[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 172 (Thursday, September 9, 2021)]
[Pages 50590-50594]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-19397]

[[Page 50590]]



Federal Transit Administration

FY 2021 American Rescue Plan Additional Assistance

AGENCY: Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Department of 
Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO).


SUMMARY: The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announces the 
opportunity to apply for $2,207,561,294 in discretionary grants under 
the American Rescue Plan Act's Additional Assistance Funding 
(Additional Assistance Funding). As required by the American Rescue 
Plan Act, funds will be awarded to eligible recipients or eligible 
subrecipients of Urbanized Area Formula funds or Rural Area Formula 
funds that, as a result of the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), 
require additional assistance for costs related to operations, 
personnel, cleaning, and sanitization combating the spread of pathogens 
on transit systems, and debt service payments incurred to maintain 
operations and avoid layoffs and furloughs. FTA may award additional 
funding made available to the program prior to the announcement of 
project selections.

DATES: Complete proposals must be submitted electronically through the 
GRANTS.GOV ``APPLY'' function by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time, November 8, 
2021. Prospective applicants should initiate the process by promptly 
registering on the GRANTS.GOV website to ensure completion of the 
application process before the submission deadline. Instructions for 
applying can be found on FTA's website at https://www.transit.dot.gov/funding/grants/applying/applying-fta-funding and in the ``FIND'' module 
of GRANTS.GOV. The funding opportunity ID is 2021-012-TPM-AAF. Mail and 
fax submissions will not be accepted.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For questions regarding this notice, 
please email [email protected]. If you need immediate assistance 
you may call Sarah Clements, FTA Office of Program Management, (202) 


Table of Contents

A. Program Description
B. Federal Award Information
C. Eligibility Information
D. Application and Submission Information
E. Application Review Information
F. Federal Award Administration Information
G. Federal Awarding Agency Contact(s)
H. Other Information

A. Program Description

    The American Rescue Plan Act (ARP), Public Law 117-2 (March 11, 
2021), appropriated funding to award grants for additional assistance 
to transit agencies in response to COVID-19 through a discretionary 
process, as described in this notice. The Federal Assistance Listing 
numbers for this opportunity are 20.507 and 20.509. Additional 
Assistance Funding is made available to eligible recipients or 
subrecipients of Urbanized Area Formula funds (49 U.S.C. 5307) or Rural 
Area Formula funds (49 U.S.C. 5311). Eligible expenses are operating 
costs related to operations, personnel, cleaning, and sanitization 
combating the spread of pathogens on transit systems, and debt service 
payments incurred to maintain operations and avoid layoffs and 
furloughs as a result of COVID-19. Additional Assistance Funding 
supports FTA's strategic goals and objectives through timely and 
efficient investment in public transportation.

B. Federal Award Information

    ARP appropriated $ 2,207,561,294 in FY 2021 funds for Additional 
Assistance grants. FTA may award additional funding made available to 
the program prior to the announcement of project selections.
    There is no minimum or maximum grant award amount, although FTA may 
cap the amount a single recipient or State may receive as part of the 
selection process. FTA intends to fund as many eligible projects as 
possible. FTA does not expect there to be sufficient funding to support 
shortfalls beyond September 30, 2023.

C. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants

    Eligible applicants include eligible recipients of Urbanized Area 
Formula funds (49 U.S.C. 5307) or Rural Area Formula funds (49 U.S.C. 
5311) who, as a result of COVID-19, require additional assistance. This 
includes Indian tribes that are eligible recipients of Urbanized Area 
Formula funds or Rural Area Formula funds.
    FTA will administer applications and awards under this NOFO in a 
manner similar to the Urbanized Area and Rural Area Formula funding 
programs. Only designated and direct recipients under those programs, 
including States and Indian tribes, may apply directly to FTA under 
this NOFO, and FTA will make awards under this NOFO only to applicants 
that are designated or direct recipients of those programs. A 
designated or direct recipient may apply on behalf of one or more 
public transportation subrecipients of Urbanized Area and Rural Area 
Formula funding.
    Eligible applicants that do not currently have an active grant with 
FTA will, upon selection, be required to work with the FTA regional 
office to establish their organization as an active grant recipient. 
This process may require additional documentation to support the 
organization's technical, financial, and legal capacity to receive and 
administer Federal funds under this program. Traditional subrecipients 
of FTA funding are strongly encouraged to work with their direct/
designated recipient on a consolidated application to assist with the 
quick obligation of these funds.

2. Cost Sharing or Matching

    The Federal share is 100 percent of the net project cost. 
Applicants will not provide match.

3. Eligible Projects

    Eligible projects are operating costs related to operations, 
personnel, cleaning, and sanitization combating the spread of pathogens 
on transit systems, and debt service payments incurred to maintain 
operations and avoid layoffs and furloughs as a result of COVID-19. As 
required by ARP, amounts made available for Additional Assistance 
Funding are available only for operating expenses.
    In general, operating expenses are those costs necessary to 
operate, maintain, and manage a public transportation system. Operating 
expenses usually include such costs as driver salaries, fuel, and items 
having a useful life of less than one year, including personal 
protective equipment and cleaning supplies. Preventive maintenance is 
considered an operating expense for the purposes of Additional 
Assistance Funding. For more information, please see Frequently Asked 
Question ``CA2: What is eligible as an operating expense?'' on FTA's 
website at https://www.transit.dot.gov/frequently-asked-questions-fta-grantees-regarding-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19#CARES.
    Actual and anticipated expenses incurred on or after January 20, 
2020, are eligible for this funding. However, FTA does not expect there 
to be sufficient funding to support shortfalls beyond September 30, 

[[Page 50591]]

D. Application and Submission Information

1. Address to Request Application Package

    The application package can be downloaded from GRANTS.GOV or the 
FTA website at: https://www.transit.dot.gov/funding/american-rescue-plan-act-2021.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

a. Proposal Submission
    A complete proposal submission consists of two forms: (1) The SF-
424 Application for Federal Assistance; and (2) the Additional 
Assistance Funding supplemental form. The supplemental form and any 
supporting documents must be attached to the ``Attachments'' section of 
the SF-424. The application must include responses to all sections of 
the SF-424 Application for Federal Assistance and the supplemental 
form, unless indicated as optional. The information on the supplemental 
form will be used to determine applicant and project eligibility for 
the program, and to evaluate the proposal against the selection 
criteria described in Section E of this notice.
    FTA will only accept one supplemental form per SF-424 submission. 
FTA encourages States and other applicants to consider submitting a 
single supplemental form that includes multiple activities to be 
evaluated as a consolidated proposal. If a State or other applicant 
chooses to submit separate proposals for individual consideration by 
FTA, each proposal must be submitted using a separate SF-424 and 
supplemental form.
    Applicants may attach additional supporting documents to the SF-424 
submission, including but not limited to estimates of financial need, 
data on reduction in farebox or other sources of local revenue for 
sustained operations, a spending plan for such funds, and demonstration 
of expenditure of greater than 90 percent of CARES Act funding 
allocated to the applicant. Supporting documentation should be 
described and referenced by file name in the appropriate response 
section of the supplemental form, or it may not be reviewed.
    Information such as applicant name, Federal amount requested, 
description of areas served, etc. may be requested in varying degrees 
of detail on both the SF-424 and supplemental form. Applicants must 
fill in all fields unless stated otherwise on the forms. Applicants 
should not place N/A or ``refer to attachment'' in lieu of typing in 
responses in the field sections. If information is copied into the 
supplemental form from another source, applicants should verify that 
the pasted text is fully captured on the supplemental form and has not 
been truncated by the character limits built into the form. Applicants 
should use both the ``Check Package for Errors'' and the ``Validate 
Form'' validation buttons on both forms to check all required fields 
and ensure that the Federal and local amounts specified are consistent.
b. Application Content
    The SF-424 Application for Federal Assistance and the supplemental 
form will prompt applicants for the required information, including:

a. Applicant name
b. Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) 
c. Key contact information (including contact name, address, email 
address, and phone)
d. Congressional district(s) where project will take place
e. Project information (including title, executive summary, and type)
f. A detailed description of the need for additional funding
g. Data on 2018 operating expenses
h. Data on reductions in farebox revenue and other sources of state or 
local funding
i. Information on CARES Act allocations and expenditures as of the 
application deadline
j. Information on CRRSAA and ARP formula funding allocations and 
k. Information on other Federal sources of funding for operating 
l. A detailed project budget
m. A detailed implementation timeline

3. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM)

    Each applicant is required to: (1) Be registered in SAM before 
submitting an application; (2) provide a valid unique entity identifier 
in its application; and (3) continue to maintain an active SAM 
registration with current information at all times during which the 
applicant has an active Federal award or an application or plan under 
consideration by FTA. FTA may not make an award until the applicant has 
complied with all applicable unique entity identifier and SAM 
requirements. If an applicant has not fully complied with the 
requirements by the time FTA is ready to make an award, FTA may 
determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive an award and 
use that determination as a basis for making a Federal award to another 
applicant. These requirements do not apply if the applicant has an 
exception approved by FTA or the U.S. Office of Management and Budget 
under 2 CFR 25.110(c) or (d)
    All applicants must provide a unique entity identifier provided by 
SAM. Registration in SAM may take as little as 3-5 business days, but 
since there could be unexpected steps or delays (for example, if there 
is a need to obtain an Employee Identification Number), FTA recommends 
allowing ample time, up to several weeks, for completion of all steps. 
For additional information on obtaining a unique entity identifier, 
please visit www.sam.gov.

4. Submission Dates and Times

    Project proposals must be submitted electronically through 
GRANTS.GOV by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on November 8, 2021. GRANTS.GOV 
attaches a time stamp to each application at the time of submission. 
Mail and fax submissions will not be accepted.
    FTA urges applicants to submit applications at least 72 hours prior 
to the due date to allow time to correct any problems that may have 
caused either GRANTS.GOV or FTA systems to reject the submission.
    Deadlines will not be extended due to scheduled website 
maintenance. GRANTS.GOV scheduled maintenance and outage times are 
announced on the GRANTS.GOV website.
    Within 48 hours after submitting an electronic application, the 
applicant should receive an email message from GRANTS.GOV with 
confirmation of successful transmission to GRANTS.GOV. If a notice of 
failed validation or incomplete materials is received, the applicant 
must address the reason for the failed validation, as described in the 
email notice, and resubmit before the submission deadline. If making a 
resubmission for any reason, include all original attachments 
regardless of which attachments were updated, and check the box on the 
supplemental form indicating this is a resubmission.
    Applicants are encouraged to begin the process of registration on 
the GRANTS.GOV site well in advance of the submission deadline. 
Registration is a multi-step process, which may take several weeks to 
complete before an application can be submitted. Registered applicants 
may still be required to take steps to keep their registration up to 
date before submissions can be made successfully: (1) Registration in 
SAM is renewed annually; and (2) persons making submissions on behalf 
of the Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) must be authorized 

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GRANTS.GOV by the AOR to make submissions.
    Failure to submit the required information as requested may delay 
review or disqualify the application.

5. Funding Restrictions

    ARP Additional Assistance funds may be used only for operating 
costs. Allowable direct and indirect expenses must be consistent with 
the Governmentwide Uniform Administrative Requirements and Cost 
Principles (2 CFR part 200) and FTA Circular 5010.1E. Funding is being 
made available for reimbursement of costs normally covered by fare 
revenue or other non-Federal sources of funding and is not intended to 
support new initiatives to reduce or eliminate fares, except for 
temporary fare policy changes implemented to improve safety in response 
to the COVID-19 pandemic.

6. Other Submission Requirements

    FTA may award a lesser amount than the applicant requests.
    All applications must be submitted via the GRANTS.GOV website. FTA 
does not accept applications on paper, by fax machine, email, or other 
means. For information on application submission requirements, please 
see Section D.1., Address to Request Application Package.

E. Application Review Information

1. Criteria

    Applications will be reviewed primarily based on the responses 
provided in the supplemental form. Additional information may be 
provided to support the responses; however, any additional 
documentation must be directly referenced on the supplemental form, 
including the file name where the additional information can be found. 
FTA will review funding proposals for Additional Assistance Funding 
based on the criteria described in this notice.
a. Reduction in Farebox or Other Sources of Revenue
    Responses will be reviewed based on the extent to which the 
applicant has suffered a reduction in farebox revenue or other sources 
of revenue from any non-Federal source. Applicants must provide totals 
for their 2018 fare revenue and 2018 non-Federal revenue that supported 
operations. The narrative section should detail the sources of these 
funds. Applicants also must provide their actual or projected farebox 
and non-Federal revenue used or needed for operations for each of the 
given Federal fiscal years (FFYs) identified in the supplemental form, 
beginning with the eligible timeframe for FFY 2020 (January 20, 2020, 
or a date later in 2020 if the applicant's accounting system cannot 
provide the data as of January 20, 2020, through September 30, 2020) 
and for each FFY for which the applicant is requesting funding, ending 
with FFY 2023 (October 1, 2022, through September 30, 2023). 
Additionally, should the applicant choose to submit a request for 
funding for shortfalls for FFY 2024 through FFY 2029, the applicant may 
provide a narrative describing the anticipated reduction in revenue.
    The narrative response should identify the reason for any 
differences between the 2018 amounts and the actual or projected 
amounts for the time period for which you are requesting assistance.
b. Estimate of Financial Need
    Responses will be reviewed based on the financial need demonstrated 
by the applicant, including actual or projected financial need to 
maintain service that has not been replaced by funds allocated to the 
applicant under the CARES Act, Coronavirus Response and Relief 
Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA), and other ARP funding, as a 
percentage of 2018 operating costs.
    The applicant must provide their 2018 operating expense total as 
reported to the National Transit Database (NTD) to establish a baseline 
for the request. The applicant also must provide the amount of CARES 
Act, CRRSAA, and ARP funding allocated to it. Applicants then must 
provide their operating expense total for each FFY for which they are 
requesting funding. Applicants should also provide the amount of 
Federal funding used or projected to be used toward operating expenses 
in each year. Note that Urbanized Area providers should be sure to 
provide their total operating expenses from the F-40 form of their NTD 
Report, which is inclusive of all operating expenses, including those 
that are not used for apportionment purposes. States should submit all 
relevant operating expense reports for any urbanized area or rural area 
subrecipients to which they would allocate Additional Assistance 
    The applicant must attach completed CARES Act, CRRSAA, and ARP 
split letters or allocation announcements to the application. Failure 
to include this information will result in the total amount of CARES 
Act, CRRSAA, and ARP funding allocated to the urbanized area(s) or 
state being considered available to the applicant or its subrecipients 
to address the additional funding needs identified in the application.
    In the narrative section of the report, the applicant must describe 
(1) how actual and/or projected revenues have fallen short of 2018 
revenues, as a percentage of 2018 operating expenses; (2) how much of 
the lost revenues has been or will be replaced by CARES Act, CRRSAA, 
and ARP funding; (3) how the requested assistance will support unmet 
operating expense needs, after fully using CARES Act, CRRSAA, and ARP 
funding; and (4) how the requested assistance will not displace regular 
formula grant assistance from FTA.
c. Demonstration of Expenditure of CARES Act Funding
    Per ARP, the applicant must demonstrate that it has expended 90 
percent of the CARES Act funding allocated to the applicant no later 
than the application deadline in order to receive ARP Additional 
Assistance Funding. The applicant must include the amount of CARES Act 
funding it received or was allocated and documentation supporting 
disbursement of at least 90 percent of its CARES Act allocations.
d. Project Spending Plan
    Responses will be reviewed based on the extent to which the funding 
is ready to be obligated by September 30, 2023, and disbursed by 
September 30, 2029, as well as whether the applicant's proposed 
spending plans are reasonable and complete.
    In assessing whether the proposed spending plan is reasonable and 
complete, FTA will review the description of the amounts needed and 
activities performed in each of FFYs 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023, as 
well as the period of FFY 2024 through 2029. Although FTA does not 
expect there to be sufficient funding to support shortfalls after FFY 
2023, this does not preclude applicants from submitting such requests. 
For projects that will require formal coordination, approvals, or 
permits from other agencies or project partners, the applicant must 
demonstrate coordination with these organizations and their support for 
the project, such as through letters of support.

2. Review and Selection Process

    A technical evaluation committee will evaluate proposals based on 
the published criteria. Members of the technical evaluation committee 
and other FTA staff may request additional information from applicants, 
if necessary. Based on the findings of the technical evaluation 
committee, the FTA Administrator will determine the final allocation of 
funding based on the

[[Page 50593]]

level of financial need demonstrated by an eligible recipient or 
subrecipient, including projections of future financial need to 
maintain service, as a percentage of the 2018 operating costs, that has 
not been replaced by the funds made available from CARES Act, CRRSAA, 
or ARP to the eligible recipient or subrecipient for the operating 
expenses of transit agencies. FTA intends to fund projects with 
financial needs before September 30, 2023, before funding projects with 
needs after that date. In determining the allocation of funds, FTA may 
consider geographic diversity, diversity in the size of the transit 
systems receiving funding, and an applicant's immediate funding need.
    Prior to making an award, FTA is required to review and consider 
any information about the applicant that is in the Federal Awardee 
Performance and Integrity Information Systems accessible through SAM. 
An applicant may review and comment on information about itself that a 
Federal awarding agency previously entered. FTA may consider any 
comments by the applicant, in addition to the other information in the 
designated integrity and performance system, in making a judgment about 
the applicant's integrity, business ethics, and record of performance 
under Federal awards when completing the review of risk posed by 
applicants as described in the Office of Management and Budget's 
Uniform Requirements for Federal Awards (2 CFR 200.205).

F. Federal Award Administration Information

1. Federal Award Notices

    Final project allocations will be posted on the FTA website. Only 
proposals from eligible applicants for eligible activities will be 
considered for funding. There is no minimum or maximum grant award 
amount; however, FTA intends to fund as many meritorious projects as 
possible. Due to funding limitations, projects that are selected for 
funding may receive less than the amount originally requested.
    Recipients should contact their FTA regional offices for additional 
information regarding allocations for projects under the Additional 
Assistance Funding.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

i. Pre-Award Authority
    At the time the project selections are announced, FTA will extend 
pre-award authority for the selected projects back to January 20, 2020. 
For more information about FTA's policy on pre-award authority, please 
see the FTA Fiscal Year 2021 Apportionments, Allocations and Program 
Information Notice at https://www.transit.dot.gov/regulations-guidance/notices/2021-15576.
ii. Grant Requirements
    If selected, awardees will apply for a grant through FTA's Transit 
Award Management System (TrAMS). All Additional Assistance Funding 
recipients are subject to the grant requirements of the Urbanized Area 
Formula Grant program (49 U.S.C. 5307), including those of FTA Circular 
``Urbanized Area Formula Program: Program Guidance and Application 
Instructions'' (FTA.C.9030.1E), or the Rural Area Formula Grant program 
(49 U.S.C. 5311), including those of FTA Circular ``Formula Grants for 
Rural Areas'' (FTA.C.9040.1G). All recipients must also follow FTA 
Circular ``Award Management Requirements'' (FTA.C.5010.1E) and the 
labor protections required by Federal public transportation law (49 
U.S.C. 5333(b)). Technical assistance regarding these requirements is 
available from each FTA regional office.
iii. Buy America
    FTA requires that all procurements meet FTA's Buy America 
requirements (49 U.S.C. 5323(j)), which require all iron, steel, and 
manufactured products be produced in the United States. Applicants 
should read the policy guidance carefully to determine the applicable 
domestic content requirement for their projects. Any proposal that will 
require a waiver must identify the items for which a waiver will be 
sought in the application. Applicants should not proceed with the 
expectation that waivers will be granted.
iv. Disadvantaged Business Enterprise
    Projects that include acquisitions are subject to the Disadvantaged 
Business Enterprise (DBE) program regulations (49 CFR part 26). FTA 
will provide additional guidance as grants are awarded. For more 
information on DBE requirements, please contact Monica McCallum, Office 
of Civil Rights, 206-220-7519, email: [email protected].
v. Planning
    FTA encourages applicants to notify the appropriate State 
Departments of Transportation and Metropolitan Planning Organizations 
in areas likely to be served by the project funds made available under 
these initiatives and programs.
vi. Standard Assurances
    The applicant assures that it will comply with all applicable 
Federal statutes, regulations, executive orders, directives, FTA 
circulars, and other Federal administrative requirements in carrying 
out any project supported by the FTA grant. The applicant acknowledges 
that it is under a continuing obligation to comply with the terms and 
conditions of the grant agreement issued for its project with FTA. The 
applicant understands that Federal laws, regulations, policies, and 
administrative practices might be modified from time to time and may 
affect the implementation of the project. The applicant agrees that the 
most recent Federal requirements will apply to the project, unless FTA 
issues a written determination otherwise. The applicant must submit the 
Certifications and Assurances before receiving a grant if it does not 
have current certifications on file.

3. Reporting

    Post-award reporting requirements include the electronic submission 
of Federal Financial Reports and Milestone Progress Reports. Applicant 
should include any goals, targets, and indicators referenced in their 
application to the project in the Executive Summary of the TrAMS 
application. Recipients of funds made available through this NOFO are 
also required to regularly submit data to the NTD.
    As part of completing the annual Certifications and Assurances 
required of FTA grant recipients, a successful applicant must report on 
the suspension or debarment status of itself and its principals. If the 
award recipient's active grants, cooperative agreements, and 
procurement contracts from all Federal awarding agencies exceeds 
$10,000,000 for any period of time during the period of performance of 
an award made pursuant to this Notice, the recipient must comply with 
the Recipient Integrity and Performance Matters reporting requirements 
described in Appendix XII to 2 CFR part 200.

G. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts

    For further information concerning this notice, please contact 
[email protected]. If you require immediate assistance please 
contact the Additional Assistance Program manager, Sarah Clements, by 
phone at (202) 366-3062. A TDD is available for individuals who are 
deaf or hard of hearing at 800-877-8339. In addition, FTA will post 

[[Page 50594]]

information about this NOFO as it becomes available on FTA's website 
at: https://www.transit.dot.gov/funding/american-rescue-plan-act-2021. 
To ensure receipt of accurate information about eligibility or the 
program, the applicant is encouraged to contact FTA directly, rather 
than through intermediaries or third parties.
    For issues with GRANTS.GOV, please contact GRANTS.GOV by phone at 
1-800-518-4726 or by email at [email protected]. Contact information 
for FTA's regional offices can be found on FTA's website at http://www.transit.dot.gov/.

H. Other Information

    This program is not subject to Executive Order 12372, 
``Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs.''

Nuria I. Fernandez,
[FR Doc. 2021-19397 Filed 9-8-21; 8:45 am]