authority, FTA is extending this period for two additional years beyond the authorization, to September 30, 2016, so long as all conditions are met.
FY 2014 Formula Grant Apportionments
FTA is publishing apportionment tables on its website for each program that reflects the full year appropriation levels. To view funding tables for eligible states, tribes, and urbanized areas, go to http://www.fta.dot.gov/apportionments and click on the FY 2014 apportionment links.
FY 2014 Discretionary Program Funding
MAP-21 authorized several discretionary grant programs, such as the Transit-Oriented Development Planning Pilot Program, Low or No Emissions Bus and Facilities Program, Tribal Transit Discretionary Program, and Passenger Ferry Program. FTA will publish individual Notices of Funding Availability (NOFAs) for some of these programs in the coming months now that the FY 2014 full-year appropriations are available. NOFAs will be posted in Grants.Gov and on FTA’s website, once they are published in the Federal Register.
FTA is in the process of updating program circulars to reflect MAP-21 changes and provide guidance for new and existing programs. A schedule for upcoming notice and comment periods as well as the publication of final circulars is included in the notice. (FTA is also working on several rulemakings related to MAP-21, including asset management and transit safety. Further information about the status of these rules will be announced at a later date.)
Capital Investment Grant Program
The appropriations act fully funds the President’s Fiscal Year 2014 Capital Investment Grant Program budget request, with approximately $2 billion to carry out the program. This funding level, in conjunction with the use of certain prior year unobligated or recovered funds, allows FTA to honor its existing funding commitments and to fund new projects previously recommended for New Starts/Small Starts funding.
The table of program allocations will be posted on our FY 2014 Apportionment Tables page at http://www.fta.dot.gov/documents/Table_7_FY_2014_Section_5309_Fixed_Guideway_CIG.xls.
Ongoing Safety Authority Implementation
FTA continues to work with states with rail transit systems to develop and carry out State Safety Oversight (SSO) programs consistent with the requirements of MAP-21. We will shortly issue a separate apportionment notice for FY 2013 funds for the SSO program—and that notice will also apportion FY 2014 funds to support the activities identified in the state work plans to address gaps with MAP-21 requirements.
Flood Insurance Reminder
This year’s apportionment notice makes a point of reminding our transit agency grantees that it is vitally important to obtain and maintain flood insurance for buildings in Special Flood Hazard Areas. You need to maintain flood insurance for any building located in a special flood hazard area that receives federal financial assistance. Remember that FTA and other federal agencies may not provide any financial assistance for the acquisition, construction, reconstruction, repair, or improvement of a building unless the recipient has first acquired flood insurance under the National Flood Insurance Act to cover the buildings constructed or repaired with Federal funds.
FTA continues to work with states with rail transit systems to develop and carry out SSO programs consistent with the requirements of MAP-21. As the notice indicates, we are making approximately $22 million available for this purpose in FY2013 and roughly the same amount in FY2014. FTA’s Office of Safety is publishing separately a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) that provide additional guidance to states, including detailed information about eligible SSO-related activities. The FAQs are available on FTA’s website at http://www.fta.dot.gov/tso_15862.html.
Looking ahead to FY 2015, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has outlined an exciting and ambitious vision for the future of public transportation. We look forward to working with all of you to continue building and preserving our transit networks, so that together we may offer new ladders of opportunity for millions of Americans who need and deserve access to jobs and training, education, health care, and so much more.