Proposal would require transit agencies to attain 'state of good repair'

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) last week proposed a law requiring public transportation agencies to monitor and manage their capital assets in order to achieve and maintain a state of good repair.

The proposed rule would define the term “state of good repair,” and require public transportation agencies to develop Transit Asset Management Plans, report new asset inventory and performance information to the National Transit Database, establish repair performance standard measures, and set corresponding performance targets.

Transit Asset Management Plans are designed to allow agencies to assess both inventory and their capital assets.

The regulation — required by Congress in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) and available for public comment through Nov. 30 — would help transit agencies strike a more informed balance between expansion and maintenance, with a desired outcome of providing agencies a comprehensive understanding of how the condition of capital assets affects systems’ safety and reliability.

According to acting FTA Administrator Therese McMillan, the current investment needed to rehabilitate the nation's aging transit infrastructure is an estimated $86 billion and growing. She cites insufficient funding combined with inadequate asset management as major contributors to the expanding backlog.

To address this need, the administration’s multi-year transportation funding bill, the GROW AMERICA Act, proposes a total of $7.6 billion in fiscal year 2016 to support FTA’s State of Good Repair efforts, coupled with incremental increases each fiscal year. Efficient asset management would be a strategic way for the industry to make targeted investments to maximize capital funds, McMillan said.

From urban networks to small rural operations, transit asset management is an industry best practice that can benefit the full spectrum of transit providers. The proposed rule would offer a way for all of America’s transit systems to be better maintained with more reliable equipment and infrastructure.

As transit ridership grows, the FTA emphasizes the need to keep service safe, dependable and functional.

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