The Federal Register – Do You Love the Small Print?

The Federal Register – Do You Love the Small Print?

I’ll tell you a secret, I love the Federal Register. It is the Daily Journal of the Federal Government and includes the nitty-gritty of Federal rules and grants for many areas, including transit. The official copy is still printed on very thin paper with a very small font, and is hard to read. It is much easier to use the un-official on-line version to clip articles and search for topics. The Federal Register holds the answer to many questions and is a resource you should get acquainted with or at least know how to search their site for hidden gems of wisdom. What is astonishing is that more transit agencies aren’t aware of the transit funding possibilities that are contained within the Register.

In my Experience, Research Yields Results

Early in my transit career I was responsible for a Midwestern rideshare program and used the Federal Register to find references (in the very small print) to carpooling, vanpooling and mobility management in grants that were geared to highways or fixed route agencies. In some cases, this research became the basis of supporting CMAQ requests to local governing bodies, in an attempt to secure more funding—most of the time it worked! What I’ve learned is that a little research goes a long way, and the information is free and out there for anyone to access.

An Example of What You Can Find

If you check out this page, you will see a notice regarding a proposed circular to assist recipients of financial aid as part of the State of Good Repair Grants program. This program is intended to address the maintenance, replacement and rehabilitation of capital assets (as well as to help with the implementation of an asset management plan.) If you read further down the page, you will see how the information provides insight into the grant application process and eligibility requirements. This attached PDF shows the commentary on the proposed circular and also provides some useful information for fixed route agencies. In very little time, it’s possible to uncover grant opportunities that can have a significant impact on a transit agency’s funding and future.

You Don’t Need a Transit Funding Department

The Federal Register is one tool to keep you informed and up-to-date on the daily movement of the Federal Government as it pertains to your area, agency focus and changes that may impact or provide opportunities to obtain transit funding or be more informed of changes to policy. While some transit agencies have a department entirely devoted to finding transit funding, others can still benefit from the information in the Register. You simply have to roll up your sleeves and start doing some online digging.

If you want more transit funding advice, contact me and I will be happy to answer your questions. And don’t forget to stay tuned for our upcoming webinar on Transit Funding, the second installment in our webinar series. In the meantime, start your search engines and go find the opportunities that are out there.