The 2018 Virginia General Assembly enacted numerous reforms to the public transportation grant programs administered by DRPT. In order to successfully ensure timely implementation of these reforms, the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation has created the Making Efficient + Responsible Investments in Transit program.
Because the implementation deadline to initiate these new reforms is July 1, 2019, current and prospective
DRPT grant applicants will have a limited window of time to prepare for the FY 2020 grant application process.
For more information on the implementation and guidance of these new reforms, please scroll below or speak to your respective DRPT grant program manager.
Chapters 854 and 856 of the 2018 Virginia Acts of Assembly created a number of new reforms regarding statewide DRPT public transportation grant programs. Effective July 1, 2018, all revenues deposited into the Mass Transit Trust Fund (MTTF) must be allocated annually by the Commonwealth Transportation Board as follows:
- 31% for statewide operating assistance grants
- 12.5% awarded for statewide capital assistance grants
- 53.5% for distribution to NVTC for WMATA capital purposes and operating assistance
- Up to 3% of remaining funds awarded as special project grants subject to CTB approval.
The General Assembly also enacted significant programmatic reform to the statewide operating and statewide capital assistance grant programs.
Beginning in Fiscal Year 2020, all statewide transit operating funding will be distributed based on performance factors. Additionally, all statewide capital assistance grants will be subject to a project-based prioritization process competitive with other applications statewide and along project categories of for state of good repair/minor enhancement, with a separate SMART SCALE-like process for major expansion projects.
- Commonwealth Transportation Board Policies
MERIT is guided by policies approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board. The policies may be found here:
- Policy for the implementation of state transit capital prioritization
- Guidelines for urban transit agency strategic plans
- Policy for the implementation of statewide operating
Program Application Guidance
The Program Application Guidance document contains information about grants for public transportation and commuter services administered by DRPT. Information is provided for each of the various categories of grants that are awarded each year and specifically, who can apply for the grants and what expenses are eligible for each category. The forms that must be completed in order to submit a grant application and instructions for submitting the form(s) are available in OLGA.
Technical Guidance and Supplemental Forms
The Technical Guidance document contains detailed information about prioritization for state of good repair, minor enhancement, and major expansion projects. This guidance document is intended to outline the scoring process for DRPT staff and to provide applicants with a fully transparent view of the process.
For FY2020, fillable PDF forms are being provided to step applicants through the information necessary to support prioritization. The forms are available below as well as in DRPT's Online Grant Administration (OLGA). It is anticipated that these forms will be integrated into the OLGA application for the FY2021 grant cycle.
- Capital Assistance Application - Quick Guide
- Milestones for Capital Applications
- Transit Capital Program Prioritization - Technical Documentation
- Useful Life Chart
- VW Public Transit Electrification Project Funding Application
- VW Public Transit Electrification Project Supplemental Fleet Data Spreadsheet
DRPT Performance Based Operating Allocations 1-7-2019
The following presentations provide general information on the prioritization process.
- Capital Applications - Part I
- Capital Applications - Part II
- Capital Applications - Part III
- Electric Bus VW Mitigation Trust Application Webinar
Fiscal Year 2020 Prioritization
October - November
DRPT hosts a series of statewide grantee workshops in advance of the annual grant application period.
DRPT announces the opening of the annual grant application period.
February 1 or First Business Day in February
Applications are due for Public Transportation, Commuter Services/TDM and FTA Section 5310 and 5311 programs.
DRPT evaluates applications and requests any additional information needed from applicants. Late April Applications are due for FTA Section 5303 funds.
DRPT completes application evaluation and develops the draft Six-Year Improvement Program (SYIP) which contains funding for public transportation and commuter services programs and services. The SYIP includes funding for transit operating and capital and TDM program operating and projects.
The Commonwealth Transportation Board adopts the Six-Year Improvement Program. DRPT notifies applicants of approved grants and funding levels. July 1 Fiscal Year begins – contracts executed.