Lifeline Transportation Program

The Lifeline Transportation Program (LTP) was established by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) to improve mobility for low-income communities, and it is one of the few instances where NVTA has the ability to program funds for operating purposes.

The LTP grant program is intended to address gaps and/or barriers in transportation for low-income communities, and to improve the range of travel choices available to the people of those communities. Projects are developed through a collaborative and open planning process, and must be drawn from available Community-Based Transportation Plans, countywide or regional Welfare to Work Plans, or otherwise documented assessment of needs within communities of concern.

Eligible Applicants

Public agencies, county social service agencies, cities and counties, and non-profit organizations are eligible applicants. However, since Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Section 5307 funds are all statutorily restricted to eligible public transit agencies, applicants must partner with NVTA to access the revenues. Additional information on FTA Section 5307 Fund requirements can be located HERE.

Program Goals

The Lifeline Transportation Program is intended to fund projects that result in improved mobility for low-income residents of the nine San Francisco Bay Area counties, and are expected to carry out the following regional Lifeline Program goals:

The Lifeline Program supports community-based transportation projects that:

  • Are developed through a collaborative and inclusive planning process that includes broad partnerships among a variety of stakeholders such as public agencies, transit operators, community-based organizations and other community stakeholders, and outreach to underrepresented stakeholders.
  • Improve a range of transportation choices by adding a variety of new or expanded services including but not limited to: enhanced fixed route transit services, shuttles, taxi voucher programs, and capital improvement projects.
  • Address transportation gaps and/or barriers identified in Community-Based Transportation Plans (CBTP) or other substantive local planning efforts involving focused outreach to low-income populations. While preference will be given to community-based plan priorities, strategies emerging from countywide or regional welfare-to-work transportation plans, the Coordinated Public Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan or other documented assessment of need within the designated communities of concern will also be considered. Findings emerging from one or more CBTPs or other relevant planning efforts may also be applied to other low-income areas, or otherwise be directed to serve low-income constituencies within the county, as applicable.
  • Transportation needs specific to elderly and disabled residents of low-income communities may also be considered when funding projects. Existing transportation services may also be eligible for funding.

Program Administration

The Lifeline Program are administered by county congestion management agencies (CMAs) or other designated county-wide agencies, or Lifeline Program Administrators, as follows:


Lifeline Program Administrator


Alameda County Transportation Commission

Contra Costa

Contra Costa Transportation Authority


Transportation Authority of Marin


Napa Valley Transportation Authority

San Francisco

San Francisco County Transportation Authority

San Mateo

City/County Association of Governments

Santa Clara

Santa Clara County Valley Transportation Authority and Santa Clara County


Solano Transportation Authority


Sonoma County Transportation Authority


Funding Sources

The Lifeline Transportation Program Cycle 6 is funded with FTA Section 5307 Funds.  Projects must meet eligibility requirements of the funding sources in order to receive funds.

Cycle 6 Program Guidance

Lifeline Transportation Program Cycle 6 Guidance can be located HERE.

Match Requirement

The Lifeline Program requires a minimum local match of 20% of the total project cost; new Lifeline Transportation Program funds may cover a maximum of 80% of the total project cost.

There are two exceptions to the 20% match requirement.

(1) FTA Section 5307 operating projects require a 50% match.

(2) All auto-related projects require a 50% match.

Project sponsors may use federal or local funding sources (Transportation Development Act, operator controlled State Transit Assistance, local sales tax revenue, etc.) to meet the match requirement. The match may include a non-cash component such as donations, volunteer services, or in-kind contributions as long as the value of each is documented and supported, represents a cost that would otherwise be eligible under the program and is included in the net project costs in the project budget.

Eligible Use of Program Funds

Lifeline Transportation Program funds are intended to fund innovative and flexible programs that address transportation barriers that low-income residents in the region face, many of whom are transit dependent. Therefore, it is expected that LTP funds be directed to meet these needs by funding new programs or services, or to continue existing programs that are otherwise at risk of being discontinued. The project must supplement, not supplant, existing funds. The project must not duplicate existing services, must coordinate with existing services to the extent feasible and demonstrate that no other funding sources are available to fund it.

Grant Funding Period

Projects may be funded for up to three years. Project sponsors must complete projects by FY2023-24

Grant Funding Amounts

$156,657 in revenue is available for programing in LTP Cycle 6.  Project sponsors must clearly identify the funding match for each year of the project period when applying for funding.

Link to Community-based Planning

Preference will be given to projects identified in Community-Based Transportation Plans (CBTP) and located within the communities in which the plans were completed. While preference will be given to CBTP priorities, strategies emerging from countywide or regional welfare-to-work transportation plans, the Coordinated Public Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan or other documented assessment of need within the designated communities of concern will also be considered. Findings emerging from one or more CBTPs or other relevant planning efforts may also be applied to other low-income areas, or otherwise be directed to serve low-income constituencies within the county, as applicable.

Project Performance/Monitoring

Project applicants are responsible for identifying performance measures to track the effectiveness of the service in meeting the identified goals. At a minimum, performance measures for service related projects would include: documentation of new “units” of service provided with the funding (e.g. number of trips, service hours, workshops held, car loans provided, etc.), cost per unit of service, and a quantitative summary of service delivery procedures employed for the project. For capital-related projects, project sponsor is responsible to establish milestones and report on the status of project delivery.

Applicants should describe a plan for ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the service, as well as steps to be taken if original goals are not achieved. Project sponsors receiving JARC funds are subject to program reporting requirements as defined in those program guidelines.

Letter of Interest Submittal

To ensure a streamlined process for project sponsors throughout Napa County, Letters of Interest for project funding must be submitted no later than Monday, July 6 to NVTA. 

Program Review and Evaluation Process

Lifeline Program Administrators are responsible for determining whether proposals meet the minimum Lifeline Program eligibility criteria (whether eligible fiscal agents are identified, and whether projects meet fund source eligibility requirements) and assigning appropriate fund sources to each project.

Lifeline Program Administrators will evaluate all eligible proposals.  Project evaluations and selection will be based on the criteria described below. Efforts will be made to avoid a conflict of interest, or the appearance of a conflict of interest, in selecting projects.

Project Selection Criteria:

  1. Community-identified priority/ local support
  2. Implementation plan/project readiness
  3. Ability to provide required match
  4. Accountability and Reporting
  5. Cost effectiveness
  6. Project budget/sustainability
  7. Past performance/project delivery

Additional criteria may be added to a county program but should not replace or supplant the regional criteria. MTC staff will review the proposed county program criteria to ensure consistency and to facilitate coordination among county programs.

Based on the evaluation criteria, and funding availability as assigned by county, Lifeline Program Administrators will make funding recommendations to their respective policy boards for approval, and will then submit the list of recommended projects to MTC.

MTC will confirm that projects meet fund source eligibility requirements, and will allocate funds to each project by including submitted projects in a Program of Projects for the Commission’s approval.

Grant Award and Receipt of Funds

Following project award and prior to receipt of funds, project sponsors must submit a resolution of local support to MTC committing to project delivery, as well as providing the required local matching funds.

Transit operators and eligible cities and counties can initiate claims immediately following MTC approval of program of projects for current fiscal year funds.

For other entities, NVTA will initiate a funding agreement following MTC approval of program of projects. Funds will be available on a reimbursement basis following execution of the agreement.


Lifeline Cycle 5 Program of Project

  • Imola Park and Ride Improvements

Lifeline Cycle 4 Program of Project

  • Operating Assistance  - Vine Transit
  • CAD/AVL -Vine Transit

Lifeline Cycle 3 Program of Projects

  • Paratransit Vehicles- Purchase three (3) Vine Go paratransit vans to allow more appointments to be made and increase the efficiency of paratransit services. The project will give more mobility options to low-income residents with disabilities.
  • Replacement Buses for American Canyon- Purchase two (2) replacement buses for American Canyon. New buses will improve the efficiency of the system and improve on-time performance.
  • Napa Valley College Northbound Shelter- Create a shelter to serve Vine routes heading northbound along James Diemer Drive. Currently northbound and southbound buses use the same stop located on the west side of the street. The northbound stop will create more convenient loading and offloading of passengers, an easier route to negotiate for the drivers, and improve the on-time performance of the Vine routes serving the college.
  • Operating Assistance for new Vine Routes- Improve and expand service within the City of Napa. The new routes will address numerous issues listed in the community-based transportation plan, specifically improving travel times, connectivity between routes, frequency of buses, on-time performance, and a pulse system.
  • Community Based Transportation Plan Update- Update Napa’s community-based transportation plan.
  • ADA Bus Stop Upgrades- ADA and accessibility improvements at bus stops that are used on a frequent basis.