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Table 2 Summary of total NF funds appropriated and obligated between FY 2006 and FY 2008. Obligated Obligated Obligated in Total % FY Appropriated in FY 06 in FY 07 FY 08 Obligated Unobligated 2006 $77,200,000 $1,269,027 $6,786,605 $59,556,856 $67,612,488 12.4% 2007 $81,000,000 $2,537,311 $28,079,915 $30,617,226 62.2% 2008 $87,500,000 $12,233,883 $12,233,883 86.0% Total $245,700,000 $1,269,027 $9,323,916 $99,870,654 $110,463,597 55.0% Source: FTA, . recipients) for the JARC and NF grant programs for New Freedom (NF) FY 2006 through FY 2008. They reveal that nearly As shown in Table 2, by the end of FY 2007, 45 percent of the FY 2006 through FY 2008 JARC only 6.6 percent of FY 2006 and FY 2007 NF appro- and NF appropriations have been obligated; however, priations had been obligated. However, it is impor- nearly 14 percent of FY 2006 JARC appropriations tant to note that by the end of FY 2008, an additional lapsed and more than 12 percent of FY 2006 NF ap- $87.6 million of FY 2006 and FY 2007 NF appro- propriations lapsed. Additionally, roughly 40 percent priations were obligated, bringing the percentage of of FY 2007 JARC and NF funds have been obligated FY 2006 and FY 2007 appropriations that had been and 15 percent of FY 2008 JARC and NF funds have obligated up to 62 percent. The relatively recent in- been obligated. troduction of the Section 5317 program and the While the tables indicate that there were some changes in requirements that have taken place have initial delays in obligating JARC and NF funds, caused some confusion among planning organiza- they also demonstrate that the amount of JARC tions and transportation providers. As experience and NF funds obligated in the appropriation year with the programs and coordinated planning process is increasing and the amount obligated in each continues to grow, more applications are likely to be successive year is also increasing as states and submitted, further reducing the amount of lapsed grantees gain familiarity with the required coordi- funds. nated planning process and grant administration associated with the new NF program and the new formula-based allocation of JARC funds under Conclusions and Findings SAFETEA-LU. The findings from the Internet survey of state DOTs and the telephone interviews with local coor- Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) dinated planning participants in Missouri, Ohio, As shown in Table 1, the states and urbanized Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and Wash- areas have obligated (or transferred out) $118 mil- ington helped identify the perceived costs and bene- lion of FY 2006 JARC appropriations (approxi- fits associated with the human services transportation mately 86 percent), $57 million of FY 2007 appro- Coordination Plans and grant programs. An evalua- priations (approximately 39 percent), and $23 million tion of these costs and benefits resulted in the devel- of FY 2008 appropriations (approximately 15 per- opment of several findings in regards to the respon- cent). While the obligation percentages increased dents' perceived accomplishment and effectiveness during the 3-year obligation period after appropri- of the Coordination Plans and the related require- ation, FY 2006 still had $18.6 million (or 13.6 per- ments for states. The findings from respondents iden- cent) in JARC appropriations lapse at the end of tified in the following section revolve around three FY 2008. However, based on discussions with central themes: flexibility, administrative burden, FTA staff, the amount of JARC funds lapsing con- and transparency. tinues to decline as states and grantees become Several respondents suggested the conso- better acquainted with the process, have identified lidation of Section 5310, 5316, and 5317 appropriate grant recipients, and have gained com- grant programs. The most frequently sug- fort with the Coordination Plan development. gested improvement for the human services 7

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transportation grant programs was the consoli- several aging and disability organizations have dation of the Section 5316 JARC and 5317 NF expressed concerns that the consolidation of programs with other grant programs such as these programs could have unintended con- Section 5310, 5311, and 5307. Respondents sequences, including reducing the quality of noted that with consolidation, the individual Section 5310 services because the target popu- grant program goals could still be reflected in lations of these grants programs do not neces- program and planning requirements, including sarily have the same transportation needs (2). dedicating percentages of funding to each pro- In addition, the AARP study highlights that gram goal. Section 5310 Transportation for there are some major issues associated with the Elderly Individuals and Individuals with Dis- consolidation of these grant programs that have abilities was the most frequently mentioned not been evaluated sufficiently, including the program for consolidation with JARC and NF identification of designated recipients and how and was viewed as the most logical by respon- the grant money would get to providers. Under dents, given the similar target populations and the current grant programs, the designated re- requirement for the Coordination Plan. Section cipient is the state for Section 5310 and either 5307 Urbanized Area Formula Program and the state or local agency in large urban areas for 5311 Rural and Small Urbanized Area Pro- JARC and NF. As a result, the suggestion to gram provide funding for more traditional tran- consolidate these grant programs would need sit services for general populations, contradict- to be evaluated more closely. ing the intentions of the Section 5310, 5316, Suggested federal grant process improve- and 5317 grant programs. As a result, there was ments. The study respondents indicated that general agreement by those surveyed and inter- they felt the federal grant process could be im- viewed that the planning requirements for Sec- proved to be more transparent, timely, sustain- tion 5310, 5316, and 5317 programs are very able, and flexible. Planning organizations ob- similar, and that a combination of these grant served that the multiple levels of prioritization programs would make planning and adminis- and project selection may interfere with trans- tration easier for all concerned. parency to local officials and stakeholders, The respondents stated that by consolidat- which would adversely impact the commit- ing the three grant programs, state administra- ment and perceived benefits of the coordinated tors would have greater flexibility to meet planning process. These respondents suggested local customer needs without the multiple re- that more guidance from FTA on the grant se- quirements associated with each of the indi- lection and prioritization process could im- vidual grant programs. Many respondents in- prove the understanding of all stakeholders dicated that they believe the administration of (local and state) in what the federal priorities multiple funds that are relatively small in are and how grant awards match up with the in- funding levels is time-consuming and requires tention of the Section 5310, 5316, and 5317 significant staff resources for state and local programs. agencies that are already short-staffed. Since In addition, respondents stated that im- many agencies are unable to hire additional provements to the administrative process, par- staff or consultants to assist with the process, ticularly the length of time it takes to apply for the responsibilities often fall on existing staff, and receive grant money, are desired. They many of whom have already been asked to noted that the year it can take between grant take on additional responsibilities. application and receipt of funds also impacts While the Internet survey and telephone in- the link between planning efforts and the pro- terview respondents highlighted the benefits jects. In addition, they believe annual com- associated with the consolidation of Section petition for funding of long-term, ongoing 5310, 5316, and 5317 grant programs, other or- projects is redundant and wasteful; several re- ganizations have indicated that there could be spondents felt that distribution of funds on a potential drawbacks to consolidation as well. A longer schedule (i.e., funding for 4 years) or recent AARP study on Policy Options to Im- on a programmatic basis would be more effec- prove Specialized Transportation noted that tive for these types of projects. Many respon- 8