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 that model is tested at the Bus Testing Facility and the bus tested met the performance standards for maintainability, reliability, performance (including braking performance), structural integrity, fuel economy, emissions, and noise, and safety. The program is administered under FTA?s implementing regulation at 49 CFR Part 665, commonly referred to as the Bus Testing Regulation.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Active
Program Number
20.529
Federal Agency/Office
Federal Transit Administration, Department of Transportation
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
B - Project Grants
Program Accomplishments
Fiscal Year 2016 The Bus Testing Facility will conduct standardized tests and prepare test reports for up to twenty new transit bus models and will also bring 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. 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 conducted standardized tests and prepared 6 full, and 5 partial bus testing reports for buses that started testing in calendar year 2017.
Fiscal Year 2018 The Bus Testing Program applies to recipients of FTA capital assistance who purchase new model transit buses or existing bus models being produced with a major change. As of December 31, 2017, testing was completed on 469 buses with over 9,500 bus failures identified. Of those failures, 46 could have resulted in serious injuries or significant property damage had they occurred in revenue service. Many of the other malfunctions would adversely impact transit service (e.g., resulting in road calls standing 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 2019 The Bus Testing Facility will conduct standardized tests and prepare test reports for an estimated fifteen to eighteen transit buses. FTA will continue to work to coordinate the activities, and the testing and reporting procedures of the two new LoNo bus testing centers at Auburn University and The Ohio State University with the existing bus testing center. The LoNo bus testing centers at Auburn University and The Ohio State University are not operational as of FY 2019.
Fiscal Year 2020 Anticipate Altoona continuing to test approximately 15 to 18 buses annually. Also, anticipate the development of a new website and intake process for the bus testing program. Also, anticipate a new congressional appropriation to fund the LoNo bus testing centers at Auburn University and The Ohio State University.
Authorization
Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, October 1, 2015, 49 U.S.C. 5318
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
Applicants may include: local, anyone/general public
Beneficiary Eligibility
Not applicable.
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.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Preapplication coordination is required. An environmental impact statement is required for this listing. 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. Eligible 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 Procedure
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. In addition, FTA guidance for this program can be found in FTA Circular 5010.1E, "Award Management Requirements." Applicants should follow the instructions, which may be found at https://www.transit.dot.gov.
Award Procedure
A FTA agreement obligating Federal funds is reflected in an agreement . A web based system is used to award and manage 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 agreement to access the funds.
Deadlines
Contact the headquarters or regional location, as appropriate for application deadlines
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
Varies.
Appeals
Not applicable.
Renewals
Not applicable.
How are proposals selected?
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.
How may assistance be used?
FTA funds 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.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Reporting
Performance Reports: • Specific vehicle testing reports are required for all vehicles tested, other specific reports may be requested by the FTA Program Manager. • Milestone Progress Reports (MPR). A recipient must submit a quarterly MPR for each active project. The MPR is the primary written communication between the recipient and FTA outlining accomplishments to date. • Final Technical Report. At the conclusion of a project, a recipient must submit a final technical report documenting project performance and the final results, outcomes, and impacts of projects, including an executive summary.
Auditing
Not applicable.
Records
Grant recipients shall retain records for three years following submission of a final expenditure report, pending resolution of audit findings, all project contracts documents, financial records, and supporting records.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory Formula: Title Bus Testing Facility Public Law 49 U.S.C. Section 5318 This program has no matching requirement, but does require sharing the cost of vehicle testing. 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 vehicle tested. The remaining 80% of the cost shall be paid with provided Federal funds.

Matching requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.

MOE requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Funds are available until expended. Assistance is awarded by project agreement and funds are typically released annually. Terms and conditions of the agreement are negotiated and agreed upon between FTA and the applicant.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
None/Not specified.
Headquarters Office
Mr. Marcel Belanger
Federal Transit Administration
Office of Mobility Innovation, TRI-12
Room E43-465
1200 New Jersey Ave. SE
East Building, 4th floor

Washington, DC 20590 US
marcel.belanger@dot.gov
Phone: 202-366-0725
Website Address
http://www.transit.dot.gov/about/12351_4584.html
Financial Information
Account Identification
69-8350-0-7-401
Obligations
(Project Grants) FY 18$4,278,842.00; FY 19 est $3,000,000.00; FY 20 est $3,000,000.00; FY 17$4,721,158.00; FY 16$3,000,000.00; - This program is authorized at $3,000,000 annually. The amount awarded for fiscal year 2017 is a combination of full funding for FY2016 and partial FY2017 funds due to a continuing resolution, this included full funding of Fiscal year 2016 funds in the amount of $3,000,000 and a partial award of FY2017 funding in the amount of $1,721,158. FY 2018: Authorized at $3M annually, in FY 2018 program was appropriated an additional $2M supplemental in the Fiscal Year 2018 omnibus appropriations, and awarded the remaining $1,278,842 of fiscal year 2017 funds.(Project Grants) FY 18$0.00; FY 19 est $1,000,000.00; FY 20 est $0.00; - Funds provided under General fund Transit Infrastructure grants 69-2812
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
$3,000,000
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
The implementing regulation for the bus testing program is 49 CFR Part 665. Section 665.11 Testing Requirements: The process for requesting full testing of a new bus model, or partial testing of a previously tested bus model being produced with significant changes, has changed significantly with publication of the August 1, 2016 Bus Testing Regulation, also known as the "Pass/Fail" regulation. The Bus Testing Regulation states that it is the responsibility of the recipient in dealing with a manufacturer to determine whether a vehicle to be acquired is subject to the requirements of the regulation (49 CFR Part 665.7(b) ). If a manufacturer or other entity is uncertain whether the change(s) to a bus model are major, they may request guidance from FTA in determining whether the proposed changes would require additional full or partial testing. This process is described in 49 CFR Part 665.21, which says: o All requests for testing, including requests for full, partial, or repeat testing, shall be submitted to the FTA Bus Testing Program Manager for review prior to scheduling with the operator of the Bus Testing Facility. All test requests shall provide: o A detailed description of the new bus model to be tested o the service life category of the bus o engineering documentation characterizing all major changes to the bus model o documentation that demonstrates satisfaction of each one of the testing requirements outlined in section 665.11(a) [https://www.transit.dot.gov/research-innovation/bus-testing-determination-and-authorization-process]. o FTA will review the request, determine if the bus model is eligible for testing, and provide an initial response within five business days. FTA will prepare a written response to the requester for use in scheduling the required testing. Then the requester will contact the operator of the facility with a letter requesting the required testing. o When contacting the operator, the operator shall provide the manufacturer with: o A draft contract for the testing o A fee schedule o Test procedures for the tests that will be conducted on the vehicle. o The operator shall process vehicles FTA has approved for testing in the order in which the contracts are signed.
Examples of Funded Projects
Fiscal Year 2016 The standardized testing of new transit bus models is being performed with the awarded program funds. The standardized testing of new transit bus models is being performed with the awarded program funds.
Fiscal Year 2017 The Bus Testing Facility implemented 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 is developing a standardized test request form that will be made available on the FTA external site. This form will incorporate comments from OMB and stakeholders during the previous information collection request.
Fiscal Year 2018 The Bus Testing Center tested new bus models and previously-tested models being produced with major changes and issue full and partial Bus Testing Reports. FTA will work to coordinate the testing and reporting procedures of the two new LoNo bus testing centers with the existing bus testing center.
Fiscal Year 2019 The Bus Testing Center will continue to test new bus models and previously-tested models being produced with major changes and issue full and partial Bus Testing Reports. FTA will work to coordinate the activities, and the testing and reporting procedures of the two new LoNo bus testing centers with the existing bus testing center.
Fiscal Year 2020 FTA anticipates the Bus Testing Center will conduct between 15 to 18 tests. FTA will continue to work to coordinate the activities, and the testing and reporting procedures of the two new LoNo bus testing centers at Auburn University and the Ohio State University with the existing bus testing center.

 



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