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New Freedom Program

The New Freedom Program [Section 5317] is a new formula grant program, created by the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) legislation, to support capital and operating costs of services and facility improvements in excess of those required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

  • On March 29, 2007 FTA issued its circular entitled, New Freedom Program Guidance and Application Instructions.
  • This circular issues guidance on the administration of the New Freedom Program under 49 U.S.C. 5317, and guidance for the preparation of grant applications.
  • This issuance incorporates new provisions of SAFETEA-LU, and includes the most up-to-date guidance available for the program.

Legislation Features

  • The Federal Transit Administration has also issued an updated interpretation for the phrase "beyond ADA" with regard to the New Freedom program. Published in the April 29, 2009 Federal Register, the interpretation is a more inclusive definition of eligible New Freedom projects, stating in part "new and expanded fixed route and demand responsive transit service planned for and designed to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities are eligible projects." All other aspects of the guidance remain unchanged. The policy statement takes effect May 29, 2009. For additional information, contact David Schneider of FTA at david.schneider@dot.gov.
  • Funds allocated through a formula based upon population of persons with disabilities.
  • Allocations to designated recipients in areas over 200,000 (60%), to States for areas under 200,000 (20%) and non-urbanized areas (20%); States may transfer funds to urbanized or non-urbanized area programs as long as funds are used for New Freedom Program purposes.
  • States and designated recipients must select grantees competitively.
  • Matching share requirements are flexible to encourage coordination with other federal programs that may provide transportation, such as Health and Human Services or Agriculture.
  • Projects must be included in a locally-developed human service transportation coordinated plan beginning in FY 2007.
  • 10 percent of funds may be used for planning, administration and technical assistance.

New Freedom Resources

Transportation Voucher Programs

Visit Joblinks' new wiki page on transportation voucher programs. Here you can learn about the different types and applications of voucher programs, understand the many benefits vouchers bring to various members of a community, and get advice on setting up a program.

Because this is a wiki page, each viewer may request designation as a "collaborator" and make changes to the resources posted there, add additional resources, share their own experiences, and communicate with others interested in transportation voucher programs. Visit thehome page of the voucher wiki for more information.

Local New Freedom Programs

FTA Provides Descriptions of Local New Freedom Projects

Visit the Federal Transit Administration's New Freedom web page for descriptions of New Freedom-funded transportation projects in large-urban, small-urban and non-urbanized areas. http://www.fta.dot.gov/funding/grants/grants_financing_7633.html.

Door Thru Door Program in Va.

In Arlington County, Va., the City of Alexandria and Home Care Partners recently received New Freedom funds to implement Door Thru Door, a service provides personal care attendants to clients with disabilities who need assistance using paratransit to get to medical appointments. Aides are available for up to four hours per visit and fees for service are based on income, with a $30 per visit cap. Individuals are responsible for scheduling transportation, as well as paying the cost of transportation for themselves and the aide. The Arlington and Alexandria offices of the Administration on Aging provides clients with information on available transportation options. Pending final approval, the program is expected to become operational in spring, 2008.

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