The Job Access / Reverse Commute program funds projects to connect welfare recipients and other low-income persons to jobs and other support services. Specifically, a Job Access project is one that would transport welfare recipients and eligible low income individuals to and from jobs and activities related to their employment. The grant may include capital items or the cost of operating service. A Reverse Commute project is related to the development of transportation services designed to transport residents from urban areas, urbanized areas, and non-urbanized areas to suburban employment opportunities. Eligible projects include subsidizing costs associated with adding reverse commute service or subsidizing the purchase or lease of shuttle vehicles. Planning and coordination are not eligible activities.
Of the funds made available under this program, 60 percent are allocated for eligible projects in urbanized areas with populations of 200,000 and above, 20 percent to urbanized areas with populations under 200,000, and the remaining 20 percent to non-urbanized areas. The program has a 50 percent Federal share.
Job Access / Reverse Commute applications undergo a competitive grant selection process. Several factors are considered: (1) percentage of the population in the service area that are welfare recipients, (2) the need for additional service in the area, (3) coordination with existing local transit providers and State administrators, (4) maximum utilization of existing transportation service providers and expanded transit networks or hours of service, (5) innovation, (6) identification of long-term financing and fit into regional transportation plan, (7) demonstration of community involvement, and (8) (for Rev. Comm.) need for reverse commute service.
In FY 2000, 157 competitive projects totaling $51.2 million were evaluated by a ONE DOT multi-modal team and approved by the FTA Administrator. In addition, the Congress directed FTA to award $49.6 million for 47 specific grants. During FY 2000, 97 grants, some of which contained multiple projects, were awarded to 90 grantees. The total amount obligated was $60,148,161.