Bus Testing Facility

The purpose of the program is to provide assistance for the operation and maintenance of one facility capable of testing new transit bus models and reporting on their maintainability, reliability, safety, performance (including braking performance), structural integrity, fuel economy, emissions, and
noise performance characteristics.

Per 49 U.S.C Section 5318(e), amounts appropriated or otherwise made available under this chapter may be obligated or expended to acquire a new bus model only if a bus of that model has been tested at the Bus Testing Facility and that the bus tested met the performance standards for maintainability, reliability, performance (including braking performance), structural integrity, fuel economy, emissions, and noise, and safety as established by the Secretary by rule.
Examples of Funded Projects

Fiscal Year 2016: The standardized testing of new transit bus models is being performed with the awarded program funds.

Fiscal Year 2017: The standardized testing of new transit bus models will be performed with the awarded program funds.

Fiscal Year 2018: No Current Data Available


Agency - Department of Transportation

The Department of Transportation's mission is to ensure fast, safe, efficient, accessible and convenient transportation that meets vital national interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people, today and into the future.




Program Accomplishments

Fiscal Year 2016: The Bus Testing Facility conducted standardized tests and prepare test reports for up to twenty new transit bus models and brought a compressed hydrogen fueling station on-line in June of 2016 to enable the testing of new hydrogen fuel cell bus models. Overall, the Bus Testing Program has proven to be valuable to the transit industry. As of March 31, 2016 testing has been completed on 444 buses with a total of 9,324 bus failure modes were identified since the program?s inception. Of those failure modes, 44 could have resulted in serious injuries or significant property damage had they occurred in revenue service. Another 175 failure modes would have resulted in the bus being stranded on its route had they occurred in actual service. Many of the other malfunctions identified would adversely impact transit service (e.g., resulting in road calls stranding passengers), and all would increase maintenance costs by requiring corrective maintenance actions. The Bus Testing Program ensures that by testing new bus models before they are purchased, recipients and manufacturers can often address problems before the fleet is built, potentially saving the federal government and grant recipients considerable money and time and avoiding inconveniencing passengers. Fiscal Year 2017: The Bus Testing Facility will implement the new program requirements outlined in the new Bus Testing Pass/Fail rulemaking. The demand for testing services is expected to remain strong with additional zero-emission bus models expected to enter the marketplace. Also, FTA will offer a standardized web-based test request form on the FTA external sire as soon as the revised rule becomes effective. This form incorporates comments from OMB and stakeholder during the previous information collection request. It is a change from the current test request process which accommodates both formal written test requests and the more common e-mail test requests. Fiscal Year 2018: No Current Data Available

Uses and Use Restrictions

Funding is provided to pay 80 percent of the costs associated with testing a vehicle at the facility from amounts available to carry out this section.

The entity having the vehicle tested shall pay 20 percent of the cost.

The funding can only be used for the operation and maintenance of one facility capable of testing all new transit bus models and reporting on their maintainability, reliability, safety, performance (including braking performance), structural integrity, fuel economy, emissions, and noise performance characteristics per the requirements of 49 U.S.C Section 5318.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Applicants may include: Federal, interstate, intrastate, local, public nonprofit institution/organizations, other public institution/organization, specialized group, small business, profit organization, private nonprofit institution/organization, quasi-public nonprofit institution/organization, other private institution/organizations and anyone/general public.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Beneficiaries may include: Federal, interstate, intrastate, local, public nonprofit institution/organizations, other public institution/organization, specialized group, small business, profit organization, private nonprofit institution/organization, quasi-public nonprofit institution/organization, other private institution/organizations and anyone/general public.

Credentials/Documentation

Proposals must thoroughly document the ability and experience of the applicant to perform each and every bus test identified in the program implementation regulation 49 CFR Part 665. Proposals must outline a fee structure for the conduct of a full test and for partial test programs. Legal opinion is required later. Costs will be determined in accordance with 2 CFR 200 for State and local governments, universities, and for private nonprofit organizations. The Federal Acquisition Regulations are applied for private for profit organizations. Contracts are awarded in response to specific requests for proposal in which applicants will respond to a solicitation that FTA will conduct after funds become available. 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles applies to this program.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Preapplication coordination is required.

An environmental impact statement is required for this program.

This program is eligible for coverage under E.O.

12372, 'Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs.' An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.

Application Procedures

2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program.

Award Procedures

An FTA grant award obligating Federal funds is reflected in a grant agreement. A web based system is used to award and manage grant agreements. In order to access this system, a user name and password can be obtained by contacting the program manager at FTA HQ. Once the funds are reserved and the project information has been reviewed and approved by Headquarters, the recipient must execute the grant agreement to access the funds.

Deadlines

Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.

Authorization

Fixing America?s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, October 1, 2015, 49 U.S.C 5318.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Varies.

Appeals

Not Applicable.

Renewals

Not Applicable.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

This program has no statutory formula. This program has no matching requirements. This program has no matching requirement. The entity operating and maintaining the facility shall establish and collect fees for the testing of vehicles at the facility. The Secretary must approve the fees. The operator of the facility shall collect 20% of the cost of testing a bus from the entity having the bus tested. The remaining 80% of the cost shall be paid with the provided assistance. This program does not have MOE requirements. This program does not have MOE requirements.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Funds are available until expended. See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: Applicant is required to submit grant applications in the prevailing electronic grant award management system at the time of submission. Award is announced through the FTA?s Discretionary funding release process.

Post Assistance Requirements

Reports

The purpose of the program is to produce test reports on new transit bus models.

A final report outlining the overall activity at the facility on the project is required once the grant/cooperative agreement is complete.

The Federal Financial Report SF-425 is required.

Quarterly financial; (2) quarterly or monthly progress; and (3) interim and final reports are required and must be submitted electronically.

Generally, as it relates to the national research program in its entirety: (1) Quarterly financial; (2) quarterly or monthly progress; and (3) interim and final.

By electronic filing.

SF - 425.

(1) Quarterly financial; (2) quarterly or monthly progress; and (3) interim and final.

The Federal Financial Report SF-425 is required.

Quarterly progress reports are required.

The Federal Financial Report SF-425 is required.

Quarterly financial reports are required.

There quarterly progress reports describe accomplishments within the report period.

They must also provide interim and final reports.

Electronic filing is preferred.

See #4.

No performance monitoring is required.

Audits

In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, non-Federal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503.

Records

Grant recipients shall retain records for 3 years following submission of a final expenditure report, pending resolution of audit findings, all project contracts documents, financial records, and supporting records.

Financial Information

Account Identification

69-8350-0-7-401.

Obigations

(Project Grants) FY 16 $3,000,000; FY 17 est $3,000,000; and FY 18 est $3,000,000

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

No Data Available.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

The implementing regulation for the bus testing program is 49 CFR Part 665.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

None.

Headquarters Office

Mr. Marcell Belanger Federal Transit Administration Office of Mobility Innovation, TRI-12 Room E43-465 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE East Building, 4th floor , Washington, District of Columbia 20590 Phone: 202-366-0725

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Proposals for assistance must address evaluation criteria related to the capabilities of the bus testing facility, the technical capability, the staffing capacity, and financial cost efficiency of the operator to execute and report the results of fifteen full twelve-year service life tests a year within the allocated annual assistance budget for the program (currently $3,000,000) and the required 20% testing fee collected (non-federal). The evaluation criteria for the bus testing facility include: 1. Ability to operate and test all transit bus types in a controlled environment including 60 foot articulated buses and motor coaches. 2. Ability to supply and accurately meter all transit bus fuel types (gasoline, diesel, LPG, CNG, electricity, and hydrogen). 3. Ability to test buses at sustained highway speeds. 4. Availability of a paved roadway suitable for the conduct of braking, performance, and stability tests. 5. Availability of a shop area capable of supporting the simultaneous maintenance of multiple heavy-vehicles. 6. Availability of a dedicated test site for conducting noise testing. 7. Availability of a durability test track that closely approximates the design of the Altoona Bus Research and Test Center?s durability test course. 8. Availability of suitable facilities to conduct all of the other Structural Integrity tests currently required by the program. The evaluation criteria for the bus testing facility operator include: 1. Adequacy of the qualifications and experience of facility operator personnel to conduct automotive and other engineering tests on transit buses. 2. Level of organizational independence with no financial interests in bus manufacturing. 3. Adequacy of established procedures and funding for the calibration and maintenance of test facilities and equipment. 4. Knowledge of current and upcoming medium and heavy-duty bus technologies. 5. Ability to develop new test methodologies and instrumentation to address new bus performance categories. 6. Experience with electric-drive vehicles, battery performance and safety, and bus battery charging technology and equipment. 7. Experience with the unique safety, performance and metrology issues with gaseous fuels. 8. Ability and experience of preparing and publishing consumer oriented test reports. 9. Ability and experience to support an on-line test report repository. 10. Ability and experience to provide effective and responsive administrative and technical support to test customers and test report consumers.



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