Title: Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Complementary Paratransit Service
Sponsor: Greater Cleveland RTA
Estimated Total Cost: $85,896,000 for CY 2016 - 2019
Proposed Source of Federal Funds: NOACA & FTA (Federal Transit Administration)
History/Background: The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) is the principal mass transportation carrier in the Cleveland Urbanized Area. RTA provides service to 59 municipalities. The total area served by the RTA is approximately 458 square miles and contains a population of 1.3 million.
According to 49 USC 5302(a)(1)(I) and FTA’s 5307 circular, a capital project now includes "...the provision of non-fixed route paratransit transportation in accordance with Section 223 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12143), but only for grant recipients that are in compliance with the applicable requirements of that Act, including both fixed route and demand responsive service, and only for amounts not to exceed 10 percent of such recipient's annual formula apportionment under section 5307 and 5311." According to RTA, this request is consistent with the flexibility of funds provisions of the Transportation Bill, allowing an amount equal to 10 percent of a their annual formula apportionment under Section 5307 to be used for such proposes. According to RTA, its annual Section 5307 Urban Formula Grant is estimated to be $22,500,000 per year during the period from January 2016 to December 2019.
Current Conditions: RTA offers persons with disabilities who qualify under ADA, special paratransit service to supplement accessible fixed-route service. RTA’s paratransit service is provided by specially trained operators using smaller, lift-equipped vehicles. Complementary paratransit service is required under Section 223 of the ADA regulations. Individuals who qualify for Category I (i.e. Demand Response Service (door to door) and Category III (i.e. Demand Response Service feeding fixed route short demand response service between persons trip origin and an accessible fixed route bus) are eligible for special door-to-door service. Customers are provided service from point of origination to destination within a five-mile radius of their home. Additional service is provided beyond five miles only if RTA provides standard bus and rapid transit service during the time and in the area the trip would be taken.
Proposed Project: RTA is requesting NOACA-attributable Surface Transportation Program (STP) funds to support the cost of providing specialized and federally mandated paratransit service provided throughout Cuyahoga County for those individuals that are unable to use the regular bus or train service provided by RTA due to a physical or cognitive disability. These funds will be used to off-set costs associated with RTA’s paratransit service for persons with disabilities.
The total projected cost of paratransit service for 2016 - 2019 is $85,896,000. RTA is requesting $9,000,000 of STP funds over four years ($2,250,000 per year), from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2019. RTA will provide the local match of $76,896,000 from its operating budget.
The estimated cost of RTA’s CY 2016 program is $21,154,000, for which RTA is requesting $2,250,000 in STP funds. RTA will provide $18,904,000 in local match. The estimated cost of the CY 2017 program is $21,366,000, for which RTA is requesting $2,250,000 in STP funds. RTA will provide $19,116,000 in local match. The estimated cost of the CY 2018 program is $21,580,000, for which RTA is requesting $2,250,000 in STP funds. RTA will provide $19,330,000 in local match. The estimated cost of the CY 2019 program is $21,796,000, for which RTA is requesting $2,250,000 in STP funds. RTA will provide $19,546,000 in local match.
Staff Comment (Summary):
• This project is consistent with NOACA’s Connections+ 2035 Goals #3 (Preserve and Improve the Efficiency of the Transportation System), #4 (Establish a More Balanced Transportation System which Enhances Modal Choices) and #5 (Improve the Mobility of Transit Dependent and Low-Income Individuals).
• Provision of mandatory complementary paratransit service is extremely important to maintaining the mobility of older adults and those with disabilities in Cuyahoga County. Such service supports a tier one goal of the Coordinated Public Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan for Northeast Ohio - reduced costs for end users. Private transportation services similar to RTA paratransit service are extremely expensive and out of reach for many transportation disadvantaged users.
• Awarding STP funding to RTA to help support its paratransit service also supports another tier one goal of the Coordinated Plan – reduced costs for transportation providers. The per trip cost for paratransit service is many times the fare paid by the user. Helping offset the cost RTA incurs to provide this mandatory service is consistent with the plan.
• NOACA’s STP funds are programmed through SFY 2021. If this proposed project is approved, it will be amended to NOACA’s long range transportation plan.
• Recommend committee and public review in order to obtain comments.
• The Transportation Subcommittee did not have a quorum of members present at its meeting. The consensus among the attending members was to recommend the project for Planning and Programming Committee review.
Planning & Programming Committee:
• No comments; recommended for Executive Committee review.
• No comments; recommended for Board of Directors' review.
Intergovernmental Review and Consultation (IGRC):