Adequate and timely capital investments to meet core infrastructure needs are two of the most significant challenges faced by many State DOT’s as they administer the federal formula grant programs. It cannot be stressed enough that maintaining transit assets in a state of good repair is critical for the future of transit providers and to the state, and federal agencies that fund both infrastructure investments and operations costs. Today more than ever, the availability of capital resources to maintain a state of good repair, especially for bus replacement and fleet expansion is an extremely important element of effective and efficient rural transit services. In planning for these challenges, many DOTS’ have traditionally relied on timely and consistent access to federal funds as the bulk of the funding to help meet these needs. Recent changes in federal programs (e.g. changes to the Bus and Bus Facilities, Section 5309 program as it traditionally existed) have significantly altered the landscape by greatly reducing the primary funding source for many States and requiring the “banking” of multi-year apportionments to make any significant expenditure.
In light of today’s tenuous economic and fluctuating service climates, of particular concern is the ability to realistically meet the vehicle needs for Section 5311 and Section 5310 programs statewide. Faced with increased emphasis on state of good repair, decreased federal investment in traditional vehicle acquisition and replacement programs, demands for increased capacity and limited budgets to supplement sub-recipients, there is a need for an understanding of successful options to meet the vehicle needs of these programs.
The objective of this research is to provide information that documents the different policies and programs used by State DOT’s to help meet statewide bus replacement and fleet expansion needs.
Unpublished, contractor's final report.