Need for More Federal Leadership in Administering Nonurbanized Area Public Transit Activities

CED-78-134: Published: Jul 3, 1978. Publicly Released: Jul 3, 1978.

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In November 1974, Congress amended the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964 to authorize $500 million for exclusive use for nonurbanized areas, less than 50,000 population, during fiscal year 1975 through 1980. The $500 million is available for planning, demonstration, and capital investments supporting small town and rural area transit services.

State and local officials believe that few requests for the $500 million have been made because of the absence of federal financial assistance for projected operating deficits, a belief that Urban Mass Transportation Administration (UMTA) grant application procedures and requirements are too complex, the absence of knowledge about available UMTA financial assistance, and the absence of policy regarding federal mass transit assistance. UMTA does not manage the $500 million set-aside as a separate program; it has no separate policy, procedures, personnel, grant delivery system, or organizational entity relative to transit assistance for small urban or rural areas. Although UMTA has established planning regulations which apply to nonurbanized areas, these regulations are not a substitute for policies and procedures which specifically identify federal transportation objectives for nonurbanized areas and how federal assistance can address them.

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