TRANSIT: FTA proposes required levels of good repair for all public transportation agencies

Management of capital assets seen as significant aspect of proposal

October 02, 2015

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has issued a proposed rule that would require public transportation agencies to monitor and manage capital assets in effort to achieve and maintain an overall state of good repair.

The proposed rule would require public transportation agencies to develop a Transit Asset Management (TAM) Plan that determines the condition of its capital assets, including respective systems’ equipment, rolling stock, infrastructure and facilities. The rule offers a two-tiered approach to the TAM Plan requirement—small transit providers operating 100 or fewer vehicles in revenue service and no rail fixed-guideway service and all subrecipients under the Rural Area Formula Program would be allowed to participate in a Group TAM Plan that would be developed by a state or other direct recipient of FTA funding.

The proposed rule would also define the term "state of good repair," establish state of good repair performance measures and place the onus on transit agencies to set performance targets based on those measures, which can then be used to prioritize limited capital investment funding. In addition, transit agencies would be required to report new information to the National Transit Database.

"Transit ridership is rising, public transportation equipment and infrastructure are aging, and there is a growing backlog of transit-related capital maintenance needs with limited funding available," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "Better and more efficient management of transit assets is a smart way to get more from our investments while ensuring we maintain the safe, reliable and accessible transit service the American public deserves."

The goal of prioritizing the maintenance and repair needs of transit vehicles and associated infrastructure is to lower costs, increase reliability and performance, reduce travel delays (notably in dense urban corridors) and promote general safety improvements.

"Strategic and targeted investments to replace and rehabilitate aging transit infrastructure are needed to bring the nation's bus and rail systems into a state of good repair," said FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillan. "Given the diversity of transit systems, from complex urban networks to small operators in rural communities, the proposed rule offers a flexible approach for public transportation providers to better manage and maintain their assets."