The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) recently received a $800,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Transit Asset Management (TAM) Pilot program.
The grant will allow the RTA to move forward with existing plans to develop a Capital Program Prioritization Decision Tool that will utilize its newly developed assessment and inventory of the region’s transportation assets, including infrastructure and equipment, to prioritize future expenditures, in order to best achieve a State of Good Repair for transportation assets over the next 10 years. The regional Service Boards CTA, Metra and Pace have collaboratively participated with RTA in the process.
“Our proactive efforts to conduct the asset condition evaluation favorably positioned our region to receive the FTA grant that will be of tremendous help toward maintaining a state of good repair and aiding us with making strategic capital investments,” said Grace Gallucci, RTA senior deputy executive director, Finance and Performance Management and chief financial officer. She added that over time, riders can benefit from improved service reliability with a needs based capital program.
Last year the RTA and its Service Boards completed an 18-month asset condition evaluation that reviewed the condition of existing capital assets for each of the service boards. The infrastructure evaluation guided the RTA in establishing administrative criteria to replace, repair and maintain capital assets for each service board. The asset condition evaluation report concluded that the transit system’s 10-year capital program need is $24.6 billion - $15 billion for the CTA, $7.4 billion for Metra, and $2.2 billion for Pace. As examples of the transit system’s urgent maintenance needs, 42 percent of rail cars and 39 percent of the region’s train stations were rated as past their useful life, according to the report.
The RTA was second only to the MBTA in Boston by receiving one of the highest grants among six recipients to receive an award from the $4 million in eligible funds. The TAM program offers funds to public transportation providers, State Departments of Transportation and Metropolitan Planning Organizations that can demonstrate effective systems and “best practices” which can be replicated to improve transportation asset management at the nation’s rail and bus public transportation agencies.