Searching for sustainability? NEMT funding through 5310 and 5311 grants may be key

By October 14, 2019

As a non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) provider, funding beyond ride-share reimbursement is a critical component of sustaining an efficient and growing public transportation operation.

While Medicaid funds may be an important component of your business, additional funding—either through private equity or public/nonprofit grants—can help your operation flourish.

If you’re a public agency, it’s likely you’re already operating on thin margins; therefore, any infusion of additional capital can be beneficial. 

Grants from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) as well as other local, state, and federal grants can be great sources of additional revenue. The hard part is the time and effort involved in researching grant availability, understanding requirements, and crafting quality applications to be considered for this funding. With public money—and there are a lot of “free” money sources out there—it’s worth your effort to take the time to seek out these grants and complete a proposal.

If you’re eligible and are awarded funds from these grant sources, you may be able to invest into solutions that help sustain your services and support growth and enhanced service delivery for your communities.

Two great funding resources to consider are Section 5310 and Section 5311.

Section 5310

Section 5310 provides grant funding for “Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities.” The program’s goal is to remove barriers for transportation by expanding options for seniors and people with disabilities.

Unlike Section 5311, which is earmarked exclusively for public transportation initiatives in rural areas, 5310 funding can be used in all areas—rural, small urban areas, and large urban.

Through 5310 funding, agencies can develop new transit services or improve existing services. Funds can also be used to operate and maintain existing services.

Eligible applicants are generally state agencies, such as a state’s department of transportation, but in larger urban areas, the state’s governor may choose a direct recipient. Subrecipients can include other state or local government agencies, nonprofits, and public transportation providers that get funding indirectly through the primary recipient.

Money awarded from 5310 grants can be used for administrative needs, operating expenses,  and capital investments. For example, funds may be used to purchase additional vehicles or upfitting or retrofitting existing vehicles to ensure they are Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant.

According to the FTA, some of the ways 5310 funds can be used include:

  • Meeting needs of seniors and people with disabilities in areas where public transport is not available or not sufficient
  • Helping projects exceed ADA requirements
  • Improving access to fix-route services while decreasing the need for similar paratransit services

Section 5311

Section 5311 provides grants for rural areas, specifically portions of the country where lower population numbers may mean citizens don’t have access to public transportation or sustaining a public transportation service may otherwise seem unviable based on geography and number of riders served. 

Eligible 5311 applicants include state governments and federally-recognized Indian tribes. Subrecipients can include public transit agencies, nonprofits, state agencies and local government agencies—as long as they are dedicated to filling gaps within existing public transportation needs and services.

These grants can be used to cover planning, capital improvements, job access, operational needs, and reverse commute projects in rural areas serving populations of less than 50,000 people. Funds can also be used to maintain existing transportation services.

Section 5311 funding includes the Tribal Transit Program, the Rural Transit Assistance Program (RTAP), and the Appalachian Development Public Transportation Assistance Program (ADTAP).

According to the FTA, some of the ways 5311 funds can be include:

  • Enhanced access to healthcare, education, jobs, shopping, recreation and public services
  • Developing, improving, and maintaining public transportation
  • Coordinated programs and services
  • Financial assistance for mobility services for low-income people, people with disabilities, and seniors
  • More transportation options, including bus services
  • Support private transportation options for rural public transportation

Investment into efficiency

For both 5310 and 5311 funding, investment into a software platform such as TripMaster, can be a valuable solution for improving operational efficiencies and providing extended and higher quality services for qualified riders.

Here are some of ways NEMT scheduling and dispatch software can improve your NEMT operations:

  • Automated scheduling
  • Reservation management
  • Mobile data terminals for fleet vehicles
  • Automated vehicle location services for your entire fleet, with down-to-the-minute access
  • Routes and mapping automation
  • Efficient and compliant reporting and billing
  • Rider ticketing and scheduling

Whether you need help selecting the right funding source to bring TripMaster to your agency or you’re ready right now to put TripMaster technology to work for you, the team at CTS Software is ready to help. 
Schedule a demo today