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. (For FY 2001, the Congress eliminated these categorical allocations.) The program provides a 50 percent FTA share; matching funds may include those from other Federal welfare-to-work programs.
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 Reverse Commute) need for reverse commute service.
In FY 2001, 83 competitive projects totaling $27.1 million were approved by the FTA Administrator. In addition, the Congress designated $75 million for 67 specific projects. During FY 2001, 147 grants, some of which contained multiple projects, were awarded to 119 grantees. The total amount obligated was $85,009,627.