Section 5310: Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities Program

Call for Projects closed, applications under review

The Section 5310 Call for Projects is now closed and applications for FY2020 and FY2021 Section 5310 funding are under review. Read more about the process or see the applications below.

FY2020 & FY2021 Applications Received

Click the links below to view applications received during the FY2020 and FY2021 call for projects held from March 22 to April 22, 2021.

Applicant Project Title
City of Naperville Ride Dupage to Work Program
Clearbrook Community Connections for Adults with Disabilities
CTF Illinois Point-to-Point for Individuals with Disabilities 
DuPage County Transportation to Work Program
Kane County Ride in Kane Phase 19 & 20
Kendall County Kendall Area Transit
Little City Foundation Transportation Program
McHenry County McRide Dial-A-Ride
Pace Phase VIII-Regional Call Centers Project
Pearl Transit 24 Hour Trip Planning and Demand Response
Ray Graham Association RGA's Comprehensive Transportation Program
Will County Will Ride Transportation Service

 


Program Overview

The Section 5310 Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities Program is a federal program which aims to improve mobility for seniors and individuals with disabilities by removing barriers to transportation service and expanding transportation mobility options. This program supports transportation services planned, designed, and carried out to meet the special transportation needs of seniors and individuals with disabilities. 

The RTA and Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) are co-designated recipients of Section 5310 funds for Northeastern Illinois.  The co‐designation status has been approved by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Northeastern Illinois. IDOT, through its Consolidated Vehicle Program (CVP), selects and awards paratransit vehicles to eligible applicants. For information on IDOT’s Section 5310 CVP program and funding cycle contact Zoe.Keller@illinois.gov. The RTA is responsible for all other Section 5310 projects, solicited through a bi-annual call for projects.

The total funding available for FY2020 & FY2021 is approximately $10.9 million.  This number includes appropriations for Section 5310 from the most recent federal COVID relief bill, the American Rescue Plan of 2021 (ARP). If you have any questions regarding the program please contact Fluturi Demirovski at 312-913-3239 or via e-mail at Section5310@rtachicago.org.

Date Process
March 22, 2021 Call for Projects opens
April 22, 2021 Applications due at noon
July 2021 Public Comment
August/September 2021 Presentation of Recommended Program of Projects to CMAP
August 19, 2021 Recommended Program of Projects presented to RTA Board


Explore an interactive map with details on ten operating projects that have been awarded funding through the program, some of which have been supported by the Section 5310 program for over a decade.

For more information on the RTA’s Section 5310 Program:

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Human Services Transportation Plan

The RTA’s Coordinated Public Transit-Human Services Plan (HSTP), as required by FTA, sets forth policies and strategies for the Section 5310 program in Northeastern Illinois. The HSTP for Northeastern Illinois includes the six-county RTA region, comprising Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties, plus the urbanized portions of Kendall County, Sandwich Township (DeKalb County), Somonauk Township (DeKalb County), and Aux Sable Township (Grundy County).   

The RTA originally created and adopted the HSTP in 2007 and later updated the plan in 2013 to bring it in line with new regulations enacted under MAP-21. In 2021, the RTA updated the HSTP in an effort to keep it in line with current needs and FTA requirements. The updated HSTP will allow the RTA to continue to access Section 5310 funding.

The FTA requires that projects selected for funding under the Section 5310 program be “included in a locally developed, coordinated public transit-human services transportation plan” and that the plan be “developed and approved through a process that included participation by seniors, individuals with disabilities, representatives of public, private and nonprofit transportation and human services providers and other members of the public.”  A locally developed, coordinated public transit-human services transportation plan (HSTP) identifies the transportation needs of individuals with disabilities, seniors and people with low incomes; provides strategies for meeting those local needs; and prioritizes transportation services and projects for funding and implementation.

Main elements of the HSTP include a demographic analysis and assessment, an inventory of existing transportation providers in the region, identification of gaps in mobility needs, development of strategies, activities and projects to address the needs and revise local program policies, and project selection process. The RTA’s HSTP Project Advisory Committee (PAC) served as the project steering committee for the project.  The PAC is made up of staff from Pace, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), the six counties in the RTA region, and individuals from organizations that represent persons with disabilities and older adults. 

The PAC recommended nine coordinated transportation goals to address the prioritized needs:

  1. Establish mobility management and travel training networks
  2. Expand service areas and hours
  3. Coordinate fare media and implement capped fares for certain trips
  4. Coordinate volunteer driver support programs
  5. Improve access to suburban jobs for residents with low incomes
  6. Expand consolidated vehicle procurement types
  7. Explore collaboration/consolidation of similar services
  8. Establish a regional 1 call/1 click service
  9. Create an accessibility infrastructure database

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Eligible Applicants and Projects

All applicants are encouraged to work with other interested parties that may use or be affected by proposed projects. Projects are evaluated, in part, on an applicant's demonstrated efforts to coordinate with other parties such as government agencies, transportation providers, and social service groups. Any coordination aspects of the project should be noted in the project description and evidenced through other appropriate documentation, such as partnership agreements and cooperative operational arrangements. Projects that do not demonstrate coordination will generally not be awarded, unless specific circumstances that prevent coordination (such as the need to transport agency clients with specific mobility assistance needs) are clearly outlined in the proposal.  

Eligible subrecipients for Traditional Section 5310 Projects include:

  • Private nonprofit organization; or
  • State or local governmental authority that:
    • is approved by a state to coordinate services for seniors and individuals with disabilities; or
    • certifies that there are no nonprofit organizations readily available in the area to provide the service.

Eligible subrecipients for other eligible Section 5310 activities include:

  • a state or local governmental authority
  • a private nonprofit organization
  • an operator of public transportation that receives a Section 5310 grant indirectly through a recipient

In Northeastern Illinois, the RTA Service Boards (CTA, Metra, and Pace), as FTA Direct Recipients, are allowed to apply for and receive grants directly from the FTA. Once the RTA awards a Section 5310 grant to a Service Board, they can then apply directly to the FTA for those funds. All other applicants receiving an award through the RTA-administered program becomes a grant subrecipient of the RTA. Subrecipients must be able to certify and demonstrate the ability to meet federal requirements regarding these programs during the application process.

Eligible Projects

Note: Rolling stock is not considered eligible for consideration under RTA calls for projects. IDOT is responsible for project selection and the award of Section 5310 funded paratransit vehicles in Northeastern Illinois and the RTA is responsible for all other Section 5310 projects. IDOT, through its Consolidated Vehicle Program (CVP), selects and awards paratransit vehicles to eligible applicants. For information regarding CVP, please contact Zoe.Keller@illinois.gov

Eligible projects include those that are planned, designed, and carried out to meet the special needs of seniors and individuals with disabilities when public transportation is insufficient, inappropriate, or unavailable.  It may also be used for public transportation projects that exceed the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as amended (ADA) that improve access to fixed‐route service and decrease reliance by individuals with disabilities on complementary paratransit, and for alternatives to public transportation that assist seniors and individuals with disabilities.  

No less than 55 percent of funds awarded for Northeastern Illinois by fiscal year must be obligated to “traditional” Section 5310 projects. Traditional projects are those public transportation projects planned, designed, and carried out to meet the special needs of seniors and individuals with disabilities when public transportation is insufficient, unavailable, or inappropriate.

In order for a project to receive funding from the traditional category of funds, it must be a capital project related to 5310-funded vehicles and the sub-recipient must either be a non-profit agency or a local unit of government that certifies no non-profit organizations are readily available in the area to provide services.  An operating project may also be funded from the traditional category of funds, provided the service is implemented by a non-profit agency, which contracts out services to a third party.

Previously RTA funded projects include coordinated paratransit services, volunteer driver program, expansion of an existing service, and general public demand responsive paratransit service.  A complete list of previously funded Section 5310 subrecipients and project descriptions are available on RTAMS.

Detailed guidance regarding eligible projects from FTA on the Section 5310 Program can be found in the most recent Section 5310 Program Circular 9070.1G.

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Project Selection Process and Evaluation Criteria

All projects will be competitively selected through this open call for projects. Applications submitted will be reviewed by RTA staff for eligibility and then referred to a Project Selection Team (PST) for evaluation based on the criteria included in the following section. The PST is made up of seven representatives: two representatives from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), two from the RTA and two from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) and one from Easterseals. Upon completion of the project evaluations, a recommended Program of Projects will be released for a comment period. Following the public comment period, the RTA Board will be presented the Program of Projects for approval. 

Projects may be recommended for approval at a lesser funding amount and reduced scope than originally requested in order to achieve a fair and equitable distribution of funding and support as many eligible projects as possible for the duration of the programming period (2 years). If the PST deems it necessary to reduce the project scale/scope in order to align the project with budgetary constraints, the PST will consult with the applicant. RTA staff may also contact the applicant to obtain clarification on the application as it deems necessary.

Project Evaluation Criteria

The Project Selection Team will evaluate the projects based on the following criteria taking into account the entire application as submitted.

Eligibility Assessment

1.  Proposed project addresses: (a) public transportation projects planned, designed, and carried out to meet the special needs of seniors and individuals with disabilities when public transportation is insufficient, inappropriate, or unavailable; (b) public transportation projects that exceed the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.);
(c) public transportation projects that improve access to fixed route service and decrease reliance by individuals with disabilities on complementary paratransit; and
(d) alternatives  to  public  transportation  that  assist  seniors  and  individuals  with disabilities with transportation.

Eligible /
Not Eligible
 
2.  Project application identifies and addresses an unmet need identified in the Human Services Transportation Plan (HSTP). This should include:
(a) which goal this project will implement
(b) description of the project
(c) how the project will address the goal(s)
(d) identification of performance measures that can track success of the project
Eligible /
Not Eligible
3.  Local match supplied. Eligible /
Not Eligible
If an existing project, score 4a only, or new project, score 4b only Point Value

4a. Project supports existing project  that supports a goal from the HSTP; and 
 one or more strategies that:

(a) Demonstrates coordination between one or more partnering agencies

(b) Creates an improvement in services for the target population

(c) Continues an essential transportation function for the target population

4b. Project is new project that supports a goal from the HSTP; and

(a) Demonstrates coordination between one or more partnering agencies

(b) Creates an improvement in services for the target population

(c) Continues an essential transportation function for the target population

0-20

(a) 0-10

(b) 0-5

(c) 0-5

 

0-20

(a) 0-10

(b) 0-5

(c) 0-5

5.  Project provides or applying for mobility management function in a particular county or portion of the region. 0-20
   
6.  Project markets to target population and promotes public awareness   0-10
  Point Value
7.  Project utilizes/coordinates with existing public transportation providers and private human service agencies; or reflects partnerships with non-transit entities and/or private non-profit/for-profit organizations 0-20
8.  Applicant demonstrates ability to implement proposed project and manage federally-funded awards 0-10
For existing applicant, score 9a and 9b only, for new applicant, score 10 only Point Value

9a. Applicant provides plan for assessing the proposed project's performance through the course of the grant (performance measures)
 

9b. Reporting for existing program demonstrates performance in line with or exceeding prior estimate.(Not applicable for new applicants)

0-10

0-10

  Point Value
10.  Applicant provides plan for assessing the proposed project’s performance through the course of the grant (performance measures) - New applicant only. 0-20

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Other Details

Federal/Local Matching Requirements

Applicants are required to provide a reasonable cost estimate for the project and demonstrate the ability to fund the project at the time of applying.  An operating project, whether classified as a traditional Section 5310 project or not, must provide a 50% local funding match in accordance with the HSTP.  Capital and mobility management projects require a 20% local match. Items classified as administrative activities are funded at 100%, requiring no local match. All of the local match must be provided from sources other than Federal DOT funds. For examples of other sources of local match, please view the CCAM Federal Fund Braiding Guide. Examples of sources of local match that may be used include the following:

  • State or local appropriations
  • Other non-DOT Federal funds
  • Dedicated tax revenues
  • Private donations
  • Revenue from human service contracts
  • Net income generated from advertising and concessions

Farebox revenue may not be used as local match.  Farebox revenue is considered income and is deducted from total operating cost to determine the net cost of the activity. 

Project Management and Reporting Requirements

The RTA, as the designated recipient of Section 5310 funding, is responsible for overseeing and administering the Section 5310 Program in Northeastern Illinois. Section 5310 subrecipients must have the staffing capability to manage the project and comply with reporting requirements for the Section 5310 Program. Reporting shall be required throughout the duration of the active project. Subrecipients are responsible for submitting quarterly reports to the RTA, in addition to any other reports as may be required. RTA will provide the reporting forms to the Section 5310 subrecipients. Reports submitted must be accurate, complete, and timely. Subrecipients will also be required to submit invoices and monthly project status reports, indicating performance on project scope and other items required by RTA.

The RTA encourages applicants to apply for mobility management funding to assist in the administration of the program. This funding can be used to fund a staff position that is responsible for administering the program (partner coordination, invoice preparation and submittal, reporting preparation and submittal) and can be the main point of contact for RTA staff. Mobility management is funded at 80 /20 (80% federal, 20% local).

RTA staff will also conduct on-site compliance reviews once the project has begun. 

Failure to comply with federal requirements may affect future funding and result in the loss of approved funding.

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