Transit Funding Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009: Key Decision Points and Leadership Challenges


This case study examines the leadership challenges and key decision points in designing and successfully implementing a system that ensured that stimulus money Congress designated under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) for use by public transit agencies was awarded and expended. Stimulus public transit aid was funded through the Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA), which, following its review of grant applications, requests certification from the Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) of the U.S. Department of Labor that the grantee transit agency has in place ―fair and equitable‖ protections for employees affected by the grant. By law, without OLMS certification the grants cannot be issued. Consequently, timely and correct certifications by OLMS were essential to ensuring that the stimulus money was used as intended by Congress and the President. Based on systems put in place by OLMS, 100% of transit grants were timely certified during the study period. This achievement also led to the development of improved methods and procedures that are still available for use in subsequent periods of heavy workload for non-ARRA public transit grants.

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