New RTAP managers often begin with little guidance about how to maintain and expand the current program, while making sure that they and subrecipients remain in federal compliance. This is a list of suggested steps to take to more quickly understand the RTAP program’s current state, and where to go from there.
- Inventory the documentation left by the previous RTAP manager. What systems and programs did they have in place?
- If parts of the program are outsourced, go over the contract(s) with the contractor(s) to make sure you understand what you and they are responsible for
- Read the RTAP section of the 5311 Program Circular.
- Visit nationalrtap.org, especially the State RTAP Programs section.
- Find out from colleagues in your DOT department what the previous manager did.
- Check in with the finance team in your department to understand the RTAP allotments and current status of funds in case there is a situation you need to address quickly.
- Get in touch with your subrecipients, either through email or a hard-copy letter, introducing yourself.
- Is there an RTAP advisory board already in place? Have a meeting with them to find out the state of the program, future goals, and as a general introduction.
- If there is no advisory board, call or visit a sample of subrecipients to find out their thoughts on the RTAP program and what they are hoping for in the future.
- Visit subrecipients as much as possible as you are getting to know them—this is the number one best practice cited by many RTAP managers.
- Do a survey of all subrecipients electronically to collect preliminary information from them, if this has not been done before.
- Have a question? Call another RTAP manager, get in touch with National RTAP to connect you with a peer, or use the National RTAP State RTAP Managers' Forum.
- Use National RTAP resources and web apps to enhance outreach in your program.
Setting Program Priorities and Implementing New RTAP Elements
- Discuss priorities with other colleagues in your section of the DOT, advisory board, and consult the annual work plan.
- New scholarship program: First, write scholarship policy, then let subrecipients know this is an option.
- New training components: Find out what training is needed, decide how training will be offered, who may already be offering it, and issue RFP for a contractor if needed. Know about National RTAP materials and encourage your subrecipients to use them. They are the basis of many training classes across the US. Search the Directory of Trainers.
- New conference or roadeo: Work with an established organization, like your state transit association, to make the process easier and less time-consuming.