§ 1516. Programs of Statewide significance.
(a) General rule.--Money in the fund allocated for programs of Statewide significance shall be used by the department to support public transportation programs, activities and services not otherwise fully funded through the operating program, capital program or asset improvement program. In addition to any requirements contained in this section, applications must comply with section 1507 (relating to application and approval process). Programs of Statewide significance shall include:
(1) The Persons with Disabilities Program.
(2) Intercity passenger rail and bus services.
(3) Community transportation capital and service stabilization.
(4) The Welfare-to-Work Program and matching funds for Federal programs with similar intent.
(5) Demonstration and research projects.
(6) Technical assistance.
(7) Other programs as determined by the department.
(8) The department's costs under sections 1510(b) (relating to program oversight and administration) and 1518 (relating to program oversight and administration).
(b) Persons with disabilities.--The department shall establish and administer a program providing reduced fares to persons with disabilities on community transportation services and to provide financial assistance for start-up, administrative and capital expenses related to reduced fares for persons with disabilities. All of the following shall apply:
(1) A community transportation system operating in the Commonwealth other than in a county of the first class may apply for financial assistance under this subsection.
(2) The department may award financial assistance under this subsection for program start-up and for continuing capital expenses to offset administrative and capital expenses. For community transportation trips made by eligible persons with disabilities, financial assistance may be awarded to an eligible community transportation system to reimburse the system for up to 85% of the fare established for the general public for each trip which is outside of fixed-route and paratransit service areas and not eligible for funding from any other program or funding source. The person making the trip or an approved third-party sponsor shall contribute the greater of 15% of the fare established for the general public or the Americans with Disabilities Act complementary paratransit fare.
(c) Intercity transportation.--The department is authorized to provide financial assistance for an efficient and coordinated intercity common carrier surface transportation program, consisting of both intercity passenger rail service and intercity bus service transportation, with the intent of sustaining strong intercity connections. All of the following shall apply:
(1) An intercity passenger rail service provider, a local transportation organization, an agency or instrumentality of the Commonwealth or a transportation company that provides intercity public transportation service may apply for financial assistance under this subsection. The department is authorized to enter into joint service agreements with a railroad company, any other agency or instrumentality of the Commonwealth, a Federal agency or an agency or instrumentality of any other jurisdiction relating to property, buildings, structures, facilities, services, rates, fares, classifications, dividends, allowances or charges, including charges between intercity rail passenger service facilities, or rules or regulations pertaining thereto, for or in connection with or incidental to transportation in whole or in part upon intercity rail passenger service facilities.
(2) Operating assistance and capital assistance may be provided for intercity bus service and intercity passenger rail service as determined by the department.
(3) For financial assistance to a transportation company, eligible matching funds shall consist only of cash income generated by the transportation company from its activities, other than the provision of subsidized public passenger transportation service and contributed by the transportation company in the amount and for the time period specified in the financial assistance agreement.
(4) Local match requirements are as follows:
(i) For intercity bus service operating and capital assistance, financial assistance shall require a local match by local or private cash funding in an amount equal to at least 100% of the amount of the financial assistance being provided.
(ii) For intercity passenger rail service operating and capital assistance, financial assistance shall require a local match on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the best interests of the Commonwealth.
(5) For purposes of this subsection, "local match" is defined as local revenue obtained from other nonsubsidized services such as charter, school bus or profits realized from other intercity bus services. Local match shall not include any funds received from Federal or State sources.
(d) Community transportation.--
(1) The department is authorized to provide financial assistance under this section for all of the following:
(i) Capital expenditures for the provision of community transportation service; and
(ii) service stabilization, including:
(A) Stabilizing current service and fares.
(B) Providing advice or technical assistance to analyze and enhance community transportation system resources and services.
(C) Maximizing available funding including Federal dollars.
(D) Ensuring equitable cost sharing.
(2) Subject to the limitations of this subsection, the following may apply for financial assistance under this subsection:
(i) The governing body of a county, other than a county of the first or second class.
(ii) A transportation company designated by the governing body of the county as the coordinator of community transportation service.
(iii) An agency or instrumentality of the Commonwealth.
(2.1) Each eligible applicant shall be subject to all of the following requirements:
(i) An applicant for financial assistance for capital expenditures for the provision of public community transportation service shall certify to the department that it has taken all reasonable steps to coordinate local service for the elderly and persons with disabilities and that the services to be offered with the capital assets do not duplicate existing fixed-route services.
(ii) The governing body of a county or the coordinator described under this paragraph shall not be eligible for financial assistance for service stabilization if any of the following apply:
(A) The coordinator receives financial assistance under the operating program established under this chapter.
(B) The coordinator is a private for-profit provider.
(3) Financial assistance for service stabilization may only be provided for the following purposes:
(i) Short-term, long-term and strategic planning.
(ii) Technology investment.
(iii) Training programs designed to enhance transportation management and staff expertise.
(iv) Offsetting operating expenses that cannot be covered by fare revenue due to emergencies.
(v) Marketing activities.
(vi) Other stabilization purposes approved by the department.
(4) The department shall give high priority to providing financial assistance under this subsection as match for Federal funding to support capital projects for community transportation systems.
(5) The department shall conduct a study to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of community transportation service delivery as it relates to human service programs. The Department of Public Welfare, the Office of the Budget and the Department of Aging and other appropriate Commonwealth agencies identified by the department shall participate in the study. Within two years following the effective date of this section, these agencies shall make recommendations to the Governor and the Majority and Minority chairpersons of the Transportation Committee of the Senate and the Majority and Minority chairpersons of the Transportation Committee of the House of Representatives for improving coordination and efficiency of human services and community transportation.
(d.1) Welfare-to-work and Federal programs match.--The department is authorized to provide financial assistance under this section to design and implement projects and services and to reimburse award recipients for the expenses associated with the projects and services that identify and address public passenger transportation and related barriers preventing individuals eligible for participation in the Federal welfare-to-work program from securing and maintaining employment and from accessing community services and facilities. All of the following shall apply:
(1) A local transportation organization, a transportation company designated by a county as the coordinator of community transportation services or any other person approved by the department may apply to the department for financial assistance under this subsection.
(2) Financial assistance awarded under this subsection shall be used for any of the following purposes:
(i) Fixed-route service subsidy.
(ii) Contracted transportation services.
(iii) Fixed-route fare discounts.
(iv) Community transportation fare discounts.
(v) Taxi fare discounts.
(vi) Mileage reimbursement.
(vii) Vehicle purchase, insurance, maintenance and repair.
(viii) Driver education classes.
(ix) Administrative expenses.
(x) Case management expenses.
(xi) Any other activities consistent with the transportation related elements of the welfare-to-work program.
(3) The department shall give high priority to providing financial assistance under this subsection as match for Federal funding to support projects with similar purposes and eligible uses, including the Federal Job Access Reverse Commute and New Freedoms programs.
(e) Technical assistance, demonstration and emergency.--The department is authorized to provide financial assistance under this section for technical assistance, research and short-term demonstration or emergency projects. All of the following shall apply:
(1) A local transportation organization or an agency or instrumentality of the Commonwealth may apply to the department for financial assistance under this subsection.
(2) Financial assistance provided under this subsection may be used for reimbursement for any approved operating or capital costs related to technical assistance and demonstration program projects. Financial assistance for short-term demonstration projects may be provided at the department's discretion on an annual basis based on the level of financial commitment provided by the award recipient to provide ongoing future funding for the project as soon as the project meets the criteria established by the department and the award recipient. Financial assistance for this purpose shall not be provided for more than three fiscal years. Financial assistance may be provided to meet any short-term emergency need that requires immediate attention and cannot be funded through other sources.
(3) Financial assistance under this subsection provided to a local transportation organization shall be matched by local or private cash funding in an amount not less than 3.33% of the amount of the financial assistance being provided. The sources of funds for the local match shall be subject to the requirements of section 1513(d)(3) (relating to operating program).
(4) As follows:
(i) For short-term demonstration projects awarded financial assistance under this subsection, the department shall determine if the demonstration project was successful based upon the performance criteria established prior to the commencement of the demonstration project and approved by the department.
(ii) If the department determines that the demonstration project was successful, the local transportation organization or agency or instrumentality of the Commonwealth that conducted the demonstration project shall be eligible to apply for and receive funds under section 1513 to sustain and transition the demonstration project into regularly scheduled public passenger transportation service.
(iii) During the first year in which the demonstration project is eligible for and applies for financial assistance under section 1513, the local transportation organization or agency or instrumentality of the Commonwealth that conducted the demonstration project and transitioned it to regularly scheduled public passenger transportation service shall be eligible to receive financial assistance up to 65% of the transportation service's prior fiscal year operating costs or expenses for the service as an initial base operating allocation.
(iv) The initial base operating allocation shall be taken from the growth under section 1513 over the prior year before distributing the remainder of the formula described in section 1513.
(f) Shared Ride Community Transportation Service Delivery Pilot Program.--
(1) The department may develop and implement a pilot program to test and evaluate new models of paying for and delivering shared ride and community transportation. The goals of the program are as follows:
(i) Develop a community transportation delivery model that can be managed to stay within budget.
(ii) Develop community transportation service standards with needs-based priorities.
(iii) Develop a business model and fare structure that work across funding programs.
(iv) Maximize efficiency and effectiveness of the services.
(2) The department shall establish an advisory committee to provide guidance and input for pilot planning, start-up, operations, data collection and post pilot evaluation. The committee shall be comprised of the following:
(i) A member appointed by the President pro tempore of the Senate.
(ii) A member appointed by the Minority Leader of the Senate.
(iii) A member appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
(iv) A member appointed by the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives.
(v) Two members from the Pennsylvania Public Transit Association appointed by the secretary.
(vi) A member appointed by the secretary to represent people with disabilities.
(vii) A member appointed by the Secretary of Aging to represent senior citizens.
(viii) A member appointed by the Secretary of Public Welfare to represent people using medical assistance transportation.
(ix) A member of the County Commissioners Association appointed by the secretary.
(x) The secretary or a designee.
(xi) The Secretary of Aging or a designee.
(xii) The Secretary of the Budget or a designee.
(xiii) The Secretary of Public Welfare or a designee.
(3) The department shall work with the committee to define potential pilot models within 12 months of the effective date of this subsection.
(4) The department shall publish the notice of availability of the program models and framework in the Pennsylvania Bulletin and receive applications from counties and shared ride community transportation systems interested in participating in the program for the three-month period following the publication of the notice.
(5) The department may work with the committee to redefine the basis for payment using lottery and other State funding sources currently used to support community transportation programs for selected pilot counties and shared ride community transportation systems to test new methods of service delivery and payment. Each project must have a business plan with management controls, service standards and budget controls. The business plan shall be reviewed by the committee prior to being implemented.
(Nov. 25, 2013, P.L.974, No.89, eff. imd.)
2013 Amendment. Act 89 amended subsecs. (b)(1) and (e) and added subsec. (f). See the preamble to Act 89 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to legislative findings and declarations.
References in Text. The Department of Public Welfare, referred to in this section, was redesignated as the Department of Human Services by Act 132 of 2014.
The Secretary of Public Welfare, referred to in this section, was redesignated as the Secretary of Human Services by Act 132 of 2014.
Cross References. Section 1516 is referred to in section 1506 of this title.