Federal Transit Administration (FTA) 5317 Program

Title 49 USC § 5317 declares that the U.S. Secretary of Transportation may make grants to encourage services and facility improvements to address the transportation needs of persons with disabilities that go beyond those required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The program, also known as New Freedom, provides grants for capital and operations assistance.

Program Goals

With the passage of the ADA, it has become a civil rights violation to deny public transportation access to persons with disabilities. The New Freedom formula grant program provides additional tools to overcome existing barriers facing Americans with disabilities seeking integration into the work force and full participation in society. Lack of adequate transportation is a primary barrier to work for people with disabilities. The 2000 Census showed that only 60 percent of people between the ages of 16 and 64 with disabilities are employed. The New Freedom formula grant program expands the transportation mobility options available to persons with disabilities beyond the requirements of the ADA. The specific goal of the program is to:

  • Assist individuals with disabilities with transportation, including transportation to and from jobs and employment support services.

Organizations Eligible to Receive 5317 Funds

There are a variety of organizations that are eligible to receive these funds. However, only projects that have been included in a Coordinated Public Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan qualify to receive these funds. Below is a list of eligible organization types.

  • Small urban public transit
  • Rural public transit
  • Private nonprofit organizations
  • Operators of public transportation services including private operators of public transportation services.
  • Tribal governments
  • Other general or local governments

Projects Eligible to Receive the 5317 Funds

  • Private nonprofit organizations
  • State or local governmental authority
  • Tribal governments

FTA requires a grantee of New Freedom funds to coordinate the New Freedom program activities with other related program activities of other Federal agencies. A grantee will also be required to certify that projects selected were derived from a locally developed, Coordinated Public Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan and that the plan was developed through a process that involved individuals of the public, private, and nonprofit transportation and human services providers.

Projects That Have Been Funded In the Past with 5317 Funds

Examples of projects and activities that might be funded under the program include, but are not limited to:

  • Purchasing vehicles and supporting accessible taxi, ride-sharing, and vanpooling programs.
  • Providing paratransit services beyond minimum requirements (3/4 mile to either side of a fixed route), including for routes that run seasonally.
  • Making accessibility improvements to transit and intermodal stations not designated as key stations.
  • Supporting voucher programs for transportation services offered by human service providers.
  • Supporting volunteer driver and aide programs.
  • Supporting mobility management and coordination programs among public transportation providers and other human service agencies providing transportation.
  • Support Travel Training programs.
  • Purchase of Services
  • Mobility Management
  • ADA taxi


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