Title

ASSESSMENT OF STATE PROCEDURES FOR ALLOCATING SECTION 5311 SUBSIDIES TO RURAL PUBLIC TRANSIT OPERATORS

Authors

R S. Marshment

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

1998

Subject Area

ridership - disadvantage, place - rural

Keywords

Subsidies, Small towns, Rural transit, Rural areas, Public law 95-599, section 5311, Poverty, Population (Statistical), Population, Poor people, Passenger trips, Mobility, Low income groups, Low income families, Fund allocations, Formulas, Economically disadvantaged persons

Abstract

The U.S. Department of Transportation provides monies to states to assist in the provision of transit services in small towns and rural areas under the Section 5311 program. The purpose of the Section 5311 program is to improve mobility for economically disadvantaged rural residents. In practice, states exercise considerable discretion over the operation of the program, including establishing eligibility criteria and funding levels for individual operators. Forty-one states grant monies to operators through a competitive process based on applications. The applications are used to rank operators according to one or more performance measures. States often employ scoring techniques in their evaluations. The remaining nine states award subsidies according to formulas. There are great similarities in state goals for rural transit service even though there is significant variation in the amounts of monies awarded to comparable operators. To better realize the purpose of the Section 5311 program, states might consider adopting an allocation procedure whereby monies are awarded using a formula based on equalizing the subsidy per passenger trip. States that establish minimum rural mobility standards could split their total allocation into two categories, apportioning one part by population and the other by the subsidy per passenger trip.