By Chris Zeilinger

How the INVEST in America Act Would Amend Charter Bus Service

June 15, 2020

The INVEST in America Act would amend FTA’s statutory restrictions on grantees’ performance of charter bus service in several ways. In case anyone needs a reference to current law, the charter service restrictions are found at 49 USC 5323(d). The INVEST in America Act’s proposed revisions to that section of statute is found at Section 2103.

Here’s a more detailed take on the INVEST Act’s amendments to the charter statute:

  • By striking “urban” in Section 5323(d)(1) and replacing that word with “urbanized,” rural transit would become completely exempted from the charter service restrictions.
  • By striking “operator can provide” in Section 5323(d)(1) and replacing that phrase with “operator provides,” only those private sector operators physically and operationally in a position to provide charter bus service would have the position to do so. That’s a change from current law, under which a private operator anywhere in the country can block a transit entity anywhere else from carrying out charter service, even if that private operator has no ability or interest in performing the service.
  • The addition of an exception at the Act’s proposed new subsection 5323(d)(3)(A) would ensure that services provided under a transit agency’s receipt and use of social service contract revenue to match their FTA assistance are not considered charter service. Current regulation provides a somewhat similar exception, but in a more stringent fashion.
  • The addition of an exception at the Act’s proposed new subsection 5323(d)(3)(B) provides a statutory exclusion from these rules for entities whose only receipt of FTA funds is through Section 5310. That practice long has been the case, but has never before been codified in statute.
  • The addition of an exception at the Act’s proposed new subsection 5323(d)(3)(C) provides a limited statutory exclusion from these rules when an FTA recipient is providing limited-term fixed-route transit service that’s open to the public and contracted by a government entity that is helping provide the transit agency’s non-federal matching funds. A somewhat similar opportunity is available under current rules, but isn’t as automatically conferred.

CTAA was proud to work with the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to include these crucial amendments into the INVEST in America Act.


The Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) and its members believe that mobility is a basic human right. From work and education to life-sustaining health care and human services programs to shopping and visiting with family and friends, mobility directly impacts quality of life.