Areas of Expertise
Financial Management

A critical element of grants management for Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grantees is financial management:  implementing and managing financial control systems, collecting financial data, analyzing financial reporting, and making sound financial decisions.  State DOTs and urbanized transit systems are regularly reviewed in this area by FTA as part of the State Management/Triennial Review process.  Section 5311 operators are reviewed in this area as part of the State compliance review process.  Further, FTA grantees have the dual responsibility of not only being fiscally responsible and accountable to FTA, but also to their local community, to be good stewards of their resources.  

RLS & Associates, Inc. has unequalled expertise in this area.  First, RLS senior staff were major contributors to the National Rural Technical Assistance Program’s (RTAP’s) and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)/Multi-State Technical Assistance Program’s (MTAP’s) collaborative effort,  “Fundamental Financial Management Training for Rural and Small Urban Public Transportation Providers.”  The course notebook and workshop materials developed for this training course were designed to focus more narrowly on several specific, yet fundamental, components of financial and grants management for Section 5311 grantees.  Major topic areas included development of goals and objectives, performance evaluation, service pricing, and reporting. RLS senior staff are instructors for this course, and also developed a modified version for Section 5310 grantees.  

RLS also provides related training and technical assistance in the area of fully allocated cost accounting and negotiating contract rates.  It is essential to the financial health of all public transit systems, in addition to being an FTA requirement, that they are properly costing out their services and recouping the fully allocated cost of all contracted services.  RLS has developed a fully allocated cost Excel spreadsheet application that is being used in several states to accomplish this task.  


Additionally, RLS senior staff have completed FTA’s State Management Review workshop, a review of the guidelines and requirements for FTA’s State/Triennial Reviews, including financial management.  Finally, RLS has conducted hundreds of compliance reviews of Section 5311 systems across the country and are proficient in assessing and evaluating financial management systems.