National RTAP News

Overview of MAP-21 Changes to Section 5311

The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) authorizes surface transportation programs for Federal fiscal years 2013 and 2014.  It was signed by President Obama on July 6, 2012 and became effective on October 1, 2012. 

Section 5311 changes in MAP-21 included changes to the program name, the formula apportionments, eligibility and to the set-asides that support other rural transit programs.


Formula Apportionments


MAP-21 modifies the formula for the Formula Grants for Rural Areas Program (Rural Areas Program).

  • The amount of funds apportioned based on non-urbanized population was reduced from 80% to 66.5%.
  • Add on apportionment based on non-urbanized vehicle revenue miles and population of low-income individuals living in non-urbanized areas.
  • Approximately the same (20%) apportioned on the basis of non-urbanized land area.

Section 5311, under MAP-21, now includes three take-downs:

  • Appalachian Development Public Assistance Program (NEW)
  • Rural Transit Assistance Program (RTAP)
  • Tribal Transit Program




MAP-21 modifies the eligible expenses for the Rural Areas Program. 


  • Planning is a new eligible activity for subrecipients. (Prior, states were allowed to use planning as a portion of an administrative set aside).  Other eligible expenses still include:  capital, operating, and state administrative activities for public transit service in rural areas under 50,000.

State Administration:

  • Reduced amounts that can be used by the states for administration, planning and technical assistance by 5% (from 15% to 10%).

Intercity Bus Transportation:

  • No less than 15% of a state's annual 5311 apportionment must be spent for the development and support of intercity bus transportation, unless the state can certify, after consultation with intercity bus service providers, that the intercity bus needs of the state are being met.  MAP-21 allows the unsubsidized portion of privately provided intercity bus service that connects feeder service to be used as in-kind match for intercity bus projects. 

Safety Certification Training:

  • 5311 recipients may spend up to 0.5% of their formula funds for not more than 80% of the cost of training an employee who is responsible for safety oversight in public transportation safety certification training. 

Job Access and Reverse Commute:

  • Job access and reverse commute projects are  eligible for funding under the Rural Areas Program and there is no set-aside or cap for these projects under MAP-21.

Three take-downs included in Section 5311 under MAP-21 

Rural Transportation Assistance Program

  • No changes under MAP-21.
  • Authorized 2% takedown for section 5311 for RTAP, of which 15% is reserved for National RTAP.    

Appalachian Development Public Assistance Program (NEW)

  • Established new program under section 5311 as take-down.
  • Established to provide additional funding to support public transportation in the Appalachian region (16 eligible states).
  • Authorized for $20M in FY 2013 and FY 2014.  

Tribal Transit Program

  • Changes included an increase in funding to $30M, of which $25M is for a new formula program and $5M is for a discretionary (competitive) grant program. 
  • ($25M) formula program will be based on 3 Tiers:
    • Tier 1: 50% based on vehicle revenue miles.
    • Tier 2: 25% based on Tribes providing at least 200,000 vehicle revenue miles.
    • Tier 3: 25% based on Tribes providing public transportation on land where more than 1,000 low-income individuals reside.
  • FTA will consult with Tribal stakeholders as it implements and develops program guidance for the revised Tribal Transit Program. 

For more information about the provisions of MAP-21 and to keep up to date on FTA's implementation of the legislation, please check FTA's MAP-21 webpage frequently, or sign up for e-mail updates:  http://www.fta.dot.gov/map21/index.html.