A Pace Paratransit driver assists a man with a walker in getting into the vehicle using a lift.

Section 5310

The Section 5310 Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities Program is a federal program that aims to improve mobility for seniors and individuals with disabilities by removing barriers to transportation service and expanding transportation mobility options. 

The Call for Projects is open from March 20, 2023 through April 21, 2023.
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How to apply

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The Call for Projects is currently open. The total funding available for FY2022 & FY2023 is $13,776,009. Applications must be received by the RTA no later than noon on April 21, 2023 via the online application form. You will receive a confirmation e-mail upon receipt of your submittal. Applicants are encouraged to directly consult with the appropriate Service Board(s) on proposed projects that could affect existing transit operations or transit facilities. If you have any questions regarding the program or developing your application, please contact Fluturi Demirovski at 312-913-3239 or at Details on the Section 5310 Program for Northeastern Illinois can be found in the Program Management Plan.

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Federal/Local Match Process

Applicants are required to provide a reasonable cost estimate for the project and demonstrate the ability to fund the project at the time of applying. An operating project, whether classified as a traditional Section 5310 project or not, must provide a 50% local funding match in accordance with the HSTP. Capital and mobility management projects require a 20% local match. All of the local match must be provided from sources other than Federal DOT funds. For examples of other potential federal sources of local match, please view the CCAM Federal Fund Braiding Guide. Examples of sources of local match that may be used include the following:

  • State or local appropriations
  • Other non-DOT Federal funds
  • Dedicated tax revenues
  • Private donations
  • Revenue from human service contracts
  • Net income generated from advertising and concessions

Farebox revenue may not be used as local match. Farebox revenue is considered income and is deducted from total operating cost to determine the net cost of the activity.


March 20, 2023

Call for Projects Released

April 21, 2023

Applications Due at Noon

May 25 or June 1

Applicant presentations to Project Selection Team

July 2023

Public Comment Period

August/September 2023

Presentation of Recommended Program of Projects (POP) to CMAP

September 2023

Recommended POP Presented to RTA Board

For more information or questions about the program, please contact Heather Mullins at (312) 913-3244 or For information on IDOT’s Section 5310 Consolidated Vehicle program, which selects and awards paratransit vehicles to eligible applicants, contact

Project Selection Process

All projects will be competitively selected through this open call for projects. Applications submitted will be reviewed by RTA staff for eligibility and then referred to a Project Selection Team (PST) for evaluation based on the criteria explained in this document. The PST is made up of staff from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), the RTA, Easter Seals and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP).  All applicants are required to provide a presentation on their proposed project and participate in a Q & A session with the Project Selection Team at one of two virtual meetings held on May 25 at 9:00 a.m. or June 1 at 9:00 a.m. RTA staff will be in contact with you to determine which meeting you will attend.

Upon completion of the project evaluations, a recommended Program of Projects will be released for a 30-day public comment period. Following the public comment period, the RTA Board will be presented the Program of Projects for approval.

Projects may be recommended for approval at a lesser funding amount and reduced scope than originally requested, in order to achieve a fair and equitable distribution of funding and support as many eligible projects as possible for the duration of the programming period (2 years). If the PST deems it necessary to reduce the project scale/scope in order to align the project with budgetary constraints, the PST will consult with the applicant. RTA staff may also contact the applicant to obtain clarification on the application as it deems necessary.

The Project Selection Team will evaluate the projects based on this criteria taking into account the application and presentation to the Project Selection Team.

Eligible Applicants and Projects

All applicants are encouraged to work with other interested parties that may use or be affected by proposed projects. Projects are evaluated, in part, on an applicant's demonstrated efforts to coordinate with other parties such as government agencies, transportation providers, and social service groups. Any coordination aspects of the project should be noted in the project description and evidenced through other appropriate documentation, such as partnership agreements and cooperative operational arrangements. Projects that do not demonstrate coordination will generally not be awarded, unless specific circumstances that prevent coordination (such as the need to transport agency clients with specific mobility assistance needs) are clearly outlined in the proposal.

Eligible subrecipients for Traditional Section 5310 Projects include:

  • Private nonprofit organization; or
  • State or local governmental authority that:
    • is approved by a state to coordinate services for seniors and individuals with disabilities; or
    • certifies that there are no nonprofit organizations readily available in the area to provide the service.

Eligible subrecipients for other eligible Section 5310 activities include:

  • a state or local governmental authority
  • a private nonprofit organization
  • an operator of public transportation that receives a Section 5310 grant indirectly through a recipient

In Northeastern Illinois, the RTA Service Boards (CTA, Metra, and Pace), as FTA Direct Recipients, are allowed to apply for and receive grants directly from the FTA. Once the RTA awards a Section 5310 grant to a Service Board, they can then apply directly to the FTA for those funds. All other applicants receiving an award through the RTA-administered program becomes a grant subrecipient of the RTA. Subrecipients must be able to certify and demonstrate the ability to meet federal requirements regarding these programs during the application process.

Eligible Projects

Note: Rolling stock is not considered eligible for consideration under RTA calls for projects. IDOT is responsible for project selection and the award of Section 5310 funded paratransit vehicles in Northeastern Illinois and the RTA is responsible for all other Section 5310 projects. IDOT, through its Consolidated Vehicle Program (CVP), selects and awards paratransit vehicles to eligible applicants. For information regarding CVP, please contact

Eligible projects include those that are planned, designed, and carried out to meet the special needs of seniors and individuals with disabilities when public transportation is insufficient, inappropriate, or unavailable. It may also be used for public transportation projects that exceed the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as amended (ADA) that improve access to fixed‐route service and decrease reliance by individuals with disabilities on complementary paratransit, and for alternatives to public transportation that assist seniors and individuals with disabilities.

No less than 55 percent of funds awarded for Northeastern Illinois by fiscal year must be obligated to “traditional” Section 5310 projects. Traditional projects are those public transportation projects planned, designed, and carried out to meet the special needs of seniors and individuals with disabilities when public transportation is insufficient, unavailable, or inappropriate.

In order for a project to receive funding from the traditional category of funds, it must be a capital project related to 5310-funded vehicles and the sub-recipient must either be a non-profit agency or a local unit of government that certifies no non-profit organizations are readily available in the area to provide services. An operating project may also be funded from the traditional category of funds, provided the service is implemented by a non-profit agency, which contracts out services to a third party.

Previously RTA funded projects include coordinated paratransit services, volunteer driver program, expansion of an existing service, and general public demand responsive paratransit service. A complete list of previously funded Section 5310 subrecipients and project descriptions are available on RTAMS.

Detailed guidance regarding eligible projects from FTA on the Section 5310 Program can be found in the most recent Section 5310 Program Circular 9070.1G.

Project Management and Reporting Requirements

The RTA, as the designated recipient of Section 5310 funding, is responsible for overseeing and administering the Section 5310 Program in Northeastern Illinois. Section 5310 subrecipients must have the staffing capability to manage the project and comply with reporting requirements for the Section 5310 Program. Reporting shall be required throughout the duration of the active project. Subrecipients are responsible for submitting quarterly reports to the RTA, in addition to any other reports as may be required. RTA will provide the reporting forms to the Section 5310 subrecipients. Reports submitted must be accurate, complete, and timely. Subrecipients will also be required to submit monthly invoices for reimbursement in a timely manner. RTA staff will also conduct on-site compliance reviews at the beginning of the project and every three years thereafter.

The RTA encourages applicants to apply for mobility management funding to staff a Mobility Manager position to lead administration of individual projects. This funding can be used to fund a staff position that is responsible for administering the program (partner coordination, invoice preparation and submittal, reporting preparation and submittal) and can be the main point of contact for RTA staff. Mobility management is funded at 80 /20 (80% federal, 20% local).

Failure to comply with federal requirements may affect future funding and result in the loss of approved funding.

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