8 Essentials of MAP-21

Posted on August 17, 2012 by Alex Roman, Managing Editor

Page 4 of 4

7. Public Transportation Safety Program
Included in the report is a negotiated compromise between Senate and House transit safety proposals. The provision grants authority to the Secretary to create a national safety plan for all modes of public transportation; to set minimum safety performance standards for all rolling stock not otherwise regulated; and to establish a national safety certification training program for federal and state employees, or other designated personnel, who conduct safety audits and examinations of public transportation systems and employees of public transportation agencies directly responsible for safety oversight.

Under this provision, all recipients of federal transit funding are required to establish, and have certified, a comprehensive safety plan based on set criteria. Those states with rail fixed-guideway systems are required to have an approved state safety oversight program that establishes a state safety oversight agency, which assumes oversight-related responsibilities

A formula grant funding program for up to 80% in federal match dollars to develop and carry out state safety oversight programs has been authorized. The state safety oversight agencies are required, among other things, to review, approve, oversee and enforce implementation of transit agency safety plans, to conduct triennial safety audits, and to provide annual safety status reports to the FTA and others. While transit agency safety oversight will be carried out by the state safety oversight entities, the Secretary will oversee implementation by those state safety oversight entities and has the authority to audit their activities. In the event that a recipient is found to be noncompliant with safety requirements, the Secretary may withhold federal funding or require up to 100% of federal funds be used for corrective safety actions. In the event that a state safety oversight agency is found to be noncompliant, the Secretary is granted a range of options, including but not limited to issuing directives, requiring more frequent oversight, and/or withholding federal funds.

Additionally, a waiver provision for agencies not exceeding a set amount of miles or unlinked passenger trips as well as a provision allowing multi-state systems to establish a joint oversight entity was also authorized.

8. State of Good Repair Grant Program
MAP-21 creates a new “State of Good Repair” grant program that would replace the current Fixed Guideway Modernization program. The new program would distribute $2.1 billion in each of fiscal years 2013 and 2014 to fixed-guideway systems that use and occupy a separate right-of-way for exclusive public transportation use, rail systems, fixed catenary systems, passenger ferries and BRT systems.

Funding could be used for a variety of activities, and recipients would be required to develop asset management systems that include capital asset inventories and condition assessments, decision support tools and investment priorities. The bill would apportion 50% of the total based on factors used in the rail tier of the urban formula program in effect for FY 2011, under which 60% is distributed on revenue vehicle miles and 40% on fixed guideway route miles. It would apportion the other 50% of funds under a formula that distributes 60% of funds based on vehicle revenue miles and 40% on fixed-guideway directional route miles. In all cases, only those segments in revenue service for at least seven years would be eligible for funding.

The measure also authorizes $60.9 million in FY 2013 and $61.7 million in FY 2014 for a “High Intensity Motorbus State of Good Repair” program. Funds would be distributed 60% on the basis of vehicle revenue miles and 40% on the basis of directional route miles. This program would provide funding for public transportation that is provided on a facility with access for other high-occupancy vehicles and would be limited to segments where high-intensity motorbus services have been in revenue service for at least seven years.

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