31. an a designated recipient retain 100 percent of their 5310 funds and give it to themselves to buy buses?
It may be possible. However, there are several statutory requirements that need to be met and may preclude the designated recipient from receiving 100% of the area’s apportionment. First, the designated recipient must certify that all projects (including the acquisition of buses) are in a locally developed coordinated plan that was developed and approved by people with disabilities, seniors and the other stakeholder groups as noted in the FTA C9070.1G circular Chapter III 3.b. Second, the designated recipient must certify that at least 55 percent of its apportionment is being used for traditional capital 5310 projects carried out by an eligible recipient or subrecipient. In order for a public entity, such as the designated recipient, to be eligible to administer traditional 5310 projects, it would need to meet one of the following conditions and document it in its application to FTA as well as its program management plan:
- is approved by the 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 services. By services, we mean capital 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.
The remainder of the area’s apportionment can be spent on any of eligible types of projects listed in the statute and described in more detail in the circular. Buses are certainly eligible and the designated recipient, as a public entity, could administer those projects. However, the region should confirm that the acquisition of buses and the proposed service they will be used to provide are both (1) included in the coordinated plan and (2) eligible under the program (eligibility is listed in 49 USC 5310 (b)).