Opportunities for Improving the Effectiveness of Rapid Transit Grants

RED-76-75: Published: Mar 10, 1976. Publicly Released: Mar 10, 1976.

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The Urban Mass Transportation Administration (UMTA) has awarded grants for new rapid transit system equipment without having sufficient information on the reliability of that equipment. Because UMTA provides limited direction to potential grantees during its grant approval process, UMTA has approved a grant of $142 million for new cars for New York's rapid transit system without sufficient information on the reliability of that equipment, and has also approved the inclusion of automatic train control equipment not planned for in the immediate future.

At the time of the grant approval, UMTA had not required grantees to provide evidence of the reliability of equipment or components to be purchased with Federal funds. Without such evidence, the agency had no information on the extent of the risk taken in funding new equipment. The agency requested the purchase of equipment not planned for immediate use on railcars without justifying the need for this equipment. Projects often involve building new railcars or components rather than resolving specific hardware problems. The agency needs to develop an information collection and dissemination system on transit problems and to use the data as a basis for deciding which problems could and should be addressed under the Federal mass transit research and development program.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: UMTA should require grantees to provide evidence that new equipment meets specific reliability requirements before committing funds to assist in the purchase of the equipment. According to criteria established by UMTA, potential grantees should be required to justify the need for, and the use to be made of, technology new to a transit system and not to be used in the immediate future. UMTA should develop an information collection and dissemination system so that current problems can be easily identified, classified, and acted upon through selected research and development activities directed at solving existing technological problems such as those in a specific component that is causing serious problems.

    Agency Affected:


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