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portation and that the process yielded a more open unemployment, senior/disabled population, and dis- line of communication, particularly between public tribution of customers and destinations. Respon- and private agencies and service providers. dents also indicated that these performance mea- sures could go beyond basic service indicators or Planning Organizations versus Providers. There was cost data to be more results-oriented or outcomes- concern expressed by some planning organizations based. Respondents suggested that data could be that providers do not always see the benefit of coor- collected on the success of projects in getting cus- dinated planning efforts, given the distinction be- tomers to the services they need and in the effective- tween the planning process and the grant approval ness of the providers in supplying these services and disbursement process. Those interviewed felt against the baseline conditions. that federal guidance that strengthened the link be- tween the planning process and the grants would be Coordinated Planning. The respondents' support for appreciated by both the planning organizations and performance measures and the perceived opportunity the service providers; this could be accomplished by for an improved federal grant process come back to providing more technical advice, tying grant money the perceived effectiveness of the coordinated plan- to performance measures, and rewarding coopera- ning process. These respondents believe that by using tive efforts. performance measures and data and linking federal funds to the results of this process, coordinated plan- Key Themes ning could make more use of quantitative information Program Management. A general suggestion from and link plans to results more closely. They believe those interviewed is that a federal grant process that that stakeholders making use of a performance-driven is more transparent, timely, sustainable, and flexible coordinated planning process would get even more out would be beneficial. Planning organizations ob- of the process of developing and working to imple- served that the multiple levels of prioritization and ment the Coordination Plan. project selection may interfere with transparency to local officials and stakeholders, which would ad- CHAPTER 4 FTA GRANTS DATA versely impact commitment and perceived benefits of the coordinated planning process. Respondents Under the SAFETEA-LU, FTA Section 5316 noted that the year it can take between grant appli- JARC and Section 5317 NF grant program funds are cation and receipt of funds also impacts the link be- allocated to large urban areas and state DOTs by for- tween planning efforts and the projects. Annual mula. In this chapter, the JARC and NF grant appro- competition for funding of long-term, ongoing proj- priations and obligations for the first 3 years of ects is viewed by these agencies as redundant and SAFETEA-LU, FY 2006 through FY 2008, are eval- wasteful; respondents indicated that distribution of uated with data and reports available from FTA's web- funds on a longer schedule (such as funding for site to help quantify any difficulties states and their 4 years) or on a programmatic basis could be more grantees are having in selecting projects and obligat- effective for these types of projects. On the other ing JARC and NF funds. This evaluation includes the hand, respondents also feel that needs do change, comparison of annual appropriations to annual oblig- and that more flexibility should be allowed at the ations, both at the program level and at the state level. state and local levels to redirect at least portions of In both the JARC and NF grant programs, 60 per- the grant money to meet emergent needs or redirect cent of the funds are allocated to designated recip- funds from projects that no longer need or cannot ients in urbanized areas with populations over use the funding in a timely manner. 200,000; 20 percent to state DOTs for urbanized areas under 200,000; and 20 percent to state DOTs Performance Measurement. Many respondents felt for non-urbanized areas. Generally speaking, most that, optimally, some funding should be tied to per- of the designated recipients are transit agencies or formance measures, preferably those identified at organizations with established finance staff that un- the federal level to help improve the transparency derstand and know the intricacies of drawing down and equity of federal grant distribution. These mea- allocated federal funds. Therefore, the primary focus sures could include both consideration of the exist- of this summary is on how the states draw down and ing conditions and the backgrounds of areas, such as obligate the 40 percent of JARC and NF funds that 49