September 19, 2014
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DOT Rulemaking in High Gear

FTA and other DOT modal administrations are working hard to implement MAP-21 and other legislative mandates. APTA and its members continue to track and respond to this ever-growing number of regulatory actions. You can find them all, review APTA draft comments, and provide your company or agency’s comments directly to DOT, all by starting at the APTA website.

FTA has proposed changes to National Transit Database (NTD) reporting requirements in two separate rulemakings. Docket FTA-2014-0006 proposes changes in a number of areas, most notably paratransit trips, high-occupancy vehicle/high-occupancy toll lanes, and transit asset management reporting. These changes would affect almost all APTA public members and, with the comment period set to end Sept. 18, time is of the essence.

APTA has asked for an extension of the comment period to allow its members to fully evaluate these proposed changes at committee meetings held in conjunction with the Annual Meeting & EXPO but even if that request is denied, late arriving comments will be evaluated by FTA.

The other NTD changes are proposed under Docket FTA-2014-0009 and relate to safety data reports. APTA staff and members are working through the proposals to create APTA’s draft comments, with final comments due Oct. 20.

FTA’s draft Circular 5100 is the subject of Docket FTA-2014-001. Of particular interest to APTA members is FTA’s proposal to bar use of bus program funds (49 USC 5339) for midlife bus overhauls. While not explicit in the FTA notice, the proposed circular deviates from the statutory authority to use Section 5339 for bus rehabilitation, substituting the much narrower term “rebuild,” then defining rebuild as an end of useful life activity that extends that useful life. APTA’s draft opposes this limitation in strong terms and APTA urges its members to comment as well. Comments are due Sept. 29.

FTA and FHWA issued a joint NPRM on integrating safety into the planning process under Docket FHWA 2013-0037. This wide-ranging proposal touches on transit representation on Metropolitan Planning Organizations, performance management, performance measures, and target setting. The comment period has been extended to Oct. 2.

Other noteworthy rulemaking activities include FRA’s proposal to add certain maintenance-of-way workers to railroad drug and alcohol programs (FRA 2009-0039, due Sept. 26), FTA’s proposed Circular 6100 on research, technical assistance, and training (FTA 2014-0017, comments due Oct. 14), and FHWA’s proposed changes to Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) weighting factors (FHWA 2013-0018, comments due Oct. 3).
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