Federal Funds Used in Chicago To Procure, and Later Replace, Unreliable Communication Equipment

CED-77-5: Published: Nov 22, 1976. Publicly Released: Nov 22, 1976.

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Financial assistance to the Chicago Transit Authority by the Urban Mass Transportation Administration (UMTA) was reviewed. About $6.1 million was granted from 1968 through 1975 to acquire an advanced bus communication system.

UMTA approved the purchase of 1070 communication units even though the transmission capabilities of this equipment were never proven reliable under a demonstration grant which provided for 500 units. Partly because the system worked poorly, the Authority requested approximately $3.8 million of additional capital assistance to replace the 1570 units, some of which were less than 3 years old. UMTA approved this request but did not fully analyze alternative solutions to the replacement proposal until after approval.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: UMTA should: (1) determine if new projects are warranted before they are funded; (2) monitor equipment in use; (3) develop performance standards; and (4) clarify criteria for new technology.

    Agency Affected:


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