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Category Archives: Transportation

Federal Transit Administration Issues Proposed Rule for Transit Agencies to Achieve State of Good Repair, Improve Safety

“The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today issued a proposed rule that would require public transportation agencies to monitor and manage their capital assets to achieve and maintain a state of good repair.  Identifying and prioritizing maintenance and repair needs of transit vehicles and infrastructure could lower costs, increase reliability and performance, reduce travel delays for passengers, promote resilience, and yield system safety improvements. “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 proposed rule would require public transportation agencies to develop a Transit Asset Management (TAM) Plan that determines the condition of its capital assets, including the system’s equipment, rolling stock, infrastructure, and facilities.  To reduce the burden on small operators, the proposed rule offers a two-tiered approach for 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 Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) directs FTA to create a TAM System to help transit agencies achieve a better and more informed balance between system preservation and expansion projects, with a strong focus on improving safety.  The TAM System is intended to provide a transit agency with a comprehensive understanding of how the condition of its capital assets may impact the safety of its system. “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.” The proposed rule would also define the term “state of good repair,” establish state of good repair performance measures, and have transit agencies set performance targets based on those measures, which they can then use to prioritize limited capital investment funding.  In addition, transit agencies would be required to report new information to the National Transit Database. Insufficient funding combined with inadequate asset management practices have contributed to an estimated $86 billion transit in state of good repair backlogs nationwide that continues to grow with reduced levels of investment.  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, with incremental increases in each fiscal year through the end of the Act’s authorization period.”

McKinsey – Urban mobility at a tipping point

“As more of the world’s cities become congested and polluted, new business models and technologies are emerging to solve the mobility challenge…By 2030, 60 percent of the world’s population will live in cities, up from about 50 percent today. Over the same period, more than two billion people are likely to enter the middle class,Continue Reading

GAO Reports – Adaptive Sports, DOD Financial Management, Medicare, Food Assistance, Biosurveillance, Public Transit

Adaptive Sports Grant Program: VA Has Taken Steps toward Better Grantee Selection and Oversight, but Additional Actions Needed, GAO-15-791: Published: Sep 28, 2015. Publicly Released: Sep 28, 2015. DOD Financial Management: Continued Actions Needed to Address Congressional Committee Panel Recommendations, GAO-15-463: Published: Sep 28, 2015. Publicly Released: Sep 28, 2015. Drug Compounding for Animals: FDAContinue Reading

2015 Red Book

2015 Red Book – Synchronizing Environmental Reviews for Transportation and Other Infrastructure Projects, September 2015 Publication No. FHWA-HEP-15-047 Publication No. FHWA-HEP-15-047. “The purpose of the Red Book is to function as a “how to” for synchronizing NEPA and other regulatory reviews. This handbook will be useful to Federal agencies that review permit applications, and Federal,Continue Reading

VW issues statement on emission violations

Follow up to EPA, California Notify Volkswagen of Clean Air Act Violations – see Dissemination of an Ad hoc announcement according to § 15 WpHG: Volkswagen AG has issued the following information, September 22, 2015: “Volkswagen is working at full speed to clarify irregularities concerning a particular software used in diesel engines. New vehicles fromContinue Reading

GAO Report – Air Force’s F-15 Eagle, FAA Commercial Space Launch, Internet Management

Department of Defense’s Waiver of Competitive Prototyping Requirement for the Air Force’s F-15 Eagle Passive/Active Warning and Survivability System (EPAWSS) Program, GAO-15-800R: Published: Sep 21, 2015. Publicly Released: Sep 21, 2015: “The Department of Defense’s (DOD) rationale for waiving the competitive prototyping requirement in the Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009, as amended (WSARA),Continue Reading

GAO Reports – Federal Student Loans, Grants Management, International Classification of Diseases, Prepositioned Stocks, Surface Transportation Security

Federal Student Loans: Education Could Do More to Help Ensure Borrowers Are Aware of Repayment and Forgiveness Options, GAO-15-663: Published: Aug 25, 2015. Publicly Released: Sep 17, 2015. Grants Management: EPA Has Opportunities to Improve Planning and Compliance Monitoring, GAO-15-618: Published: Aug 17, 2015. Publicly Released: Sep 17, 2015. International Classification of Diseases: CMS HasContinue Reading

GAO Reports – American Red Cross, Child Welfare, Diplomatic Security, Federal User Fees, Positive Train Control, State Health Insurance Marketplaces, Wildland Fire Management

American Red Cross: Disaster Assistance Would Benefit from Oversight through Regular Federal Evaluation, GAO-15-565: Published: Sep 9, 2015. Publicly Released: Sep 16, 2015. Child Welfare: Steps Have Been Taken to Address Unregulated Custody Transfers of Adopted Children, GAO-15-733: Published: Sep 16, 2015. Publicly Released: Sep 16, 2015. Diplomatic Security: Options for Locating a Consolidated TrainingContinue Reading

Commentary on Open Source Automobiles

Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica – Sep 15, 2015 – “Even if they’ve been longtime partners, the tech sector’s influence on the automotive industry has never been stronger. OEMs in Detroit, Stuttgart, Seoul, and elsewhere are continually transforming cars to meet the demands of consumers now conditioned to smartphones (and their 18-month refresh cycle). MuchContinue Reading

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS): Commercial Outlook for a New Industry

CRS – Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS): Commercial Outlook for a New Industry. Bill Canis, Specialist in Industrial Organization and Business, September 9, 2015. “Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) — commonly referred to as drones — have become a staple of U.S. military reconnaissance and weapons delivery in overseas war zones such as Afghanistan. Now some newContinue Reading

Congressional Primer on Responding to Major Disasters and Emergencies

CRS – Congressional Primer on Responding to Major Disasters and Emergencies. Francis X. McCarthy, Analyst in Emergency Management Policy; Jared T. Brown, Analyst in Emergency Management and Homeland Security Policy. May 19, 2015. “The principles of disaster management assume a leadership role by the local, tribal, and state governments with the federal government providing coordinatedContinue Reading

Wild Sanctuary – global audio archive of natural world

“Since 1968, Wild Sanctuary has traveled the globe to record, archive, research, and express the voice of the natural world – its soundscape. These increasingly rare sounds of the wild inform and enrich our specialized efforts from the field to public performance.”