Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation

MERIT: Operating and Capital Assistance

The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) allocates operating assistance funds based on a performance-based methodology and capital assistance funds based on a project-based prioritization process.  These changes were initiated through a series of reforms enacted by the 2018 Virginia General Assembly. 

Additional information on the goals, eligibility requirements, and application process for each of these programs can be found in the Blue Book - FY22 Transit and Commuter Assistance Grant Application Manual 

Operating Assistance:
The Operating Assistance program provides funding for eligible operating expenses for all modes of public transportation services throughout the state, including local bus, commuter bus, commuter rail, light rail, demand response, paratransit, and ferry services.  DRPT follows a performance-based methodology to determine the specific allocation of operating assistance funds to each operating agency throughout the state.  The program funds up to 30% of all operating expenses borne by public transportation operators.

The Operating Assistance methodology is based on several different service delivery factors, including sizing and performance metrics. The FY21 Operating Assistance Technical Guidance (FY guide coming soon) contains detailed information about the performance-based allocation methodology used for this program.

Operating Assistance Program Resources:


Capital Assistance:
The Capital Assistance program follows a prioritization process that allows DRPT to allocate and assign limited resources to projects and investments identified as the "most critical."  

Under the Capital Assistance program, projects are classified, scored, and prioritized separately in the following categories:                                                                                                                             

  • State of Good Repair (SGR): Projects or programs to replace or rehabilitate an existing asset(s).  (State Match: Up to 68%)
  • Minor Enhancement (MIN): Projects or programs to add capacity, new technology, or a customer facility with a cost of less than $2 million or that include a vehicle expansion of no more than 5 vehicles or 5% of the existing fleet size. (State Match: Up to 68%)
  • Major Expansion (MAJ): Projects or programs to add, expand, or improve service with a cost exceeding $2 million or that include an increase of greater than 5 vehicles or 5% of fleet size, whichever is greater. (State Match: Up to 50%)

Applicants that are eligible for Federal Public Transportation grant programs may combine federal and state capital assistance grant funds to decrease the local match needed for each project.  However, a minimum 4% local match is necessary for all projects

Capital Assistance Program Resources:

Capital Assistance Application Resources:

Capital Assistance Prioritization and Scorecards





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