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What suggestions do you have to improve the use and management of the Section 5316 and 5317 grant programs that could be considered as part of Reauthorization? Consolidate with 5310 Increase funds Combine 5316 and 5317 Consolidate with 5310 and 5311 Consolidate with 5311 Lower the operating match Lessen restrictions Eliminate obligation by population size End the local coordinated plan Consolidate with 5307, 5311 Consolidate with 5307, 5310, 5311 Combine 5317 and 5310 Consolidate with 5309, 5310, 5311 Better coordination between 5316 and 5317 Allow moving funds from area to area 0 1 2 3 4 Number of Respondents Figure 1 Responses on improving the use and management of JARC and NF grant programs. Telephone Survey to contact a cross-section of agency types, including MPOs, RPOs, transit agencies, human services trans- As part of this study, the research team conducted portation providers, and Non-Governmental Organi- telephone surveys with contacts in six states. Based zations (NGOs). on the results of the Internet survey conducted in late The purpose of the interviews was two-fold: 2009, six states were selected to participate in follow- up discussions via telephone interviews. Only state 1. Determining the extent to which the respon- DOT representatives that indicated a willingness to dents believe coordinated public transit/human discuss their responses further were contacted, and services transportation plans have met FTA the six states were selected with the goal of having a goals of enhancing transportation access, min- mix of geographic locations, urbanized versus rural imizing duplication of services, and facilitat- states, and states indicating varying levels of satisfac- ing the most appropriate and cost-effective tion with the human services Coordination Plan transportation possible with available re- process and results. The states selected for further dis- sources; and cussion were: Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South 2. Ascertaining the cost of developing and main- Carolina, Virginia, and Washington. taining these Coordination Plans (in terms of Each state DOT representative was contacted for time and money) to ensure that resources are the purpose of further discussion of their responses to being used wisely and effectively, resulting in the Internet survey, clarification of their responses (if the better, more cost-effective and coordinated needed), and identification of agencies and contact programs that the plans are expected to foster. persons within the state for further discussion. The ob- jective was to identify a set of agencies within the state A cross-state comparison highlighting some of to interview for their perspectives on the human ser- the key differences between the states is described vices Coordination Plans and the associated grant pro- in the following section. It is important to note that grams. Within each state, the study team attempted the cross-state comparisons are based on generaliza- 4
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tions made about each state that were derived from ciated funding and the lack of desire by most states the four or five interviews conducted in each state. to use available funds to establish new services, for fear of not being able to continue funding them Perceived Effectiveness of Plans when the grant money ran out. The Missouri, Penn- sylvania, and Virginia DOTs all indicated that their One key finding that was fairly consistent preferred projects do not include new operating across all six states interviewed is that, on the services. whole, all found the Coordination Plans to be ef- fective. While some states had individual agencies Indication of Redundant or Burdensome Elements that reported mixed or negative feelings about the of Plan Development plan requirement, the overall assessment by all states interviewed was positive. There were a wide variety of issues raised with re- gard to parts of the Coordination Plan or planning Plan Development and Costs process that the states find redundant or burdensome. The challenges discussed by the respondents ranged The methods used to develop the Coordination from how projects are prioritized at the local versus Plans varied from state to state. Except for Washing- state level to concerns about the public meeting and ton State, most agencies did some combination of Spanish translation requirements. Some states felt in-house plan development along with the use of that the administration of the plan is burdensome, and consultants, and in some cases the level of assistance some did not; there was no real consensus between used by the agencies varied by whether the agency the states on this issue. was in an urban or rural area. In addition, many local agencies had a difficult time quantifying the Coor- Project Identification, Prioritization, and Selection dination Plan development costs, particularly if the A few states noted that while prioritization is done plan was developed in-house and the main expense at the local level, the state makes the final decision on was staff time. Often the best cost estimate avail- what to fund, taking away some of the control from able was an estimate of the number of staff people the locals. Respondents indicated that this is done or the percentage of a person or team's time devoted more often in rural areas for which the state DOT is to the Coordination Plans. As a result, the overall the designated recipient for grant funds, whereas in costs associated with the development of the Coor- urban areas the designated recipient is more likely to dination Plans at the local level vary significantly in be a local agency or government. Most states noted level of detail, ranging from $10,000 to $85,000 or that the prioritization of projects is based on gaps in one to six staff members working on all aspects of service and where the proposed grant fits into the the human services transportation grants, including goals and objectives of the Coordination Plan. Coordination Plans, sub-recipient agreements, con- tracts, legal, and engineering. Perceived Project Continuation Needs/ Impediments to Using the Grant Programs Perceived Coordination Plan Results A common theme across all states interviewed Most of the states interviewed emphasized im- was that the lack of money available for local matches proved relationships between public and private becomes a burden in the continuation of projects agencies as a result of the Coordination Plan, par- funded through the grant programs, as well as an im- ticularly Missouri, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Penn- pediment to using the grant programs in the first sylvania, Virginia, and Washington indicated that place. The lack of money for the local match seemed the plans built upon existing coordination that they to be more of an issue in rural areas than it was in were already doing regarding human services trans- urban areas. Finally, the NF regulation that it be used portation. Finally, many of the states noted either for new service was also an impediment to using the that they believe human services transportation did Section 5317 grant program for many respondents, not necessarily improve because of the plan, or it because these agencies did not feel that they would be was difficult to tell if it had. One reason for this able to continue to sustain new service when the grant was the respondents' concern for the lack of asso- money ran out. 5