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Building on Streamlining Efforts, FTA Seeks Public Input in Online Dialogue Designed to Improve Project Delivery

Posted by the Federal Transit Administration

Transit employees working on various projects

As part of an Administration-wide effort to speed investments in transportation infrastructure and reduce potentially duplicative or unnecessarily burdensome requirements, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) changed its reporting requirements and streamlined its oversight process for transit agencies. FTA announced those streamlining changes as part of the recent Federal Register Notice on fiscal year 2018 apportionments.

Over the last year, FTA staff reviewed regulations and guidance documents to ensure they are straightforward, clear and designed to minimize burden on grant applicants. In a continued effort to review its processes, FTA is hosting an online dialogue to collect public input on the current definition of a “federal project” and how that may impact the timely and effective implementation of transit projects. A federal project typically requires grant applicants to complete many phases or elements for capital projects with requirements ranging from those enacted under the National Environmental Policy Act to regulations for Metropolitan and Statewide Transportation Planning, Procurement and Buy America.

In the “What is a Federal Project?” online dialogue, FTA seeks input from state departments of transportation, transit agencies, transit operators and other interested parties on how a federal definition affects project delivery. The dialogue also solicits ideas to improve the process of deciding when a project or project element is subject to federal requirements and whether those requirements should apply to phases that are not supported with federal funds. The online dialogue will be open from July 16 to August 17.

As a part of its recent review of regulations, FTA considered input from stakeholders via comments to a U.S. DOT docket regarding regulatory review.  

As part of its streamlining activities, FTA reduced the frequency that grant recipients are required to submit reports.  Under the new policy, grants of $2 million or less in urbanized areas over 200,000 in population should be reported annually rather than quarterly unless a specific risk is identified. That will reduce approximately 13,000 reports per year.

FTA also increased the threshold for property appraisals associated with transit projects, from $500,000 to $1 million, which will reduce submissions by 20 percent and save about 50 weeks of agency review time.