(1) To be eligible for funding on or after January 1, 2010, any organization applying for state paratransit/special needs grants, as described in section 223(1), chapter 121, Laws of 2008, or for other funding provided for persons with special transportation needs, as defined in *RCW 47.06B.012
, must include in its application, in addition to meeting other eligibility requirements provided in law, an explanation of how the requested funding will advance efficiencies in, accessibility to, or coordination of transportation services provided to persons with special transportation needs as defined in *RCW 47.06B.012
(2) Unless otherwise required by law, in administering federal funding provided for special needs transportation purposes, including funding under SAFETEA-LU, the safe, accountable, flexible, efficient transportation equity act, P.L. 109-59, or its successor, the department shall give priority to projects that result in increased efficiencies in special needs transportation or improved coordination among special needs transportation service providers.
(3) In making final grant award determinations under subsection (1) of this section, the department shall seek input from the agency council on coordinated transportation, as provided in *chapter 47.06B
RCW, and shall give substantial deference to applications recommended by the council.