The Urban Mass Transportation Administration (UMTA) funds 80 percent of the cost of transit buses. GAO obtained views of representatives of UMTA, bus manufacturers, and six transit authorities on: (1) the rigidity of Federal bus specifications; (2) the difficulty local transit authorities have in deviating from the specifications; (3) the adequacy of manufacturers' vehicle warranties; (4) the adequacy of vehicle testing; and (5) the UMTA level of involvement in testing to ensure that buses purchased meet performance specifications. GAO also presented alternative ways of ensuring that vehicles purchased with Federal funds are reliable and meet performance requirements. UMTA has issued specifications for the type of bus that has primarily been purchased with transit funds in recent years. The specifications limit transit authorities' options and permit no deviations without UMTA approval. UMTA generally will not approve a deviation if it will be exclusionary. However, after competitive selection, UMTA will usually allow a change from the specifications if both the transit authority and the manufacturer agree.
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