Research for the AASHTO Standing Committee on Public Transportation. Task 55. Estimating the Long Term Impacts of MAP-21 on the Nation's Local Rural Transit Bus Infrastructure

The availability of capital acquisition resources, especially for bus replacement and fleet expansion is an extremely important element of effective and efficient rural transit services. Historically, timely access to federal funds has provided the bulk of the funding to help meet these needs. MAP-21 took several dramatic turns as it relates to funding made available for maintaining the nation's local transit bus infrastructure. Of particular concern is the elimination of the Bus and Bus Facilities Program as it was known under Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) and Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21). Under SAFETEA-LU, Bus and Bus Facilities/Section 5309 was a discretionary program. In early years of SAFETEA-LU (as well as in TEA-21) this program included authorization earmarks (HPPs) and annual appropriation earmarks. In the later years of SAFETEA-LU, these funds were programmed by the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) via various competitive grant programs, such as State of Good Repair and Bus Livability. Under SAFETEA-LU and TEA-21 the Section 5309 program was a significant source of capital funding for addressing routine annual capital needs, such as bus replacements and facility rehabs, as well as large-scale, multi-year projects, such as new facilities and large scale bus replacements with newer technology (low floor, alternative fuel, articulated, etc.). The name "Bus and Bus Facilities" program continues to exist in Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), but it is now a formula program. The overall program is much smaller than its SAFETEA-LU namesake. Nationwide, the Bus and Bus Facilities program was a $942M program in FY2012 (9% of the total Federal Transit Administration [FTA] program that year). Under MAP-21, the new Bus and Bus Facilities Formula Program is $422M program nationwide (4% of the total FTA program). In the new program, $65M is allocated nationally with each state receiving a statewide allocation of $1.25M (and each territory receiving $500,000). Each state also receives a small annual apportionment for its small urbanized areas. The remaining funds are allocated to each large urbanized area by formula using the Section 5307 formula. As a result of the program getting smaller and the change in the method of apportionment, the program significantly disadvantages the nation's rural bus systems when compared to the SAFETEA-LU Section 5309 program. This negative impact is further exacerbated by another change in MAP-21. MAP-21 establishes a new grant program to maintain public transportation systems in a state of good repair. While the basic talking points on this program talk about its value in getting the nations' public transportation system into a state of good repair (SOGR), this program is actually limited to capital expenses for fixed guideway systems (including rail, bus rapid transit, and passenger ferries) and high intensity bus (high intensity bus refers to buses operating in high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes.). Most rural bus systems will not be able to access the program. Of particular concern to State departments of transportation (DOT's) is the rural bus infrastructure for which the states receive federal funds. Therefore this research proposal focuses on the rural transit system only (and local transit only, not rural intercity bus). However, American Public Transit Association (APTA) or others may be interested in expanding this research at a later date to focus on the nation's entire bus infrastructure. The objective of this research is to produce a report that includes an analysis and an estimate of the short term and long term impacts of MAP-21 on the nation's rural bus infrastructure.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-65, Task

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials

    444 North Capitol Street, NW, Suite 225
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Performing Organizations:

    Parsons Brinckerhoff

    2545 Farmers Dr. Suite 350
    Columbus, OH  United States  43235
  • Principal Investigators:

    Libberton, Sean

  • Start Date: 20131016
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20140731
  • Source Data: RiP Project 37727

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01545075
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-65, Task
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Nov 25 2014 1:01AM