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Jan 20 -- The Federal Transit Administration, Department of Transportation, invites comments to OMB by February 21, 2023 regarding data collection for the National Transit Asset Management (TAM) System.

Transit Asset Management (TAM) is a business model that prioritizes funding based on the condition of transit assets to achieve and maintain a state of good repair for the nation's public transportation assets. The TAM program enables transit agencies to implement strategic approaches to monitoring, maintaining, and replacing transit assets. Federal requirements for transit asset management applies to all recipients and sub-recipients of Chapter 53 funds that own, operate, or manage public transportation capital assets. It is a framework for transit agencies to monitor and manage public transportation assets, improve safety, increase reliability and performance, and establish performance measures in order to help agencies keep their systems operating smoothly and efficiently. FTA's TAM rule requires transit agencies to develop a compliant TAM plan, set performance targets for capital assets, create data and narrative reports on performance measures, and coordinate with their planning partners. Transit agencies are required to submit their performance measures and targets to the National Transit Database.

Respondents: All recipients and sub-recipients of Chapter 53 funds that own, operate, or manage public transportation capital assets.
 
This program requires FTA grantees to develop management plans for their public transportation assets, including vehicles, facilities, equipment, and other infrastructure. The Transit Asset Management (TAM) asks transit agencies to develop a strategic approach to maintain and improve capital assets. Every FTA-supported transit provider is required to develop a compliant TAM plan, set performance targets for capital assets, create data and narrative reports on performance measures, and coordinate with their planning partners. TAM was established under Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) and reauthorized by the (FAST) Act. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, enacted as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) continued TAM, without changes and is intended to close the gap on aging and poorly maintained transit assets.

Critical to the safety and performance of a public transportation system is the condition of its capital assets—most notably, a system’s equipment, rolling stock, infrastructure, and facilities. When transit systems are not in a state of good repair, the consequences include increased safety risks, decreased system reliability, higher maintenance costs, and overall lower system performance. Insufficient funding combined with inadequate asset management practices have contributed to an estimated $105.1 billion transit state of good repair (SGR) backlog—a value derived from FTA’s Transit Economic Requirements Model (TERM) Scale and representative of the reinvestment cost to improve transit asset conditions to the midpoint of its 1(poor) to 5 (excellent) scale. Furthermore, FTA estimates that an additional $6.5 billion per year above current funding levels from all levels of government is needed just to prevent the SGR backlog from growing.

It is unlikely that the Nation’s state of good repair (SGR) backlog can be addressed through increased spending alone. Rather, a systematic approach is needed to ensure that existing funding resources are strategically managed to target the SGR backlog.

The National Transit Asset Management (TAM) System is in accordance with section 20019 of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act codified at 49 U.S.C.5326 (section 5326) and reiterated in both the FAST Act.  The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, continued, without change, FTA’s Transit Asset Management (TAM) program.  The National TAM System must include the following: a definition of the term “state of good repair”; a requirement that all recipients and sub-recipients under Chapter 53 develop a TAM Plan, which would include an asset inventory, an assessment of the condition of those assets, decision support tools, and investment prioritization; annual reporting requirements; and technical  assistance provided by FTA to recipients, including an analytical process or decision support tool that allows for the estimation of capital asset needs and assists with investment prioritization. In addition, 49 CFR 625 (TAM Final Rule) established four SGR performance measures, and recipients are required to set performance targets based on those measures. Furthermore, each recipient is required to submit an annual report to the National Transit Database (NTD) on the condition of their public transportation systems and include a description of any change in condition since the last report and its progress towards meeting performance targets established during that fiscal year and a description of the recipients’ performance targets for the subsequent fiscal year.   
 
The primary users of the information will be FTA and the transit providers (FTA grant recipients and sub-recipients). The same two groups of transit providers will be providing information; Tier I provider means a recipient that owns, operates, or manages either (1) one hundred and one (101) or more vehicles in revenue service during peak regular service across all fixed route modes or in any one non-fixed route mode, or (2) rail transit, and Tier II provider means a recipient that owns, operates, or manages (1) one hundred (100) or fewer vehicles in revenue service during peak regular service across all non-rail fixed route modes or in any one non-fixed route mode, (2) a subrecipient under the 5311 Rural Area Formula Program, (3) or any American Indian tribe.  The information developed will be used in decision support tools that will assist transit providers to evaluate the current condition of their assets, project future asset condition, and prioritize investment to meet targets and improve the state of good repair of their capital assets.   

The TAM Plan, which must be updated at least every four years, will help agencies to identify and prioritize investments to efficiently manage their assets, as well as assess risks that may impact safety and operational performance. The annual data progress report will help each transit provider assess the progress made towards achieving the target set previously, and identify factors which may have contributed towards their failure to achieve the target. This also will help them to identify factors that contribute to achieving the performance targets, resulting in an improved understanding of the actions and outcomes. In addition, the TAM Plan and the narrative reports can be used by transit providers to inform the public and State legislators of the providers’ plans and progress towards the performance targets. This will increase transparency and accountability of the use of public funds. The annual narrative report will inform FTA on the outcomes of implementing a TAM System and provide insights into what issues still need to be addressed to achieve a state of good repair for the Nation’s transit assets.    
 
TAM System: https://www.transit.dot.gov/TAM
TERM: https://www.transit.dot.gov/TAM/TERMLite-and-Federal
FTA submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202301-2132-003 Click IC List for information collection instrument, View Supporting Statement for technical documentation. Submit comments through this webpage.
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-01098

For AEA members wishing to submit comments, "A Primer on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections" is available at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806

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