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Notice

FY 2021 Competitive Funding Opportunity: Public Transportation on Indian Reservations Program; Tribal Transit Program

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Federal Transit Administration (FTA), DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of funding opportunity.

SUMMARY:

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announces the opportunity to apply for $10 million in competitive grants for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Public Transportation on Indian Reservations (Tribal Transit) Program. As required by Federal public transportation law, funds will be awarded competitively for any purpose eligible under FTA's Formula Grants for Rural Areas Program, 49 U.S.C. 5311, including planning, capital, and operating assistance for tribal public transit services in rural areas. FTA may award additional funding that is made available to the program prior to the announcement of project selections.

DATES:

Complete proposals must be submitted electronically through the GRANTS.GOV “APPLY” function by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on August 25, 2021. Any applicant intending to apply should initiate the process of registering on the GRANTS.GOV site immediately to ensure completion of registration before the submission deadline. Instructions for applying can be found on FTA's website at http://www.transit.dot.gov/​howtoapply and in the “FIND” module of GRANTS.GOV. The funding opportunity ID is FTA-2021-003-TR. Mail and fax submissions will not be accepted.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Jacarl Melton, Office of Program Management, (202) 366-2269, or email TribalTransit@dot.gov. A TDD is available at 1-800-877-8339 (TDD/FIRS).

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Contents

A. Program Description

B. Federal Award Information

C. Eligibility Information

D. Application and Submission Information

E. Application Review Information

F. Federal Award Administration Information

G. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts

H. Other Information

A. Program Description

Federal public transportation law (49 U.S.C. 5311(c)(1)(A)) authorizes FTA to award competitive grants “under such terms and conditions as may be established by the Secretary” to Indian tribes for any purpose eligible under FTA's Formula Grants for Rural Areas Program, 49 U.S.C. 5311, including planning, capital, and operating assistance. Tribes may apply for this funding directly.

The Tribal Transit Program (Federal Assistance Listing: 20.509) supports FTA's strategic goals and objectives through the timely and efficient investment in public transportation. This program also supports the President's Build Back Better initiative to mobilize American ingenuity to build a modern infrastructure and an equitable, clean energy future. In addition, the Tribal Transit Program and this NOFO will advance the goals of the January 20, 2021 Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.

Competitive funds distributed to Indian tribes under the Tribal Transit Program do not replace or reduce funds that Indian tribes receive from States through FTA's Formula Grants for Rural Areas Program. Specific project eligibility under this competitive allocation is described in Section C of this notice.

B. Federal Award Information

Federal public transportation law (49 U.S.C. 5338(a)(2)(F), 49 U.S.C. 5311(c)(1)) authorizes $5 million in FY 2021 for competitive grants under the Tribal Transit Program. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, (Pub. L. 116-260), appropriated the authorized amount for grants under this program. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (Pub. L. 117-2) appropriated an additional $5 million for grants under this program. There is a $25,000 cap on planning grant awards, and FTA has discretion to cap capital and operating awards. Additional funds made available prior to project selection may be allocated to eligible projects.

In FY 2020, the program received applications for 30 eligible projects requesting a total of $9.4 million. Twenty-five projects were funded at a total of $7.7 million.

FTA will grant pre-award authority to incur costs for selected projects beginning on the date FY 2021 project selections are announced on FTA's website. Funds are available for obligation for two fiscal years after the fiscal year in which the competitive awards are announced. Funds are available only for projects that have not incurred costs prior to the announcement of project selections.

C. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants

Eligible applicants include Federally-recognized Indian tribes or Alaska Native villages, groups, or communities as identified by the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). As evidence of Federal recognition, an Indian tribe may submit a copy of the most up-to-date Federal Register notice published by BIA: Entities Recognized and Eligible to Receive Service from the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs. To be an eligible recipient, an Indian tribe must have the requisite legal, financial, and technical capabilities to receive and administer Federal funds under this program. Additionally, applicants must be located and provide service in a rural area with a population of less than 50,000. A service area can include some portions of urban areas, as long as the tribal transit service serves rural areas. An applicant must be registered in the System for Award Management (SAM) database and maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which it has an active Federal award or an application or plan under consideration by FTA.

2. Cost Sharing or Matching

There is no local match requirement for operating, capital, or planning projects under this program. All projects will be awarded at a 100 percent Federal share, unless the applicant chooses to provide a local match at its own discretion. If choosing to provide a local match, the proposal should include a description of the Indian tribe's financial commitment.

If desired by the applicant, tribes may use any local match eligible under Start Printed Page 28676Chapter 53, including cash from non-Government sources other than revenues from providing public transportation services; revenues derived from the sale of advertising and concessions; amounts received under a service agreement with a State or local social service agency or private social service organization; revenues generated from value capture financing mechanisms; funds from an undistributed cash surplus; replacement or depreciation cash fund or reserve; new capital; or in-kind contributions. Transportation development credits or in-kind match may be used for local match if identified and documented in the application.

3. Eligible Projects

Eligible projects include public transportation planning, capital, or operating expenses. Unlike in prior years, all eligible applicants may apply for operating assistance.

Public transportation includes regular, continuing shared-ride surface transportation services open to the public or open to a segment of the public defined by age, disability, or low income. FTA will award grants to eligible Indian tribes proposing projects serving rural areas. Applicants must submit one proposal for each project. Specific types of projects include: Capital investment for start-ups, replacement, or expansion needs; operating assistance; and planning projects up to $25,000. Indian tribes applying for capital replacement or expansion needs must demonstrate a sustainable source of operating funds for existing or expanded services.

D. Application and Submission Information

1. Address To Request Application Package

Applications must be submitted electronically through GRANTS.GOV. General information for submitting applications through GRANTS.GOV can be found at www.fta.dot.gov/​howtoapply along with specific instructions for the forms and attachments required for submission. Mail and fax submissions will not be accepted. A complete proposal submission consists of two forms: The SF-424 Application for Federal Assistance (available at GRANTS.GOV) and the supplemental form for the FY 2021 Tribal Transit Program (downloaded from GRANTS.GOV or the FTA website at https://www.transit.dot.gov/​tribal-transit). Failure to submit the information as requested can delay review or disqualify the application.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

(i) Proposal Submission

Applications must be submitted electronically through GRANTS.GOV. General information for submitting applications through GRANTS.GOV can be found at www.fta.dot.gov/​howtoapply along with specific instructions for the forms and attachments required for submission. Mail and fax submissions will not be accepted. A complete proposal submission consists of two forms: The SF-424 Application for Federal Assistance (available at GRANTS.GOV) and the supplemental form for the FY 2021 Tribal Transit Program (downloaded from GRANTS.GOV or the FTA website at https://www.transit.dot.gov/​tribal-transit). Failure to submit the information as requested can delay review or disqualify the application. A complete proposal submission will consist of at least two files: (1) The SF-424 Mandatory form (downloaded from GRANTS.GOV); and (2) the Tribal Transit supplemental form found on the FTA website at http://www.transit.dot.gov. The Tribal Transit supplemental form provides guidance and a consistent format for applicants to respond to the criteria outlined in this NOFO. The supplemental form and any supporting documents must be attached to the “Attachments” section of the SF-424. The application must include responses to all sections of the SF-424 Application for Federal Assistance and the supplemental form, unless indicated as optional. The information on the supplemental form will be used to determine applicant and project eligibility for the program, and to evaluate the proposal against the selection criteria described in part E of this notice.

FTA will only accept one supplemental form per SF-424 submission. Applicants may attach additional supporting information to the SF-424 submission, including but not limited to letters of support, project budgets, fleet status reports, or excerpts from relevant planning documents. Supporting documentation must be described and referenced by file name in the appropriate response section of the supplemental form, or it may not be reviewed.

Information such as applicant name, Federal amount requested, local match amount, description of areas served, etc. may be requested in varying degrees of detail on both the SF-424 and Supplemental Form. Applicants must fill in all fields unless stated otherwise on the forms. Applicants should not place N/A or “refer to attachment” in lieu of typing in responses in the field sections. If information is copied into the supplemental form from another source, applicants should verify that pasted text is fully captured on the supplemental form and has not been truncated by the character limits built into the form. Applicants should use both the “Check Package for Errors” and the “Validate Form” validation buttons on both forms to check all required fields on the forms, and ensure that the Federal and local amounts specified are consistent.

Complete instructions on the application process can be found at http://www.transit.dot.gov. Important: FTA urges applicants to submit their project proposals at least 72 hours prior to the due date to allow time to receive the validation message and to correct any problems that may have caused a rejection notification. FTA will not accept submissions after the stated submission deadline. GRANTS.GOV scheduled maintenance and outage times are announced on the GRANTS.GOV website at http://www.GRANTS.GOV. The deadline will not be extended due to scheduled maintenance or outages.

Applicants are encouraged to begin the process of registration on the GRANTS.GOV site well in advance of the submission deadline. Registration is a multi-step process which may take several weeks to complete before an application can be submitted. Registered applicants may still be required to take steps to keep their registration up to date before submissions can be made successfully: (1) Registration in the SAM is renewed annually; and (2) persons making submissions on behalf of the Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) must be authorized in GRANTS.GOV by the AOR to make submissions. Applicants must submit one proposal for each project.

(ii) Application Content

The SF-424 Mandatory Form and the Supplemental Form will prompt applicants for the required information, including:

a. Name of Federally recognized tribe and, if appropriate, the specific tribal agency submitting the application.

b. Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number if available.

c. Contact information including: Contact name, title, address, phone number, and email address.

d. Description of public transportation services, including areas currently served by the tribe, if any.Start Printed Page 28677

e. Name of person(s) authorized to apply on applicant's behalf must accompany the proposal (attach a signed transmittal letter).

f. Complete Project Description: Indicate the category for which funding is requested (i.e., project type: Capital, operating, or planning), and then indicate the project purpose (i.e., start-up, expansion, or replacement). Describe the proposed project and what it will accomplish (e.g., number and type of vehicles, routes, service area, schedules, type of services, fixed route or demand responsive, safety aspects), route miles (if fixed route), ridership numbers expected (actual if an existing system, estimated if a new system), major origins and destinations, population served, and whether the tribe provides the service directly or contracts for services, and note vehicle maintenance plans.

g. Project Timeline: Include significant milestones such as date of contract for purchase of vehicles, actual or expected delivery date of vehicles; facility project phases (e.g., environmental reviews, design, construction); or dates for completion of planning studies. If applying for operating funding for new services, indicate the period of time that funds would be used to operate the system (e.g., one year). This section should also include any needed timelines for tribal council project approvals, if applicable.

h. Budget: Provide a detailed budget for each proposed purpose, noting the Federal amount requested and any additional funds that will be used. An Indian tribe may use up to fifteen percent of a grant award for capital projects for specific project-related planning and administration, and the indirect cost rate may not exceed ten percent (if necessary, add as an attachment) of the total amount requested/awarded. Indian tribes must also provide their annual operating budget as an attachment or under the “Financial Commitment and Operating Capacity” section of the supplemental form.

i. Technical, Legal, Financial Capacity: Applicants must be able to demonstrate adequate technical, legal, and financial capacity to be considered for funding. Every proposal MUST describe this capacity to implement the proposed project.

1. Technical Capacity: Provide examples of management of other Federal projects, including previously funded FTA projects and/or similar types of projects for which funding is being requested. Describe the resources available to implement the proposed transit project.

2. Legal Capacity: Provide documentation or other evidence to demonstrate status as a federally recognized Indian tribe. Further, demonstrate evidence of an authorized representative with authority to bind the applicant and execute legal agreements with FTA. If applying for capital or operating funds, identify whether appropriate Federal or State operating authority exists.

3. Financial Capacity: Provide documentation or other evidence demonstrating current adequate financial systems to receive and manage a Federal grant. Fully describe: (1) All financial systems and controls; (2) other sources of funds currently managed; and (3) the long-term financial capacity to maintain the proposed or existing transit services.

3. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM)

Each applicant is required to: (1) Be registered in SAM before submitting an application; (2) provide a valid unique entity identifier in its application; and (3) continue to maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which the applicant has an active Federal award or an application or plan under consideration by FTA. These requirements do not apply if the applicant has an exemption approved by FTA under Federal grants and agreements law (2 CFR 25.110(d)). FTA may not make an award until the applicant has complied with all applicable unique entity identifier and SAM requirements. If an applicant has not fully complied with the requirements by the time FTA is ready to make an award, FTA may determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive an award and use that determination as a basis for making a Federal award to another applicant. Non-Federal entities that have received a Federal award are required to report certain civil, criminal, or administrative proceedings to SAM (currently the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS)) to ensure registration information is current and comply with federal requirements. Applicants should reference 2 CFR 200.113, for more information.

FTA may not make an award until the applicant has complied with all applicable unique entity identifier and SAM requirements. If an applicant has not fully complied with the requirements by the time FTA is ready to make an award, FTA may determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive an award and use that determination as a basis for making a Federal award to another applicant. SAM registration takes approximately 3-5 business days, but FTA recommends allowing ample time, up to several weeks, for completion of all steps. For additional information on obtaining a unique entity identifier, please visit www.sam.gov.

4. Submission Dates and Times

Project proposals must be submitted electronically through GRANTS.GOV by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on August 25, 2021. Mail and fax submissions will not be accepted. Proposals submitted after the deadline will only be considered under extraordinary circumstances not under the applicant's control. Applications are time and date stamped by GRANTS.GOV upon successful submission.

Within 48 hours after submitting an electronic application, the applicant should receive an email message from GRANTS.GOV with confirmation of successful transmission to GRANTS.GOV. If a notice of failed validation or incomplete materials is received, the applicant must address the reason for the failed validation, as described in the email notice, and resubmit before the submission deadline. If making a resubmission for any reason, include all original attachments regardless of which attachments were updated and check the box on the supplemental form indicating this is a resubmission.

5. Funding Restrictions

Funds must be used only for the specific purposes requested in the application. Funds under this NOFO cannot be used to reimburse projects for otherwise eligible expenses incurred prior to an FTA award under this program. Refer to Section C.3., Eligible Projects, for information on activities that are allowable in this grant program. Allowable direct and indirect expenses must be consistent with the Governmentwide Uniform Administrative Requirements and Cost Principles (2 CFR part 200) and FTA Circular 5010.

6. Other Submission Requirements

Applicants are encouraged to identify scaled funding options in case insufficient funding is available to fund a project at the full requested amount. If an applicant indicates that a project is scalable, the applicant must provide an appropriate minimum funding amount that will fund an eligible project that achieves the objectives of the program and meets all relevant program requirements. The applicant must provide a clear explanation of how the Start Printed Page 28678project budget would be affected by a reduced award. FTA may award a lesser amount regardless of whether a scalable option is provided.

All applications must be submitted via the GRANTS.GOV website. FTA does not accept applications on paper, by fax machine, email, or other means. For information on application submission requirements, please see Section D.1., Address to Request Application.

E. Application Review Information

1. Criteria

Proposals for capital and operating assistance projects will be evaluated primarily on the responses provided in the supplemental form. Additional information may be provided to support the responses; however, any additional documentation must be directly referenced on the supplemental form, including the file name where the additional information can be found. Applications will be evaluated based on the quality and extent to which the following evaluation criteria are addressed.

(i.) Planning and Local/Regional Prioritization

Applications will be evaluated based on the degree to which the applicant: (1) Describes how the proposed project was developed; (2) demonstrates that a sound basis for the project exists; and (3) demonstrates that the applicant is ready to implement the project if funded. Information may vary depending upon how the planning process for the project was conducted and what is being requested. Planning and local/regional prioritization should:

a. Describe the planning document and/or the planning process conducted to identify the proposed project;

b. Provide a detailed project description, including the proposed service, vehicle and facility needs, and other pertinent characteristics of the proposed or existing service implementation;

c. Identify existing transportation services in and near the proposed service area, and document in detail whether the proposed project will provide opportunities to coordinate service with existing transit services, including human service agencies, intercity bus services, or other public transit providers;

d. Discuss the level of support by the community and/or tribal government for the proposed project;

e. Describe how the mobility and client-access needs of tribal human services agencies were considered in the planning process;

f. Describe what opportunities for public participation were provided in the planning process and how the proposed transit service or existing service has been coordinated with transportation provided for the clients of human services agencies, with intercity bus transportation in the area, or with any other rural public transit providers;

g. Describe how the proposed service complements rather than duplicates any currently available services;

h. If the Tribe is already providing transit service, describe if this project is included in the Tribe's transit asset management plan;

i. Describe the implementation schedule for the proposed project, including time period, staffing, and procurement; and

j. Describe any other planning or coordination efforts not mentioned above.

(ii.) Project Readiness

Applications will be evaluated on the degree to which the applicant describes readiness to implement the project. The project readiness factor involves assessing whether:

a. The project qualifies for a categorical exclusion (see 23 CFR 771.118), or the required environmental work has been initiated or completed, for construction projects requiring an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement under, among others, the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended;

b. Project implementation plans are complete, including initial design of facilities projects;

c. Project funds can be obligated and the project can be implemented quickly, if selected; and

d. The applicant demonstrates the ability to carry out the proposed project successfully.

(iii.) Demonstration of Need

Applications will be evaluated based on the degree to which the applicant identifies the need for transit resources. In addition to project-specific criteria, FTA will consider the project's impact on service delivery and whether the project represents a one-time or periodic need that cannot reasonably be funded from FTA program formula allocations or State and/or local resources. FTA will evaluate how the proposal demonstrates the transit needs of the Indian tribe as well as how the proposed transit improvements or the new service will address identified transit needs. Proposals should include information such as destinations and services not currently accessible by transit; needs for access to jobs or health care; safety enhancements; special needs of elders or individuals with disabilities; behavioral health care needs of youth; income-based community needs; or other mobility needs. If an applicant received a planning grant in previous fiscal years, the proposal should indicate the status of the planning study and how the proposed project relates to that study.

Applicants applying for capital expansion or replacement projects should also address the following factors in their proposal. If the proposal is for capital funding associated with an expansion or expanded service, the applicant should describe how current or growing demand for the service necessitates the expansion (and therefore, more capital) and/or the degree to how the project is addressing a current capacity constraint. Capital replacement projects should include information about the age, condition, and performance of the asset to be replaced by the proposed project and/or how the replacement may be necessary to maintain the transit system in a state of good repair.

(iv.) Demonstration of Benefits

Applications will be evaluated based on the degree to which the applicant identifies expected or, in the case of existing service, achieved project benefits. FTA is particularly interested in how these investments will improve the quality of life for the tribe and surrounding communities in which it is located. Applicants should describe how the transportation service or capital investment will provide greater access to employment opportunities, educational centers, healthcare, or other needs that impact the quality of life for the community, and how it is expected to improve the environment. Possible examples include: Increased or sustained ridership and daily trips; improved service; elimination of gaps in service; improved operations and coordination; increased reliability; and other applicable community benefits related to health care, education, the economy, or the environment. Benefits can be demonstrated by identifying the population of tribal members and non-tribal members in the proposed project service area and estimating the number of daily one-way trips the proposed transit service will provide or the actual number of individual riders served. Applicants are encouraged to consider qualitative and quantitative benefits to the Indian tribe and to the surrounding communities that are meaningful to them.Start Printed Page 28679

Using the information provided under this criterion, FTA will rate proposals based on the quality and extent to which they discuss the following four factors:

a. The project's ability to improve transit efficiency or increase ridership;

b. Whether the project will improve or maintain mobility, or eliminate gaps in service for the Indian tribe;

c. Whether the project will improve or maintain access to important destinations and services;

d. Any other qualitative benefits, such as greater access to jobs, education, and health care services, and environmental considerations.

(v.) Financial Commitment and Technical, Legal, Financial and Operating Capacity

Provision of a local match for the FY 2021 Tribal Transit Program is not required. Applications that include a local match will not be evaluated more favorably than those that do not. However, FTA is interested in ensuring that projects that receive funding are sustainable.

Applications must identify the source of local match (if any is included) and any other funding sources used by the Indian tribe to support proposed transit services, including human service transportation funding, the Federal Highway Administration's Tribal Transportation Program funding, or other FTA programs. If applicable, the applicant also should describe how prior year Tribal Transit Program funds were spent to date to support the service. Additionally, Indian tribes applying to operate new services should provide a sustainable funding plan that demonstrates how it intends to maintain operations.

If applicable, FTA will consider any other resources the Indian tribe will contribute to the project, including in-kind contributions, commitments of support from local businesses, donations of land or equipment, and human resources. The proposal should describe to what extent the new project or funding for existing service leverages other funding. Based upon the information provided, the proposals will be rated on the extent to which the proposal demonstrates that:

a. Tribal Transit Program funding does not replace existing funding;

b. The Indian tribe will provide non-financial support to the project;

c. The Indian tribe is able to demonstrate a sustainable funding plan; and

d. Project funds are used in coordination with other services for efficient utilization of funds.

(vi.) Evaluation Criteria for Planning Proposals

For planning grants, the proposal must describe the need for and a general scope of the proposed study. Applications will be evaluated based on the degree to which the applicant addresses the following:

a. The tribe's long-term commitment to transit; and

b. The method used to implement the proposed study and/or further tribal transit.

2. Review and Selection Process

An FTA technical evaluation committee will review proposals under the project evaluation criteria. Members of the technical evaluation committee and other involved FTA staff reserve the right to screen the applications, and seek clarification about any statement in an application. After consideration of the findings of the technical evaluation committee, the FTA Administrator will determine the final selection and amount of funding for each project. Geographic diversity and the applicant's receipt and management of other Federal transit funds may be considered in FTA's award decisions.

After applying the above criteria, in support of the President's January 20, 2021 Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis and the President's January 27, 2021 Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, and to assist in promoting environmental justice, the FTA Administrator will give priority consideration to applications that are expected to create significant community benefits relating to the environment.

3. FAPIIS Check

Prior to making an award, FTA is required to review and consider any information about the applicant that is in the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information Systems accessible through SAM. An applicant may review and comment on any information about itself that a Federal awarding agency previously entered. FTA will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to the other information in the designated integrity and performance system, in making a judgment about the applicant's integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards when completing the review of risk posed by applicants as described in the Office of Management and Budget's Uniform Requirements for Federal Awards (2 CFR 200.206).

F. Federal Award Administration Information

1. Federal Award Notice

FTA will publish a list of the selected projects, including Federal dollar amounts and award recipients, on FTA's website. Project recipients should contact their FTA Regional Offices and tribal liaison for information about setting up grants in FTA's Transit Award Management System (TrAMS). At the time the project selections are announced, FTA will extend pre-award authority for the selected projects. There is no blanket pre-award authority for these projects before announcement.

There is no minimum or maximum grant award amount for operating and capital projects. Planning projects do not have a minimum grant award amount but will not receive an award of more than $25,000.

FTA intends to fund as many meritorious projects as possible. Only proposals from eligible recipients for eligible activities will be considered for funding. Due to funding limitations, applicants that are selected for funding may receive less than the amount originally requested. In those cases, applicants must be able to demonstrate that the proposed projects are still viable and can be completed with the amount awarded.

Successful proposals will be awarded through FTA's TrAMS as grant agreements. The appropriate FTA Regional Office and tribal liaison will manage project agreements.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

a. Pre-Award Authority

FTA will issue specific guidance to recipients regarding pre-award authority at the time of selection. FTA does not provide pre-award authority for competitive funds until projects are selected, and even then, there are Federal requirements that must be met before costs are incurred. For more information about FTA's policy on pre-award authority, please see the most recent Apportionment Notice at https://www.transit.dot.gov.

b. Grant Requirements

Except as otherwise provided in this NOFO, Tribal Transit Program grants are subject to the requirements of 49 U.S.C. 5311(c)(1) as described in the latest FTA Circular 9040 for the Formula Grants for Rural Areas Program. If the Department determines that a recipient has failed to comply with applicable Federal requirements, the Department may terminate the award of funds and Start Printed Page 28680disallow previously incurred costs, requiring the recipient to reimburse any expended award funds. All recipients must also follow the Award Management Requirements (FTA Circular 5010). Technical assistance regarding these requirements is available from each FTA regional office.

c. Buy America

FTA requires that all capital procurements meet FTA's Buy America requirements (49 U.S.C. 5323(j) and 49 CFR part 661), which require that all iron, steel, or manufactured products be produced in the United States. Federal public transportation law provided for a phased increase in the domestic content for rolling stock between FY 2016 and FY 2020. For FY 2020 and beyond, the cost of components and subcomponents produced in the United States must be more than 70 percent of the cost of all components. There is no change to the requirement that final assembly of rolling stock must occur in the United States. FTA issued guidance on the implementation of the phased increase in domestic content on September 1, 2016 (81 FR 60278). Applicants should read the policy guidance carefully to determine the applicable domestic content requirement for their project. Any proposal that will require a waiver must identify in the application the items for which a waiver will be sought. Applicants should not proceed with the expectation that waivers will be granted.

d. Disadvantaged Business Enterprise

FTA requires that its recipients receiving planning, capital, and/or operating assistance that will award prime contracts exceeding $250,000 in FTA funds in a Federal fiscal year comply with Department of Transportation Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program regulations (49 CFR part 26). Applicants should expect to include any funds awarded, excluding those to be used for vehicle procurements, in setting their overall DBE goal. Note, however, that projects including vehicle procurements remain subject to the DBE program regulations. The rule requires that, prior to bidding on any FTA-assisted vehicle procurement, entities that manufacture vehicles, or perform post-production alterations or retrofitting, must submit a DBE program plan and goal methodology to FTA. Further, to the extent that a vehicle remanufacturer is responding to a solicitation for new or remanufactured vehicles with a vehicle to which the remanufacturer has provided post-production alterations or retrofitting (e.g., replacing major components such as an engine to provide a “like new” vehicle), the vehicle remanufacturer is considered a transit vehicle manufacturer and must also comply with the DBE regulations.

FTA will then issue a transit vehicle manufacturer (TVM) concurrence/certification letter. Grant recipients must verify each entity's compliance with these requirements before accepting its bid. A list of compliant, certified TVMs is posted on FTA's web page at https://www.transit.dot.gov/​regulations-and-guidance/​civil-rights-ada/​eligible-transit-vehicle-manufacturers. Please note that this list is nonexclusive, and recipients must contact FTA before accepting bids from entities not listed on this web-posting. Recipients may also establish project-specific DBE goals for vehicle procurements. FTA will provide additional guidance as grants are awarded. For more information on DBE requirements, please contact Scheryl Portee, Office of the Chief Counsel, 202-366-0840, email: scheryl.portee@dot.gov.

e. Standard Assurances

The applicant assures that it will comply with all applicable Federal statutes, regulations, executive orders, directives, FTA circulars, and other Federal administrative requirements in carrying out any project supported by the FTA grant. The applicant acknowledges that it is under a continuing obligation to comply with the terms and conditions of the grant agreement issued for its project with FTA. The applicant understands that Federal laws, regulations, policies, and administrative practices might be modified from time to time and may affect the implementation of the project. The applicant agrees that the most recent Federal requirements will apply to the project, unless FTA issues a written determination otherwise. The applicant must submit the Certifications and Assurances before receiving a grant if it does not have current certifications on file.

3. Reporting

The post-award reporting requirements include submission of the Federal Financial Report (FFR) and Milestone Progress Report in TrAMS, and FTA's National Transit Database (NTD) reporting as appropriate (see FTA Circular 9040). Reports to TrAMS and NTD are due annually. Applicants should include any goals, targets, and indicators referenced in their application to the project in the Executive Summary of the TrAMS application.

As part of completing the annual certifications and assurances required of FTA grant recipients, a successful applicant must report on the suspension or debarment status of itself and its principals. If the award recipient's active grants, cooperative agreements, and procurement contracts from all Federal awarding agencies exceeds $10,000,000 for any period of time during the period of performance of an award made pursuant to this Notice, the recipient must comply with the Recipient Integrity and Performance Matters reporting requirements described in Appendix XII to 2 CFR part 200.

G. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts

For further information concerning this notice, please contact Jacarl Melton, Office of Program Management, (202) 366-2269, or email: TribalTransit@dot.gov. A TDD is available at 1-800-877-8339 (TDD/FIRS).

H. Other Information

This program is not subject to Executive Order 12372, “Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs.” FTA will consider applications for funding only from eligible recipients for eligible projects listed in Section C of this Notice.

Additionally, to assist tribes with understanding requirements under the Tribal Transit Program, FTA has conducted Tribal Transit Technical Assistance Workshops. FTA has expanded its technical assistance to tribes receiving funds under this program. Through the Tribal Transit Technical Assistance Assessments Initiative, FTA collaborates with Tribal Transit Leaders to review processes and identify areas in need of improvement, and then assists to offer solutions to address these needs—all in a supportive and mutually beneficial manner that results in technical assistance. FTA has completed over fifty assessments to date. These assessments include discussions of compliance areas pursuant to the Master Agreement, a site visit, promising practices reviews, and technical assistance from FTA and its contractors. These workshops and assessments have received excellent feedback from Tribal Transit Leaders and provided FTA with invaluable opportunities to learn more about Tribal Transit Leaders' perspectives and better honor the sovereignty of tribal nations.

FTA will post information about upcoming workshops to its website and will disseminate information about the assessments through its regional offices. Contact information for FTA's regional Start Printed Page 28681offices can be found on FTA's website at www.transit.dot.gov.

Applicants may also receive technical assistance by contacting their FTA regional Tribal Liaison. A list of Tribal Liaisons is available on FTA's website at www.transit.dot.gov.

If awarded, grant funding made available through this program may be included in a Tribal Transportation Self-Governance funding agreement if there is an existing Self-Governance compact in place between the Tribe and the U.S. Department of Transportation. If funds are transferred to a Tribal Self-Governance funding agreement, the funds will be subject to the requirements and provisions of the Tribal Transportation Self-Governance Program regulation at 49 CFR part 29 and may be used only for the purpose for which they were awarded.

Start Signature

Nuria I. Fernandez,

Deputy Administrator.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2021-11197 Filed 5-26-21; 8:45 am]

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