Asset Life

Third Party Procurement

Frequently Asked Questions

Q = Question; A = Answer

Q. Is there an expected (FTA required) life for bus radios? We are purchasing a bus cad/avl system and the contracted radio supplier is in the process of discontinuing the particular model we had planned on. The replacement radio model is not currently supported by the cad/avl vendor. Since the original radio specs required adherence to FTA requirements, we would like to know if there are any product life requirements.

A. FTA has no asset life requirements regarding bus radio systems. (Reviewed: July, 2010)

Q. Does refurbishment of a bus at the middle of the normal service life (service life being 12 years) add any additional service years to the bus? Agency is planning on doing mid-life refurbishment of 20 buses.

A. If the bus was constructed as a 12-year bus, the fact that a transit agency may perform a mid-life service extension would not alter that categorization. However, the refurbishment may affect its salvage (resale) value which may trigger the property disposition provisions in FTA's Master Agreement (if the asset is worth more than $5000). (Revised: July, 2010)

Q. Where do I get a list of what we should be using for the life of assets? I do not see anything specific in the FTA documentation. It refers to "retirement before its useful life," yet gives no place to go to get the information. Property, plant and equipment used for both BUS and LRT operation (such as the track, railcars, and other equipment: office, shop, Park and Rides, Shelters, Stations, etc.) I currently use Publication 946 as an idea. It does not cover most assets used in BUS or LRT. They show 5 or 9 years for a bus and there is no LRT listed but has Railroad cars at 4 or 15 years (GDS v/s ADS method) for example. Do you have clearer guidelines?

A. FTA Circular 9030.1D, Ch. VI, paragraph 4.a. provides guidance on service life for assets acquired with FTA assistance. (Revised: July, 2010)

Q. What is the asset life of a bus shelter?

A. FTA Grant Management Circular 5010.1D contains guidelines for determining the useful life of assets.

Chapter IV, paragraph 3.f (2)(e) states that the useful life of buildings and most other facilities (concrete, steel, and frame construction) is 40 years. Also, paragraph IV 3.f. (1) suggests a number of ways to determine useful life, including the manufacturer’s estimated useful life. We would suggest you consult with your regional FTA grant representative on this question. (Posted: October, 2010)

Q. What is the citation for the actual code or regulation which sets the limits on usage of a bus, specifically with regard to the 12 year 500,000 and 10 year 350,000 mile restrictions on public transit buses?

A. FTA policy with respect to the useful life of equipment is set forth in FTA Grant Management Circular 5010.1D, pages IV - 16 /18. The Circular is available online. The useful life numbers in the Circular are those established by FTA based on industry experience, and there is no regulatory (e.g., CFR) basis for the numbers. (Posted: June, 2011)