New Freedom Program (49 USC 5317)

The purpose of the New Freedom grant program is to support services and facility improvements to address the transportation needs of persons with disabilities that go beyond those required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Funds are available to support the capital and operating costs of new public transportation service targeted toward people with disabilities or public transportation alternatives that go beyond those required by the ADA. The foundation of the New Freedom program is larger fixed-route urban systems that are required to have parallel or "complementary" paratransit systems to meet the needs of disabled individuals. The stereotype project is extended hours or days, or expansion of service area or other operating parameters not available under previous funding mechanisms. For DOTD's program, Section 5317 is distinguished from Section 5310 by its "disabled persons only: focus and providing services not otherwise available through 5310 or other grant programs.

Eligible recipients include State or local governments, non-profit organizations and local transportation providers through a designated recipient as defined in 49 USC Section 5317. The New Public Transportation Services beyond the ADA include activities that could be funded under the program, but are not limited to:

    • Providing paratransit services beyond minimum requirements (3/4 mile to either side of a fixed route), including for routes that run seasonally.
    • Making accessibility improvements to transit and intermodal stations not designated as key stations.
    • Building an accessible path to a bus stop that is currently inaccessible, including curb cuts, sidewalks, accessible pedestrian signals or other accessible features.
    • Supporting voucher programs for transportation services offered by human service providers.
    • Supporting mobility management and coordination programs among public transportation providers and other human service agencies providing transportation. These activities are considered a capital cost and are defined as short-range planning and management activities and projects for improving coordination among public transportation and other transportation service providers.
    • Purchasing vehicles and supporting accessible taxi, ride-sharing, and vanpooling programs; including staff training, administration, and maintenance.

Matching fund ratios in New Freedom projects (including mobility management) are 80% federal for capital, and 50% for operating assistance.

Projects must be competitively selected from locally developed coordinated public transit-human services transportation plans. The competitive selection process is to be conducted by a Designated Recipient or any agency acting on behalf of a Designated Recipient in urbanized areas over 200,000 population. Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development is the Designated Recipient for urbanized areas under 200,000 population and non-urbanized areas. Selected projects must be programmed in the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program and grantees must certify that they will comply with all FTA Civil Rights, environmental, reporting and other requirements.

For More Information Contact: Karen Harris