Rural Transportation Assistance Program

The Rural Transportation Assistance Program (RTAP) provides funding from the Federal Transit Administration 5311(b)(3) program to assist with design and implementation of training and technical assistance projects and other support services for transportation operators in non-urbanized areas. Rural public transportation operators receive training and technical assistance through the program.

State Rural Transportation Assistance Program Training and Technical Assistance

WSDOT’s Public Transportation Division provides resources for training and technical assistance to rural transportation providers through the Rural Transportation Assistance Program.

Training

Training courses for rural transportation providers are currently developed and facilitated by WSDOT, Washington State Transit Insurance Pool, Community Transportation Association Northwest, and Washington State Transit Association.

The WSDOT Public Transportation Division directly provides training to agencies and organizations that are interested in applying for state and federal   grants, managing their WSDOT grant, and more.

Technical assistance

Types of the technical assistance WSDOT provides include but are not limited to:

  • Researching and answering specific subject matter questions.
  • Interpreting policy guidelines and providing policy templates.
  • Providing on-site or virtual presentations on a variety of topics and issues.

Peer review program

This Rural Transportation Assistance Program is available to all rural transportation providers in Washington state. Funds may be available to cover the cost incurred by the rural agency for the peer review. Potential recommendations during the review could relate to safety and training, maintenance shop efficiency, or revisions to the organizational chart and job descriptions. The peer review can focus on the entire agency or one element of an agency. A rural agency initiates the request, which includes a specific problem statement, for a peer review by the Public Transportation Division.

Rural transportation scholarships

We administer Rural Transportation Assistance Program scholarships to help cover registration and travel expenses for training courses, workshops and conferences for rural transportation providers. Refer to the RTAP scholarship application form for more information about the scholarship program. Use the RTAP scholarship application form (pdf 156 kb).

Eligibility for a Rural Transportation Assistance Program training scholarship

Eligibility requires the following:

  • Rural Washington transit agency (not urban or small urban agency), rural Washington tribe or Washington non-profit special needs transportation and mobility management provider serving rural areas
  • Training or conference must benefit your agency by supporting grant compliance, increasing knowledge of best practices and peer resources, or improving efficiency/effectiveness of operations.
  • Organization has a financial need for assistance.
  • Application for a scholarship must be signed by an executive officer of the agency and received by WSDOT at least 30 days prior to the event.
  • Copy of an approved WSDOT expense worksheet signed by WSDOT prior to training.

The Rural Transportation Assistance Program manager reviews each application and awards the scholarships based on the following criteria:

  • Justification for financial need and anticipated value to the agency, and relevance of training to your responsibilities at your agency.
  • Award limitations:
    • Maximum of 10 scholarships to any one agency per fiscal year.
    • Maximum of two individuals from a single agency per training opportunity.
  • Availability of funds in the scholarship program budget.

Exceptions to these limits and maximum funding are at the discretion of the Rural Transportation Assistance Program manager and must be applied for in writing at the time the scholarships are requested.

Training scholarship qualifications for reimbursement

We will provide scholarships to reimburse the traveler or agency for the following expenses:

  • In-state training or conference registration/tuition. (Note: Out-of-state requests are considered on a case-by-case basis and in coordination with your regional community liaison.)
  • Travel costs, such as airfare, mileage (calculated at state rate from residence or workstation, whichever is closer), parking, ferry or toll fare, and ground transportation such as taxi or bus fare.
  • Government-rate accommodation (rate plus taxes and fees).

However, scholarships may not be used for meal reimbursement.

Available funding

The Rural Transportation Assistance Program will reimburse for approved scholarships based upon these guidelines:

  • Eligible costs up to $600 are reimbursed at 100 percent.
  • Costs beyond $600 will be reimbursed at 50 percent up to a total award of $1,000.
  • Total reimbursement will not exceed $1,000 per scholarship. All costs beyond that are the responsibility of the recipient's agency/organization.

More information

We publish the quarterly RTAP Spotlights newsletter (1.7mb) that includes current information, training opportunities and calendar of events.

If you have additional questions or need assistance, contact Marianna Hanefeld at marianna.hanefeld@wsdot.wa.gov or 425-777-0557.