New York Codes, Rules and Regulations
Chapter VI - Transportation Regulations
Subchapter G - Mass Transportation Operating Assistance
Part 975 - Statewide Mass Transportation Operating Assistance Program
Section 975.23 - Special Mobility Improvement Projects Related to Transit Enhancements within the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District

Current through Register Vol. 44, No. 51, December 21, 2022

(a) Authority for this sub-section is established by the Aid to Localities portion of the New York State Budget Act beginning with 1993-1994 and any future appropriation, which specifies funding for Special Mobility Projects Related to Transit Enhancements within the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District.

(b) Purpose. To provide seed money for the development and implementation of new and innovative services to improve mobility in the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District. This money is intended to help overcome the traditional barriers to new and innovative services. Grants awarded from this allocation may be for a period of up to two years, subject to reappropriation in the second year by the legislature.

(c) Eligibility requirements. All service providers, within the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District eligible for funding under the State Mass Transportation Operating Assistance Program (STOA) are eligible to compete for funding under this program. In addition, private for-profit, private non-profit, quasi-public transit or ridesharing service providers are eligible and encouraged to compete for these funds. All applications must be sponsored by and any grant monies received will be contracted by a STOA-eligible public agency (City or County) or non-profit corporation whose project has been endorsed by a county in which the service is to be provided. Applicants eligible under Section 14-g of the Transportation Law may contract directly with the New York State Department of Transportation. Transit services now eligible under STOA such as express commuter, suburb to suburb, local circulation, shuttle and feeder and reverse commute services will be eligible under this new provision, provided that they constitute new and innovative services that do not duplicate existing transit service. In addition, certain activities not now eligible under STOA (17 NYCRR) may be deemed eligible under this sub-section if they are deemed to be innovative in addressing the mobility needs of the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District. Such activities may include but are not limited to: employer based vanpooling, guaranteed ride home programs, and selective capital costs that facilitate new and innovative services.

(d) Application process. Applicants competing for funding under this sub-section shall submit an application to the regional office of the New York State Department of Transportation in which the service will be provided. The address may be obtained from any of the regional offices in the metropolitan area, to include the following:

(1) A Strategic Service Plan describing:
(i) The market to be served;

(ii) The nature of the service (bus, van, feeder, reverse commute, etc.);

(iii) The estimated ridership;

(iv) budgeted total cost (operating and capital) for the service, including the percentage funding split between this program and other sources;

(v) Plan for service provision following the 2 year grant eligibility period, provided that the service performance warrants continued funding, including identification of intended funding sources for continued service;

(vi) Other plan components, in the form of rough estimates should include, as appropriate:
(a) Availability of capital resources in place for use by the new service: vehicles, parking facilities, stops and pedestrian facilities;

(b) Number and type of vehicles to be used;

(c) General service routing possibilities;

(d) Potential target headways and span of service, if fixed route service is contemplated;

(e) Key land uses to be served;

(f) Availability of data resources for market identification (i.e. existing origin/destination surveys, Census data and Transportation Management Association employer data);

(g) Proposed approach to marketing and public information;

(h) Operational plan, if demand responsive service is contemplated.

(2) A narrative description of how the service will address the objectives expressed in the selection criteria listed in the next section E below.

(e) Selection criteria. The following criteria will be used in determining which of the competing projects will receive funding (The percentages listed in parenthesis reflect the relative weight of the selection criteria):

(1) Improvements to regional mobility (50%)
(i) Provision of regionally based service that cross City or County boundaries.

(ii) Facilitate greater use of the existing transit system by bridging gaps in existing transit service. (feeder systems, reverse commute services, etc.)

(iii) Service is tailored to new development or redevelopment that has integrated transit into project design.

(iv) Consultation with other regional transportation and land use agencies, as appropriate. Such entities may include: Transportation Management Associations, New York Metropolitan Transportation Council, Long Island Railroad, Metropolitan Suburban Bus Authority, Suffolk County Transit, Metro North, private providers of public transportation, county planning agencies, municipal planning agencies, major employers or business associations, NYSDOT Regional Offices;

(2) The amount of funds to be contributed by the entity requesting assistance (25%)
(i) Direct private sector employer or local government participation in planning and funding;

(ii) The extent to which the service shows the promise of being self-sustaining following the demonstration grant period;

(iii) Potential for revenue to be gained during the grant period through farebox receipts.

(3) The cost effectiveness of the project (10%)
(i) Demonstrated commitment to monitor service performance (i.e. conduct ridership surveys and document in terms cost per degree of reduction in vehicle hours of delay);

(ii) The extent to which the service utilizes existing resources: existing capital investments (i.e. excess parking capacity at employer sites, existing vehicles, shelters, etc.) and existing data sources (i.e. O/D surveys, TMA employer databases, Census Journey to Work, etc.);

(4) Reductions in traffic congestion: Estimated reduction in VMT resulting from trips diverted to the new service (5%)

(5) Improvements in air quality: Based on VMT reduction, estimated reduction in emissions (5%)

(6) The contribution the project shall make in meeting other Federal and State requirements (5%)

(f) Selection process. A project selection committee will review all applications and select the proposals that will receive funding under this program, based upon the above listed criteria. This committee will consist of representatives from NYSDOT Transit Division, NYSDOT Regional offices 8, 10 and NYMTC. Grant amounts will be based on a committee review of budget projections found in the application, total grant funds available and a balancing of the dual objectives of promoting the funding of as many projects as practicable as well as insuring that any funded project has adequate funds to achieve the mobility goals of this program. The maximum amount dedicated to any project funded out of this appropriation shall not exceed one half of the authorized appropriation in the first year of this grant and in any future years appropriation.

(g) Contracting, funding disbursement and administration.

(1) A grant agreement between NYSDOT and the grantee with direct input from the actual service provider/subgrantee, as appropriate will set out performance milestones to be met within agreed upon reporting intervals. It is understood in developing these milestones that start-up of new service is a risk venture and that guarantees of high ridership from day one of service are not possible. The intent is to stimulate innovative mobility services, which by definition carry few guarantees of success. Performance milestones will thus be based on realistic expectations for new service agreed upon by the grantee and NYSDOT.

(2) Funding disbursement will be based on these performance milestones to be met by the service provider at the specified reporting intervals.
(i) Start-up funding, in an amount specified in the grant agreement, may be provided up-front following the awarding of the grant. This will assist in meeting the administrative, operating and capital costs of initiating services.

(ii) At specified reporting intervals, the grantee will document services provided based upon performance measures which may include: ridership, cost per rider, vehicle miles, documentation of marketing activities and strategies undertaken and their results. After NYSDOT review of these reports at each interval and a finding that the service has successfully met the agreed upon performance milestones, funds will be disbursed according to a payment schedule contained in the grant agreement.

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