The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) eliminated the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Section 5316 Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) and Section 5317 New Freedom grant programs in 2012. At the same time, MAP-21 expanded the eligibility of the Section 5307 Urbanized Area Formula Program and Section 5311 Rural Area Formula Program to include JARC-“type” projects, while doing the same for New Freedom projects under the Section 5310 Enhanced Mobility for Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities Program. The elimination of the two programs - but preservation of their eligible activities under alternate formula programs - was consistent with the theme of program consolidation which was a hallmark of MAP-21, and which would be continued under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which superseded MAP-21 in 2015. The National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP), on behalf of the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHTO) Standing Committee on Public Transportation (SCOPT), commissioned two research activities on the past – and future – of JARC and New Freedom services which are combined and presented in this report: JARC and New Freedom – Then and Now.
This report documents and presents the results of an analysis on the differences between the uses, administration, and management of the FTA’s Section 5316 Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) program under TEA-21 and SAFETEA-LU. Under SAFETEA-LU, the program transformed from a discretionary funding program under TEA-21 to a formula driven program before being eliminated altogether in 2012 under MAP-21. Changes in funding levels and distribution requirements as well as changes in program and project administration requirements had significant impacts on the JARC program and its designated projects throughout the states. This analysis includes a review of historical (since 1999) 5316 funding allocation data by state, and, more importantly, compares distribution percentages to large urban, small urban, and rural areas under TEA- 21 and SAFETEA-LU. Additionally, this research utilized a survey and focus group of state DOT officials representing a broad range of states. This study found that a majority of state DOT representatives preferred the formula distribution under SAFETEA-LU or the consolidated program under MAP-21 over the discretionary funding model offered under TEA-21. This report also identifies the pros and cons of JARC administration under both TEA-21 and SAFETEA-LU.