FTA Section 5311 / State Transit Program
Rural Transit Program in Wyoming
Providing quality public transit service to Wyoming's rural communities is the main purpose of the program. Currently, service is available to residents in all 23 counties. Most transit providers are senior centers that have been active in the transit business since the inception of this program in Wyoming in 1985. There are more than 40 rural public transit providers, plus the two in the urbanized areas of Casper and Cheyenne.
The Rural Public Transit Program provides state funding and federal formula grants to support development, maintenance and improvement of public transportation in rural and small urban areas. WYDOT administers Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Section 5311 program for rural transportation projects in areas with population under 50,000. State Transit funds, authorized by the Wyoming State Legislature, supplement the § 5311 program funds, and are also available to Cheyenne and Casper that receive FTA § 5307 funds directly.
To be eligible for funding under the Rural Transit Program, the applicant must be from one of the following groups:
- Government sponsored entities, such as:
- state agencies
- local governments - city, town, county
- transit authorities
- other tax supported entities
- Nonprofit organizations
- Public/Private operator of public transportation services
- For-profit organizations can participate in funding through contracts with eligible recipients
In Wyoming, the primary recipients are nonprofit organizations that offer services to the general public. Traditionally, with a few exceptions, municipalities have not assumed the role of public transit provider in their communities.
FTA Section 5311 - Rural Public Transit Program / State Transit Program
Purpose: Provide quality public transit service to Wyoming's rural communities. This service is available to resident of all 23 counties. Most transit providers are senior centers that have been active in the transit business since the inception of this program in Wyoming in 1985. There are more than 40 rural public transit providers, plus the two urbanized areas of Casper and Cheyenne.
Overview: The Rural Public Transit Program provides state funding and federal formula grants to support development, maintenance and improvement of public transportation in rural and small urban areas. The Wyoming Department of Transportation administers Federal Transit Administration Section 5311 programs for rural transportation projects in areas under 50,000 population. State Transit funds, authorized by the Wyoming Legislature supplement the FTA Sec. 5311 program funds, and are also available to Cheyenne and Casper.
Program Features and Facts:
· The Wyoming public transit program annually administers both the federal Section 5311 annual apportionment and the state Public Transit Program funding. Federal and state funds are combined and administered according to guidelines established by the federal transit program.
· In small population Wyoming towns, senior centers serving the needs of those communities' elderly residents have assumed the role of public transit provider. Typically, Wyoming municipalities have not traditionally assumed the role of public transit provider.
· With the recent spike in fuel costs and the statewide energy development demands, Wyoming is experiencing a surge in demand for rural public transit service. The demand for qualified transit drivers also is contributing to increased operating costs.
· Eligible capital costs include purchase of buses, vans, paratransit vehicles, radios and communications equipment; bus shelters, wheelchair lifts, vehicle rehabilitation, operational support, such as approved office equipment, some spare parts, tires and construction and rehabilitation of transit facilities. Maximum state/federal share is generally between 80 to 90 percent.
· Operating costs include such items as fuel, oil, certain replacement parts, driver, and mechanic salaries, fringe benefits, dispatcher salaries and licenses. State/federal share is generally 56.56 percent.
· Administrative costs are eligible for an 80-90 percent federal/state share and may include but not be limited to: general administrative and overhead costs, such as salaries of the project director, secretary and bookkeeper, office supplies, facilities rent, insurance and marketing.
· In general, local applications must contain a project description of efforts to coordinate with other transportation services, including private-sector transportation providers; a project budget; and agreement on a variety of special assurances. Coordination Plan information can be found here.
Applications for transit program grants are solicited from other state agencies, local governments, nonprofit organizations and public/private operators of public transportation services. For-profit transportation services can participate in the program through contracts with eligible recipients.
FTA Section 5311 (f) - Intercity Bus Projects
Purpose: Each state is required to allocate a minimum of at least 15 percent of its annual 5311 (rural transit ) apportionment for development and support of intercity transportation.
Overview: In Wyoming, intercity bus service provides a vital link between otherwise isolated rural and small urban communities and the rest of the state, and to nearby urban areas. One objective of funding for intercity bus service is to support the connection between nonurbanized areas and the larger regional or national system of intercity bus service. Another objective is to support services to meet the intercity travel needs of residents in non-urbanized areas. A third objective is to support the infrastructure of the intercity bus network through planning and marketing assistance and capital investment in facilities.
Program Features & Facts:
· Eligible activities include operating grants through purchase-of-service agreements, planning and marketing for intercity bus transportation, capital grants for intercity bus shelters, joint-use stops and depots, coordination of rural connections between small transit operators and intercity bus carriers.
· Wyoming’s fastest growing demand for intercity bus funding has proven to be the non-emergency medical field, especially for persons requiring dialysis treatment. Most communities located near the state’s borders are utilizing funds to transport people to large medical centers in border states.
FTA Section5311 (b) (3)
Purpose: This program provides funding for grants and contracts for research, technical assistance, training and related support services for rural transit programs. Allocation of federal funds for RTAP occurs annually in conjunction with rural transit program funds.
Overview: RTAP funds are annually allocated to WYDOT and contracted out with WYTRANS, the statewide organization of community transit providers, to provide training, technical assistance, drug and alcohol testing program administration and to print and distribute the newsletter “Transit Express.”
Features & Facts:
· RTAP provides funding for grants and contracts for research, technical assistance, training and related support services for rural transit.
· WYDOT contracts the majority of these funds to WYTRANS for training, publication of the newsletters and administrative costs incurred through administration of the statewide drug and alcohol program.
FTA Section 5311 (c) - Public Transportation on Indian Reservations
· To enhance the access of public transportation on and around Indian reservations in nonurbanized areas to health care, shopping, education, employment, public services, and recreation.
· It also can assist in the maintenance, development, improvement and use of public transportation systems in rural and small urban areas.
· This funding also is meant to encourage and facilitate the most efficient use of all Federal funds used to provide passenger transportation in non-urbanized areas through the coordination of programs and services.
· To provide for the participation of private transportation providers in nonurbanized transportation to the maximum extent feasible.
Program Features & Facts:
· Federally-recognized Indian tribes are eligible direct recipients.
· Recipients tribes may use these funds for any purpose that is eligible under the FTA Section 5311 program
· Eligible purposes include: planning, capital, administration and operating assistance for rural public transit services, and support of rural intercity bus service.
· No match is required for this program funding.