(a) Eligible applicants.--
(1) The following may apply for financial assistance for improvement, replacement or expansion of capital projects under this section:
(i) A local transportation organization.
(ii) An agency or instrumentality of the Commonwealth.
(iii) A person responsible for coordinating community transportation program services.
(iv) Any other person the department deems to be eligible.
(2) The department shall develop and maintain four-year and 12-year plans that summarize the capital projects and financial assistance commitments for each applicant. The department may enter into multiyear agreements to provide financial assistance for capital projects based upon cash flow and revenue projections for the fund. Each capital project shall be based on the plan developed by the department.
(b) Applications.--In addition to information required under section 1507 (relating to application and approval process), an application for financial assistance under this section shall include the following:
(1) Evidence satisfactory to the department that the proposed capital project is included in the first year of the applicant's four-year capital plan and its federally approved transportation improvement program.
(2) If an applicant is requesting financial assistance for replacement of a capital project, evidence satisfactory to the department that the capital project to be replaced has exceeded the useful life criteria as defined by the department. At its discretion, the department may approve funding to replace a capital project that does not exceed the useful life criteria if the applicant provides documentation acceptable to the department to justify the early replacement of the capital project.
(3) If the applicant is requesting financial assistance for expansion of a capital project, evidence satisfactory to the department that the applicant will have sufficient future annual operating funds to support the proposed expansion.
(4) Any other information required by the department, including a return on investment analysis or a life cycle cost analysis, or both.
(c) Local match requirements.--
(1) Financial assistance under this section shall be matched by local or private cash funding in an amount not less than 3.33% of the amount of the financial assistance being provided. The source of funds for the local match shall be subject to the requirements of section 1513(d)(3) (relating to operating program).
(2) The secretary may waive up to 75% of the local match required under paragraph (1) upon the written request of an applicant accompanied by the applicant's justification for the waiver.
(d) Conditions for receipt of bond funding.--Financial assistance that is funded by proceeds of Commonwealth capital bonds may be provided to an applicant if all of the following conditions are met:
(1) The applicant's capital project has been authorized by a capital budget project itemization act.
(2) The applicant's capital project was included in the department's approved annual release request approving the use of the funds for the proposed capital project in the fiscal year in which the funds are expected to be expended.
(3) The department has approved the underlying application for the capital project.
(e) Priorities.--The award of financial assistance under this section shall be subject to the following set of priorities in descending order of significance unless a compelling return on investment analysis for a project in a lower category is provided to and approved by the department:
(1) Requests for funds required to support existing local bond issues currently supported with State revenue sources, such as debt service and asset leases. The Commonwealth pledges to and agrees with any person, firm or corporation holding any bonds previously issued by, or any other debt incurred by, a local transportation organization and secured in whole or part by a pledge of the funds provided to the local transportation organization from the fund that the Commonwealth will not limit or alter rights vested in a local transportation organization in any manner inconsistent with obligations of the local transportation organization to the obligees of the local transportation organization until all bonds previously issued or other debt incurred, together with the interest thereon, is fully paid or provided for.
(2) Requests for funds required to match federally approved capital projects funded under 49 U.S.C. §§ 5307 (relating to urbanized area formula grants) and 5309 (relating to capital investment grants and loans) and other federally approved capital projects.
(3) Other non-Federal capital projects as determined by the department, which shall be further subject to the following set of priorities in descending order of significance:
(i) Essential emergency asset improvement projects.
(ii) Standard replacement of existing assets that have exceeded their useful life.
(iii) Asset improvement projects to extend the useful life of the affected assets.
(iv) Acquisition of new assets and other acceptable purposes, other than projects to be funded under the new initiatives program described in section 1515 (relating to new initiatives program), as determined by the department.
(e.1) Distribution.--The department shall allocate financial assistance under this section on a percentage basis of available funds each fiscal year as follows:
(1) The local transportation organization organized and existing under Chapter 17 (relating to metropolitan transportation authorities) as the primary provider of public passenger transportation for the counties of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia shall receive 69.4% of the funds available for distribution under this section.
(2) The local transportation organization organized and existing under the act of April 6, 1956 (1955 P.L. 1414, No. 465), 1 known as the Second Class County Port Authority Act, as the primary provider of public transportation for the county of Allegheny shall receive 22.6% of the funds available for distribution under this section.
(3) Other local transportation organizations organized and existing as the primary providers of public passenger transportation for the counties of this Commonwealth not identified under paragraph (1) or (2) shall receive 8% of the funds available for distribution under this section. The department shall allocate the funds under this paragraph among the local transportation organizations.
(4) Notwithstanding paragraphs (1), (2) and (3) and before distributing the funds under paragraph (1), (2) or (3), the department shall set aside 5% of the funds available for distribution under this section for discretionary use and distribution by the secretary.
(f) Bonding by award recipients.--With the approval of the department, an award recipient that is permitted by law to issue bonds may do so for the purpose of financing a multiyear capital project. The department shall enter into an agreement with the award recipient providing that payments of the awarded funds sufficient to satisfy requirements of the bonds issued be made directly to the trustee of the bondholders until such time as the bonds are retired.
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