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On October 1, 2012, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) took effect, setting the regulatory framework for implementing surface transportation programs through federal fiscal year 2014. Under MAP-21, safety, state of good repair, asset management, and performance arise as major areas of focus, giving the FTA new safety authority and placing heavy emphasis on the restoration and replacement of aging infrastructure.  Some of the programs and provisions of MAP-21 differ from those under the previous authorization, Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU).  Any federal funds that you received under the SAFETEA-LU authorization (before federal fiscal year 2013) will be tied to SAFETEA-LU regulations.  Any federal funds you received for federal fiscal years 2013-2014 will be tied to MAP-21 requirements. 

The following is a list of the programs that were repealed under MAP-21:

  • Clean Fuels Grant Program (Section 5308)
  • Fixed Guideway Modernization (Section 5309(b)(2))
  • Bus and Bus Facilities Program (Section 5309(b)(3))
  • Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) Program (Section 5316)
  • New Freedom Program (Section 5317)
  • Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Parks Program (Section 5320)
  • Alternatives Analysis Program (Section 5339)
  • Over-the-Road Bus Accessibility Program (Section 3038)

While many of the SAFETEA-LU program requirements remain, there are several new requirements under MAP-21 that apply to all FTA programs.  The following are highlights of some of these cross-cutting requirements taken from Federal Register Notice Vol. 77, No. 200, Tuesday, October 16, 2012 (please note that this is not an exhaustive list):

  • Metropolitan and Statewide Planning- MAP-21 establishes a performance-based planning process, allows the designation of Regional Transportation Planning Organizations (RTPOs), and changes “statewide planning” to “statewide and nonmetropolitan planning” to emphasize the importance of nonmetropolitan areas to statewide planning.
  • Agency Safety Plans- under MAP-21, all FTA grantees are required to develop “comprehensive agency safety plans that at a minimum include methods for identifying and evaluating safety risks, strategies to minimize exposure to hazards and unsafe conditions, and performance targets for safety performance criteria and state of good repair standards established in a forthcoming National Public Safety Plan.”  A state can draft and certify safety plans for rural section 5311 subrecipients, and all safety plans must identify a safety officer with adequate safety training. 
  • Transit Asset Management Provisions- in accordance with MAP-21, FTA will define “state of good repair” (including performance measures), and based on that definition, grantees will be required to develop transit asset management (TAM) plans.  The FTA will establish reporting requirements for both asset inventory and condition assessments, and they will provide tools and technical support to grantees to assist them in meeting these new requirements.   

For more information about any of these changes, or to read the full list of cross-cutting requirements, please refer to Federal Register Notice Vol. 77, No. 200, Tuesday, October 16, 2012.

For more detailed information about safety and asset management, please refer to this advanced notice of proposed rulemaking in Federal Register Vol. 78, No. 192, Thursday, October 3, 2013.

The FTA continues to issue guidance and information about MAP-21, and all of this information can be found on the FTA MAP-21 webpage.  This webpage is updated as new information is available, and you can sign up to be notified by email each time a new document is posted. 

The Transit Manager’s Toolkit currently contains MAP-21 guidance for the Tribal Transit Program only.  As additional MAP-21 guidance becomes available, the toolkit will be updated.  Because there may be a period of time when your system is using both SAFETEA-LU and MAP-21 funds, we will keep the regulations for both authorizations available in this toolkit.

MAP-21 and Section 5311

Under MAP-21, the Section 5311 program is renamed the Formula Grants for Rural Areas Program, and while the program has changed, its main goal continues to be supporting public transportation in rural areas.  The program’s formula factors have changed to now include non-urbanized population, non-urbanized vehicle revenue miles, and population of low-income individuals living in non-urbanized areas.  Other modifications to the Section 5311 program under MAP-21 include the following:

  • The list of eligible projects now includes job access and reverse commute projects (there is no set-aside or cap for funding these activities under section 5311) and planning.
  • The percentage available to states for administration was reduced to 10% (from 15% under SAFETEA-LU).
  • The Appalachian Development Transportation Formula Program (ADTAP) was established as a takedown.
  • The Tribal Transit Program now includes both a formula and discretionary program (for more information, please see the tribal transit section of this toolkit).
  • The Intercity Pilot Match Program was codified. 

For a general overview of what is new in the Section 5311 program under MAP-21, please see the FTA Fact Sheet for Formula Grants for Rural Areas.   

The final circular for the Formula Grants for Rural Areas program was published on October 24, 2014. A section detailing the Section 5311 program requirements under the new authorization is currently under construction.


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