Name of Program: New Freedom Program, as authorized by the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) and codified in 49 U.S.C. 5317.
Program Goal: The New Freedom Program aims to provide additional tools to overcome existing barriers facing Americans with disabilities seeking integration into the work force and full participation in society.
Brief Program Description: The New Freedom Program provides new public transportation services and public transportation alternatives beyond those required by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) that assist individuals with disabilities with transportation, including transportation to and from jobs and employment support services. New and expanded fixed route and demand responsive transit service planned for and designed to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities are eligible projects. New Freedom funds may be used to finance capital and operating expenses.
Who Can Apply? State and local governments, non-profit organizations and local transportation providers. ODOT accepts proposals for projects serving anywhere in Ohio except the urbanized areas of at least 200,000 people: Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, and Youngstown. Proposals for projects serving one of these urbanized areas must be submitted to the Designated Recipient of New Freedom funds in that area (see below). ODOT is the Designated Recipient for urbanized areas with fewer than 200,000 people and nonurbanized areas. Each Designated Recipient runs its own project solicitation process.
Program Requirements: Projects selected for funding must be derived from locally developed coordinated public transit-human services transportation plans. The federal share of eligible capital costs may not exceed 80% of the net capital costs of the project. The federal share of the eligible operating costs may not exceed 50% of the net operating cost of the activity. All of the local share must be provided from sources other than federal DOT funds. 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.
Projects serving nonurbanized areas and urbanized areas with fewer than 200,000 people: Project proposals must be postmarked and emailed no later than May 7, 2014 to be considered for CY 2015 funding.