Formula Grants for Rural Areas


Additional Links

Fact Sheet
Federal Transit Administration Circular


Applications accepted on an ongoing basis


Federal Transit Administration (FTA)


Grants funds to states and tribes to assist with supporting, maintaining, and expanding upon current public transit services in rural communities. States provide capital and operating funds to fulfill transportation needs in rural and tribal areas.

The Formula Grants for Rural Areas Program consists of 2 programs:

  • Rural Areas Formula Program
  • Public Transportation on Indian Reservations Program (Tribal Transit Program)

Eligible projects for both the Rural Areas Formula Program and the Tribal Transit Program can include planning, operating, and capital expenses for:

  • Buses
  • Communications equipment
  • Construction or rehabilitation of transportation facilities
  • Preventive maintenance
  • Transit facilities
  • Development plans for transportation projects
  • Job access and reverse commute projects

The Tribal Transit Program consists of both a discretionary and a formula grant program. For information on the competitive grant program, see the Public Transportation on Indian Reservations Program (Tribal Transit Program).

Amount of Funding

Project period: Funds remain available for 3 federal fiscal years
Estimated total program funding: $797,000,000

Applicants must provide matching funds for a portion of the project. Generally, a capital project award may not exceed 80% of the total project costs. Exceptions include certain projects related to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), Clean Air Act (CAA), and some bicycle projects. For operating assistance, the required local match is 50%.

For program specific matching requirements and additional funding information, see the Section 5311 Program Circular.

Who Can Apply

Eligible Rural Areas Formula Program recipients who can receive funding directly include:

  • States

Eligible subrecipients include:

  • State and local governmental authorities
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Operators of public transportation services

Eligible Tribal Transit Program recipients include federally recognized Indian tribes or Alaska Native villages, groups, or communities as identified by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), U.S. Department of the Interior.

Rural is defined by the FTA as a region with a population below 50,000 that the Secretary of Commerce has not designated as an urbanized area in the latest decennial census.

Geographic Coverage


What This Program Funds

Buildings and Facilities • Capacity Building • Equipment • New Program • Operating Costs and Staffing

Application Process

Application instructions, requirements, and other information for formula awards can be found in Appendix A of the Section 5311 Program Circular.

Updates to the program circular can be accessed in the Federal Register.


For programmatic questions:
FTA Office of Program Management

Federal Transit Administration Regional Offices

Topics This Program Addresses

American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians • Infrastructure • Transportation