Since 1975, the New Haven Transportation Management Area (TMA), which comprises the South Central Regional Council of Governments and the Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments (RiverCOG), has received annual Federal Section 5310 funding for transportation of seniors and individuals with disabilities. This program, which is administered by the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT), awarded cash grants for qualified recipients towards the purchase of wheelchair accessible vehicles. Eligible recipients of these funds include private non-profit organizations and local public bodies.
In 2012, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21, P.L. 112-141) was signed, which brought changes to the federal surface transportation programs, including Section 5310. Under MAP-21, the existing award of cash grants for qualified recipients towards the purchase of wheelchair accessible vehicles was maintained and funding was not reduced. Referred to as “traditional” 5310 or project category A, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) pays 80% of the cost of a wheelchair accessible vehicle. The remaining vehicle cost must be funded by the awarded recipient. In addition, there are three new categories of project types that can now be funded; categories B, C & D. These categories are similar to what was eligible under the former Section 5317 New Freedom Initiative (NFI) program which was designed to assist individuals with disabilities with transportation. The four project categories are as follows:
5310 A – Public transportation projects planned, designed, and carried out to meet the
special needs of seniors and individuals with disabilities when public transportation is insufficient, inappropriate, or unavailable.
5310 B – Public transportation projects that exceed the requirements of the ADA.
5310 C – Public transportation projects that improve access to fixed route service and decrease reliance by individuals with disabilities on complementary paratransit.
5310 D – Alternatives to public transportation that assist seniors and individuals with
disabilities with transportation.
The current federal transportation act, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation or “FAST” Act, continues the Section 5310 Program.
The South Central Regional Council of Governments, in conjunction with RiverCOG, is responsible for reviewing Section 5310 applications in the New Haven TMA and sending a prioritized list of projects to the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT).