September 30, 2020
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The Federal Transit Administration noted on April 23 that it will give transit agencies more time to meet the requirements of the new Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan or PTASP regulation as they cope with ridership falloff and other operational issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

[Above photo by CTransit.]

The PTASP regulation requires transit agencies to incorporate Safety Management System or SMS policies to manage safety risks. They originally had to comply with the new rule by July 20, but FTA said it is now extending that deadline to December 31.

FTA’s K. Jane Williams

“We understand that many transit agencies are experiencing disruptions to normal operating procedures during the COVID-19 public health emergency and, as a result, we are announcing this flexibility while they work to comply with the PTASP regulation,” said K. Jane Williams, FTA’s acting administrator, in a statement.

Richard Price, associate program manager for transit policy and technical services for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, noted in an August 2019 AASHTO Journal story that the new PTASP final rule requires certain public transportation systems that receive federal funds under the FTA’s Urbanized Area Formula Grant (Section 5307) program to develop safety plans. Those systems can have the state department of transportation write the plan or they opt-out and write their own.

State DOTs, according to the rule, can write and certify agency safety plans for its FTA Section 5307 Urban Transit systems, or the transit systems can decide to write and certify their own plans, he said.

“It is a state-by-state decision,” Price pointed out. Yet he emphasized that this rule applies to transit systems with “less than 100 vehicles in revenue service,” so that needs to be taken into consideration.

editor@aashto.org

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