Transcript for Safety TAM/ANPRM for Small Transit Systems Webcast

December 3, 2013 at 1:00 PM EST

Adrienne: Welcome to the Safety Transit Asset Management ANPRM for Small Transit Systems conference call. My name is Adrienne, and I'll be your operator for today's call. At this time, all participants are in listen only mode. Later, we'll conduct a question and answer session. If you have a question, you may ask it by phone or electronically, through the webcast viewer. To ask a question live, please call into the conference line, then press "star," then "one" on your touchtone phone.

Please note this conference is being recorded. I'll now turn the call over to Candace Key, Attorney Advisor with the Office of the Chief Counsel of the Federal Transit Administration. Ms. Key, you may begin.

Candace Key: Thank you. Good afternoon, and welcome to FTA's Safety and Transit Asset Management ANPRM webinar for Small Transit Systems. This ANPRM seek input from the public on three major topics, the safety management system approach, several aspects of the national safety programs, and the national transit asset management system. To ensure that any final rules published to implement these topics are clear and effective, it is important that transit agencies, state agencies, SSOs, NPOs, other organizations, as well as interested members of the public, take this opportunity to share thoughts, concerns, ideas, and general comments.

We recognize that this ANPRM is a hefty document to review and also recognize that large systems and small systems are affected differently. FTA is very interested in hearing from smaller transit agencies on these issues. We are, therefore, holding separate webinars which focus on areas that may be of particular interest to different sized systems. Today's webinar is intended to provide an overview of the topics within the ANPRM that may be of particular interest to small transit providers.

Tomorrow FTA will be hosting a webinar on the ANPRM tailored for medium and large transit systems. Today's webinar is not a public hearing characteristic of the formal rule making process. Instead, this webinar is to serve as a forum in which FTA can explain the ANPRM to small transit providers and answer any questions you may have about it. This webinar is not an opportunity for you to provide public comments.

FTA is recording the webinar and it will be posted in the docket for the ANPRM and available for subsequent public viewings. For your comments to be considered during this rule making process they need to be submitted to the docket through one of the methods specified in the ANPRM by January 2nd, 2014. The methods for providing comments will be listed at the conclusion of this webinar.

The purpose of public involvement in rulemaking is not only to solicit public input but also to create strong records that support the rational basis needed for issuing a final regulation. This means that submissions to the docket that are the most influential are those that contain data and cite source materials and include a rationale in support of the points made in the comment. It is extremely important for members of the transit industry, including small transit providers, to participate in the rule making process for the new safety/NTM program.

Your comments will impact the development of rules that will ultimately implement each of the topics discussed today. In addition, as I stated, your comments help create a strong record that supports a rational basis needed for issuing final regulations. Some of you may be wondering why FTA published a joint ANPRM on safety and transit asset management. Even before MAP 21 one was enacted, these two things were related.

All transit organizations, no matter how large or small, have a process by which they budget, allocate funds, and make plans. The safety in transit asset management requirements and MAP 21 help to ensure that each transit agency will have processes in place that will allow safety NTM investment to be appropriately considered throughout the agency's budget and planning process. The result will be thoughtful and transparent decision making regarding the tradeoffs made between transit asset management, state of good repair, safety, new capital projects, and daily operations.

Although the condition of assets and overall safety of a transit system are related, that is not to say that an asset is not in a state of good repair or is not safe. However, it does mean that transit agency executives should be making thoughtful, informed decision making when making investment tradeoffs. FTA intends to adopt a comprehensive approach to safety in transit asset management that is scalable and flexible enough for different types of transit modes of different sizes.

Combining these two subjects in ANPRM will allow the public to better understand FTA's proposed approach and submit more meaningful comments. The public comments in response to this ANPRM, as I mentioned, will help inform future notices of proposed rulemaking. For a higher level overview of the ANPRM or why PM and safety are combined please download the webcast from the November 18th webinar from FTA's website or from the ANPRM docket.

That webinar will cover more specifics and highlight key areas we think are important for small systems to be aware of. I will now turn over to Rick Gerhart, acting director for the Office of System Safety within the Office of Transit Safety and Oversight.

Rick Gerhart: Thank you, Candace. I'll start with FTA's new regulatory authority for safety. On July 6th of 2012 the President signed into law the new Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act known as MAP 21. MAP 21 adopted several proposals to improve transit safety and provided FTA with the authority to regulate safety for all modes of public transit.

Many of these regulations apply equally to all modes of public transportation. FTA does not intend to promulgate any duplicative or inconsistent or conflicting regulations. Safety management systems. I'm going to briefly discuss SMS or safety management systems which exist within each MAP 21 safety requirement element. The SMS approach, if adopted, would guide the national safety program implementation.

FTA is considering an SMS approach to guide rulemaking. Following a recommendation from FTA's federal advisory committee the transit rail advisory committee on safety, known as TRACS, FTA introduced SMS through a May 13th, 2013 Dear Colleague letter and associated FAQs. You can find these documents posted on the FTA website.

SMS has proven effective in other transportation industries and is consistent with the Department of Transportation policy. SMS offers a proactive method for managing safety that enables the transit agencies to identify and resolve safety concerns and challenges before they result in actual incidents. SMS combines established system safety, engineering principles with advanced organizational management techniques and supports continuous improvement in safety performance through a positive safety culture founded on four key priorities, safety policy, safety risk management, safety assurance, and safety promotion.

Safety management is based on the fact that safety is not an absolute condition. There will always be some hazards and risks in public transportation. The traditional approach of primarily reacting to accidents by prescribing measures to prevent reoccurrence is not enough. There is a need for a new proactive approach. SMS provides a strategy to help transit agencies with their proactive management of safety.

SMS emphasizes that safety data be formally documented and that proactive and reactive safety related decisions should be based on the empirical analysis of this data. Many of the system safety repairs and the safety communications procedures and practices currently being used by both rail transit and bus transit systems are essential building blocks of a successful SMS. SMS is a management approach. It provides processes regardless of the size and service design of a particular transit agency.

For smaller transit agencies that do not presently use an SMS the adoption of the SMS approach can be integrated into its existing operational environment. Although FTA will provide SMS related guidance to smaller transit agencies, FTA envisions that it will be up to each transit agency to develop processes to effectively implement SMS within the context of its own agency size and operating environment. Please take the time, if possible, to look at questions 17 through 20 regarding how implementation of SMS could be accomplished at smaller transit agencies.

The National Safety Program. The requirements of this will apply to each recipient of FTA funding regardless of the mode of transit operating. This includes smaller bus transit agencies. The National Safety Program is comprised of four components. The National Public Transportation Safety Plan, the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan, the Public Transportation Safety Certification and Training Program, and the State Safety Oversight program.

This ANPRM addresses the first three. The SSO program will be addressed in a future rulemaking. Each of the four of these components contributes to the establishment of the comprehensive framework that will reinforce the safety of public transportation. The National Safety Plan. The FTA will create and implement a National Safety Plan designed to improve the safety of all public transportation systems that receive FTA funding.

Under MAP 21, the Secretary is required to create and implement a National Safety Plan. At a minimum it will include safety performance criteria for all modes of public transportation, the definition of "state of good repair," a public transportation safety certification program, and minimum vehicle standards. FTA envisions the national safety plan will establish and communicate national safety priorities through the establishment of performance criteria and standards, state of good repair measures, and training requirements all guided by the principles of safety management systems.

FTA will use data analysis to identify national trends that suggest gaps in safety performance, common hazards, and leading practices for risk control. Setting performance criteria will allow for collecting and analyzing of safety information to measure safety related outcomes. This is a critical step in managing and mitigating risks.

FTA's performance criteria will assist transit agencies in the early detection and control of safety vulnerabilities. The purpose of setting safety performance criteria is to provide a methodology for transit agencies of all sizes to evaluate the effectiveness of their safety initiatives and to encourage the development of more proactive hazard identification and mitigation strategies. Safety performance criteria will have to be integrated into the metropolitan planning process and the statewide planning process through setting of agency targets.

Again, we would appreciate your assistance in providing comments on questions one through seven in the ANPRM that will illuminate smaller transit agency thinking on safety performance criteria. For minimum vehicle standards, presently FTA's priority with respect to vehicles is issuing a proposed rule to establish a bus testing pass/fail standard as required by 4090 USC 5318. After FTA publishes the final bus testing rule, busses may only be purchased with FTA funds if the vehicles were tested and received a passing score that will be established by that rule.

In addition, once FTA establishes minimum vehicle performance standards for busses, FTA funded busses must also meet those standards. FTA would like to receive comments from smaller transit systems on what they feel are important work vehicle safety standards based on their operating experience. We would again point you towards question number 15 in the AMPRM which addresses those vehicle standards.

FTA will work with the transit industry to identify appropriate performance based vehicle standards for both rail and bus vehicles and develop an appropriate implementation schedule. A transit agency safety plan will require transit agencies to set safety performance targets, meet standards set out in the National Safety Plan, and illustrate their practice of safety management systems. Recipients of FTA urbanized area formula funds or rural area formula funds must certify that they have established a comprehensive transit agency safety plan.

States may draft and certify agency safety plans for rural areas or for small public transportation providers in urban areas. FTA envisions the agency safety plans as the basis for transit agencies to execute safety management systems and national safety plan's requirements. This plan should include safety targets and an approach to hazard identification, risk management, and safety assurance.

Unlike 49 USC 5329E, which establishes a clear role for states in overseeing the safety of rail fixed transit systems through the SSO program, the statues does not articulate a similar role for states with regard to the oversight of non rail public transportation providers. States may, however, draft or certify transit agency safety plans for small section 5307 recipients and section 53 recipients, including tribal transit recipients. FTA seeks comments from state DOTs regarding the states' role and in defining a small transit provider.

State DOTs in particular are requested to provide comments on the questions 33 to 47 in this ANPRM. The transit agency safety plan will encourage proactive safety management rather than only reactive. It will encourage transit agencies to develop a robust method for recording accidents, incidents, and near misses. It will also encourage the thorough analysis of accidents, incidents, and near misses and the development of viable strategies and action plans that must be reviewed to ensure they are working to mitigate or control risk.

For smaller transit agencies, the individual responsible for safety may or may not be called a safety officer and may, in fact, have other responsibilities. However, it is important that someone is formally designated as having safety oversight responsibilities, and that person should report directly to the transit CEO. Existing smaller transit agency safety related training for safety sensitive employees will constitute the foundation for future operational staff training programs.

It is important that FTA receive comments from smaller transit agencies regarding safety plan requirements, so please comment on questions 21 to 32 in the ANPRM in this regard. MAP 21 requires FTA to establish a safety certification training program that applies to all transit agencies, all transit grantees, regardless of mode, size, or operating characteristics. This training program will include establishing minimum training requirements that will help transit agencies increase the expertise of employees who are directly responsible for safety oversight.

FTA is organizing its training approach around a series of competencies and basic skills that federal, state, and transit employees and their contractors overseeing transit safety need in order to perform their oversight duties. The competencies are based on SMS principles and the technical capabilities required for overseeing the implementation of safety program elements in the transit industry. FTA will focus its initial efforts in the area of certification training for those responsible for the safety oversight of rail transit.

FTA will soon publish proposed interim provisions in the federal register that will ultimately inform the final rule for the safety certification training program. Please direct comments regarding this federal registry notice to that docket. FTA is hoping to receive comments from smaller transit agencies on the safety certification training program. Please comment on questions 48 to 55 in that regard.

For the last seven years, the FTA bus safety program has provided voluntary safety guidance and technical assistance to transit bus agencies of all sizes and operating characteristics. Its initial focus was on helping smaller transit agencies build an effective safety infrastructure. This voluntary safety guidance and technical assistance has been provided through orientation seminars, outreach presentations, on site reviews, and on the program's website.

The FTA bus safety program is now transitioning to the FTA bus safety oversight program. Although the program has provided voluntary safety guidance and technical assistance to all bus transit agencies, including smaller bus operations until now, it will move into a safety regulatory oversight role designed to facilitate the implementation of FTA's national safety program. The bus program website, on site reviews, and outreach efforts will focus on educating smaller bus transit agencies on all elements of the national safety program.

After this process, it will assist with ensuring that bus transit agencies comply with the FTA safety regulatory requirements. The bus program has already begun to incorporate safety management systems principles into its orientation seminars and on site reviews. A redesigned bus program website will provide more information as it becomes available in regard to the national safety program implementation.

FTA encourages both rail and bus transit providers to begin implementing the statutory requirements of the transit agency safety plan into their daily operations now. In summary, FTA is well aware that smaller transit agencies have limited resources available to them. FTA recognizes and respects the positive safety record of most smaller bus transit agencies around the country. It also understands the commitment and professionalism that transit staff bring to their safety responsibilities.

FTA will work with its industry partners, key industry stakeholders, and transit agency managers to make the transition into the new MAP 21 regulatory environment as smooth and as least burdensome a process as possible. FTA is committed to working with all segments of the industry to support the safety of transit employees, passengers, and communities that transit serves. FTA is looking forward to smaller transit agencies to provide comments on this ANPRM no later than the closing of the docket on January 2nd, 2014.

With that, it's my pleasure to turn things over to John Giorgis, the director of FTA's Office of Strategic Planning and Analysis to talk about the ANPRM's topic of transit asset management.

John Giorgis: Thank you very much, Rick. Thanks to all of you for joining us this afternoon for this webinar. As you're going through the ANPRM, Rick has just covered the sections dealing with safety. I'm going to cover the remaining chapters of the ANPRM dealing with asset management and a few sections at the end.

To kick off, the reason that transit asset management has really come to the forefront of the Congressional agenda is that FTA has published a series of reports over the years, most recently culminating in the 2010 Conditions and Performance report, where we estimated that the nation's state of good repair backlog for poor implementation is $78 billion and is growing. Although that it's heavily concentrated in the large urban rail system, that does include the system backlog among rural and small urban systems, and that is why all transit systems are covered by many of these provisions.

Keeping that in mind, as you begin reading the transit asset management section of the ANPRM, I want to highlight that the very first thing that's covered is questions relating to how we can be sensitive to the burden of these provisions of small providers. Questions 56 through 62 specifically go through and ask, "What are the suggestions and ideas that you can contribute through the commenting process on how," within the requirements that are set in law for us, "how we can minimize the burden and impact of those requirements in small systems?" We look forward to hearing your feedback on those.

In MAP 21, Congress established the National Transit Asset Management System. It's essentially comprised of five pillars, which you probably are familiar with through some of our technical assistance and outreach to this point, but to review them, FTA is going to define the term "state of good repair," including objective standards for measuring the condition of transit assets.

From this definition, FTA is going to establish "state of good repair" performance measures and all of our grant recipients will be required to set "state of good repair" targets based upon those measures. The third pillar is that all of FTA's recipients and all of our sub recipients are going to be required to develop a transit asset management plan. The fourth is that data reporting component recipients...All of the recipients of our grants will be required to report asset inventories and condition assessments to the national transit database.

Finally, the fifth pillar is everyone's favorite. FTA is required to provide technical assistance to the transit industry. This ANPRM covers four of those five pillars. Those four will be covered in our forthcoming rulemaking on transit asset management. The one that's not covered is the data reporting part to the national transit database.

There's already a national transit database rule in place and we're planning to implement that pillar at a later date through guidance and updates to the NTSE reporting manual. You can look forward to a future federal register notice on that topic. Kicking off with the first pillar, the definition of "state of good repair" This is probably the pillar that we devote the most time and attention to in the ANPRM, the most discussion, and indeed we have published on our website a supplementary white paper that delves into the topic in even further detail.

Essentially, FTA is proposing that there's four methods for defining state of good repair and that these four methods exist on something of a spectrum. There's an age based approach where the state of repair of transit assets is largely determined based on the age of the asset. There is a condition based approach where the state of repair of the asset is largely determined through condition inspections on the assets.

There's a performance based approach which drives directly at the [indecipherable 25:46] state of repair. The standard is defined based on how the asset is able to perform and carry out the functions for which it was intended. Then, finally, there is a comprehensive assessment approach. This is an approach that was developed though FTA's State of Good Repair Roundtable and it involves, essentially, mixing all three of the previous approaches as well as information on the maintenance history of the assets to get a comprehensive assessment of the assets.

I mentioned that these four pillars are viewed as appearing on a spectrum. They can be thought of as at one end of the spectrum are approaches that are less burdensome and easier to implement, which we know is a priority, particularly, of the smaller systems. On the other end of the spectrum are approaches that are more burdensome but are more accurate. They run...the belief of the risk of creating a false positive, such as identifying an asset not being in state of good repair, when it is in fact fully safe and able to function, and also not overstating the state of repair of the system.

I call particularly your attention to questions 64 through 66 on this section in the ANPRM where FTA says, "Among these approaches what are the approaches that are best suited for systems of different sizes or small systems and large systems? Also, which of these approaches are best suited for different classes of assets?" We're very interested in hearing the feedback from the industry on those questions.

The next pillar of the national system is the performance measures. These performance measures will largely flow out of the definition of state of good repair. FTA mentions in the ANPRM a couple suggestions to seed the discussion on what the performance measure might look like but we also open up a specific question saying, "Are there other performance measures that we should consider?"

Keep in mind that the law does require that the definition of state of good repair must include objective standards for measuring the condition of assets and that the performance measure must be based on this definition. Once FTA establishes the measure each recipient, so not necessarily the sub recipients, each recipient will be required to set their own targets against the measure within three months. Now, there will be no reward for making your target.

Unfortunately we won't be issuing gold stars if you make your target. There will also be no penalty for missing your target. There's nothing provided in the legislation providing penalties for missing your targets. However, there is the requirement for an annual report on the progress towards meeting your targets as well as part of the annual report also annual updates of the target.

Now, of particular concern to small systems is the third pillar requiring transit asset management plans, not just for each of our recipients, but also for each of our sub recipients. That will include a lot of our smaller systems. The requirements of the asset management plan is that the plan must have an asset inventory with condition assessments, you must start your plan by knowing what are the assets that you have.

Then the plan must include a investment prioritization, a way of ranking investments in their priority for achieving a state of good repair in your system. Then finally, the other requirement that's mentioned is that recipients are required to certify their plans to FTA. FTA definitely recognizes that across the transit industry there's agencies of a large variety of sizes.

We're stating up front that our intent is that we're going to make requirements of these plans scalable and flexible, and that our oversight of asset management plans is going to be a risk based approach. Our oversight will definitely be more focused on the larger systems relative to the small systems. Nevertheless, we're still asking in the ANPRM for additional feedback about ways that we could tailor these requirements to specific requirements of small systems.

There's one question that I picked out to highlight, question number 82. Such as asking the question, "Should FTA create transit asset management plan templates for recipients to use, possibly tailored by size, as a way of scaling these requirements to small systems?" Again, this ANPRM does not cover the national transit database reporting.

The fifth pillar in all this is the technical assistance. This is an opportunity for the industry to reverse the tables and tell FTA, "What are the things that you think we should be doing?" Rather necessarily than FTA telling you, "The things that we think you should be doing."

There's two statutory requirements for technical assistance specified in the law. One is a decision support tool for investment prioritizations, and another is it an analytical process, for example, investment needs. Which we're saying is awfully similar to the TAM lite system that we've already made available on the FTA website.

Additionally, there's a number of technical assistance products that FTA already has under way. We've already published a transit asset management guide. We are in the process of publishing reports from a set of transit asset management pilot projects that were funded a couple of years ago, and are wrapping up over the course of 2013 and 2014.

We're also offering transit asset management courses through the National Transit Institute that may be of particular interest, particularly if your system has not yet begun the process of transit asset management in your own agencies. Keeping those bits in mind, we opened the floor in the ANPRM thing, are there other technical assistance products, particularly those that would be specifically geared to small operators that FTA should be considering? We're definitely very interested to hear from the industry where you think the needs are for technical assistance.

That wraps up the chapter on transit asset management. Within the ANPRM, there's then three additional chapters that aren't tied to specific future rule makings, but are still definitely worthy of attention. The next chapter is number eight, which contains a few questions on how should certification of the agency safety plan, and how should certification of the transit asset management plans work?

There's particularly questions in there related to small operators of, "How should the certification there work for small operators, and how should the interaction work with the safe interfacing with FTA for programs where small operators are subject to [indecipherable 32:21] ?"

Chapter number nine is about the nexus of transit asset management and safety with the planning process. FTA is planning an update to the joint planning rule with the Federal Highway Administration. That will be coming out sometime early next year. But we do know from Map 21 that both the Metropolitan planning process and the statewide planning process for non urbanized areas are required to integrate, but daily to prepare performance measures and targets, and the safety performance criteria and targets into both the Metropolitan planning process, and the statewide planning process.

We provided some questions in chapter nine asking for some more specific feedback about how exactly should FTA go about implementing that process for integration. Finally, chapter 10 is something that's definitely still worthy of attention, even for small operators, which is where FTA asks for feedback on estimating the benefits and costs of all these requirements that we've covered today. In particular, we'd like information from you about, "What do you see in these requirements? About what will likely be the costs to you and your agency for going through implementing them?"

Then also, "What will be the benefits to your agencies of implementing the safety management systems approach, of implementing transit asset management plans? When FTA proceeds to the next step of these rules, and issues our notice of proposed rulemaking, where for the first time we'll release to the public, "These are the things that we're thinking of requiring from the industry," at that time, we will also be required to release our assessment of the benefits and costs of the specific things that we're proposing.

The information that you provide us feedback here, under Chapter 10, will directly influence our ability to understand the cost and benefits of what we'll be proposing down the road. Thank you very much for that. At this time, we're very interested in opening the floor to discussion. Angela Mienger, we can discuss clarifying questions things that are in the ANPRM.

What we won't be able to discuss if you were to have questions today is what will FTA be putting into the notice of proposal making for implementation? We also can discuss...if you have any comments for us today about, "This is what FTA should do when we implement the safety requirements, or implement the asset management requirements." We won't be able to respond to those.

The best thing for you to do would be to submit those comments that you have for implementation to the docket. All right, and now I'll open it up for questions.

Adrienne: Thank you. We'll now begin the question and answer session. If you have a question, you may ask it by phone or electronically through the webcast viewer. To ask a question live, please call into the conference line, press star, then one on your touchtone phone. You'll ask the question to the operator before asking it live.

If you're using a speakerphone, you may need to pick up the handset first before pressing the numbers. Once again, if you have a question, please press star, then one, on your touchtone phone, or you can ask your question electronically through the webcast viewer.

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Candace: All right, we've already got a couple of questions that have come in through the text box, and I will read those now. The first one is, "Do proposals include security issues, or just safety issues?"

John: The focus of this...the safety portion of this ANPRM does not include security. As you may know, at the federal level, the responsibility for security rests with the Department Of Homeland Security's Transportation Security Administration. As such, TSA would be the responsible federal level party for developing any rulemaking associated with transit security related programs and activities such as security plans and security training.

That said, I would suggest within the constructs of the safety management systems approach that I described earlier in the webinar, there is a strong focus on risk management, including hazards analysis, and FTA is considering a broad approach to an all hazards approach within that SMS risk management construct that might include safety, and security, and emergency management. We would very much appreciate your comments on that approach, and any other approaches to of all hazards, risk management, through your comments in the docket.

Candace: Our next question, "Do you anticipate that the current CTAA safety certification program will qualify for small system certification requirements.

John: The safety certification training program section of the ANPRM includes a reference to an additional document, a reference document, that's been added to the docket titled, "Proposed competencies for safety certification and training programs." That document lays out the different parts of training that we're in the process of developing for implementing the safety management systems approach, as well as technical capacity.

Included in that listing at the tail end of that document is a reference to CTAA, the Community Transportation Association of America's training program. We will be partnering very closely with CTAA in the development of both the interim and the final safety certification training program.

Candace: All right, our next question deals with TAM. Is TAM by itself going to improve the backlog previously discussed?

John: Yeah, in FTA's...we're very supportive in identifying the state of the repair backlog. We definitely recognize the fact that funding a loan is not going to be sufficient to improve the state of the repair backlog. I sometimes mention that there just isn't an immediately evident source out there with a backlog of $78 billion that's going to come up with that amount to immediately start paying down the backlog.

It's going to take an "all of the above" type approach to bring down the transit safety repair backlog, and part of that is going to be better managing the resources that we have, or proactive and systematic about addressing the state of the repair backlog. Transit asset management is designed to be a systematic process which you can implement at the agency level for going about doing that.

Candace: Our next question, "Will FTA be developing guidance for 50 through [indecipherable 39:24] numbers at the end?

John: We definitely have some questions in the ANPRM that specifically address how these requirements are going to roll down to sub recipients, so we're definitely looking for feedback in them, particularly in regards to how certification of asset management plans, or specifically, how club recipients will work. How the need for agency safety plans will work?

We're definitely looking for feedback on this issue, and then that will definitely be things that will be rolled out in the notice of proposed rulemaking down the road, and then at the implementing guidance after the rulemaking has been issued as a final rule.

Candace: OK. Are program plans and accomplishment reports required by sub recipients as well as recipients?

John: Transit asset management plans are required for both sub recipients and recipients. There's other reports that are specific to the individual grant programs that may also apply. Do we want to go to the phones? Do we have any...?

Adrienne: As a reminder, if you have a live question, please call into the conference line, then press star, then one, on your touchtone phone. You'll ask your question to an operator before asking it live. If you're using a speakerphone, you may need to pick up the handset first before pressing the numbers. Once again, if you have a question, please press star then one on your touchtone phone.

Candace: OK, and in the meantime, we still have questions that are coming in via the text box. Our next one is, "Do you think that TAM lite will continue, or will something new take its place?"

John: We definitely ask for feedback in the ANPRM about whether additional chance or investment estimation tools are needed in the technical assistance section, so that will be something that we'll be looking for feedback on. Certainly, right now, our third write is relatively newly developed in just the last couple of years, and it's a program that we're definitely excited about being able to continue going forward into the future.

Candace: How does FTA define a small transit agency?

John: That is another question that is actually specifically identified in the ANPRM. It actually appears in both the safety section and in the active management section. There's a number of different ways that we could go about identifying what constitutes a small system for specific requirements. We're looking for feedback from the industry about what are the appropriate places where we should draw that line in terms of implementing these requirements?

Rick: I would just augment John's response with, in the safety, it's question number 33, "How should FTA define small transit agencies?" Should the definition be based on the size of the agency? For example, the number of vehicles, annual passenger count, annual revenue miles, annual budget, et cetera? We would appreciate providing your feedback on this question in the docket.

John: Then to follow up on that, question number 57 on the asset management side is, "How does the FTA define "small operators" for purposes of the asset management requirements? Please be as specific as possible, and should FTA use the same criteria for the asset management side as used on the safety side?"

Candace: OK. Should state DOTs begin to develop guides for asset management plans now, or should they wait for FTA approval?

John: We definitely believe that asset management is the best practice. We believe that asset management is something that everybody should be doing. We would certainly encourage people to go about implementing asset management best practices. It will improve the management of your assets. The rules that FTA is planning to implement, we expect to be consistent with industry best practices.

Candace: This is a fairly easy one, "Are the slides available online?"

John: They will be…. Are they available right now for download?

Rick: Yeah, the slides of the presentation you're currently viewing are available for download through the webcast viewer. The link is available now for download.

John: OK.

Candace: If anyone has any additional questions, they can either call them in by pressing one and...?

Adrienne: Star one.

Candace: Star one, or type them in the text box.

Candace: Also, the questions that were referenced in this discussion are taken directly from the ANPRM, so you should go to the ANPRM and answer the question associated with whatever number that we mentioned today.

John: Any other questions?

John: All right, well thank you all very much for attending today's webinar. We look forward to reading all of your comments on the ANPRM. Please remember that comments are due on the ANPRM by January 2nd, and you can continue to visit fta.dot.gov for additional information. I think Candace, you have some closing comments?

Candace: Yes, so please keep in mind you should not assume that someone else will relay your thoughts to us. We did not answer all of the questions, or address all the questions or comments that were posed to us today. If we did not, that is because you should post them to the docket so that we can consider them as were developing these rules. Please take the time to provide these thoughts to us, and please also ensure that you provide the specific question number to which you are responding.

In order to respond, should reference docket number FTA 2013 0030 you go to regulations.gov, or you can fax your comments into 202 493 2251. You can send your comments in by mail to US DOT headquarters, or you can hand deliver them to US DOT headquarters. As far as next steps, once we receive the comments, we will review them, and prepare responses in our notice of proposed rulemaking that will be issued after this ANPRM.

After that there will be final rules that will be issued, and so once again I would like to reiterate the need for robust comments, and to request that you submit comments that contain data, cite source materials, and include the rationale in support of the points made in your comment. Thank you for attending our webinar.

Adrienne: Thank you ladies and gentlemen, this concludes today's conference. Thank you for participating, you may now disconnect.