Response to Comments on National Transit Database Reporting Changes and Clarifications, 52611-52614 [2018-22528]

Download as PDF daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 201 / Wednesday, October 17, 2018 / Notices is minimized based on the devices’ limited functionality and they are an aspect of an important well-being program. A copy of the petition, as well as any written communications concerning the petition, is available for review online at www.regulations.gov and in person at the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Docket Operations Facility, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE, W12–140, Washington, DC 20590. The Docket Operations Facility is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays. Interested parties are invited to participate in these proceedings by submitting written views, data, or comments. FRA does not anticipate scheduling a public hearing in connection with these proceedings since the facts do not appear to warrant a hearing. If any interested party desires an opportunity for oral comment and a public hearing, they should notify FRA, in writing, before the end of the comment period and specify the basis for their request. All communications concerning these proceedings should identify the appropriate docket number and may be submitted by any of the following methods: • Website: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. • Fax: 202–493–2251. • Mail: Docket Operations Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, W12–140, Washington, DC 20590. • Hand Delivery: 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Room W12–140, Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays. Communications received by December 3, 2018 will be considered by FRA before final action is taken. Comments received after that date will be considered as far as practicable. Anyone can search the electronic form of any written communications and comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the document, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). Under 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits comments from the public to better inform its processes. DOT posts these comments, without edit, including any personal information the commenter provides, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the system of records notice (DOT/ALL–14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at https:// www.transportation.gov/privacy. See also https://www.regulations.gov/ VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:46 Oct 16, 2018 Jkt 247001 privacyNotice for the privacy notice of regulations.gov. Issued in Washington, DC. Robert C. Lauby, Associate Administrator for Railroad Safety Chief Safety Officer. [FR Doc. 2018–22563 Filed 10–16–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–06–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Railroad Administration Petition for Waiver of Compliance; Docket Number FRA–2018–0072 Under part 211 of Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), this provides the public notice that on August 21, 2018, the North County Transit District (NCTD), petitioned the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for a waiver of compliance from certain provisions of the Federal railroad safety regulations contained at 49 CFR part 240, Qualification and Certification of Locomotive Engineers, and part 242, Qualification and Certification of Conductors. FRA assigned the petition Docket Number FRA–2018–0072. The relief is requested as part of NCTD’s proposed implementation of and participation in FRA’s Confidential Close Call Reporting System (C3RS) pilot project. NCTD seeks to shield reporting employees and the railroad from mandatory punitive sanctions that would otherwise arise as provided in 49 CFR 240.117(e)(1)–(4); 240.305(a)(l)–(4) and (a)(6); 240.307; 242.403(b), (c), (e)(l)–(4), (e)(6)–(11), (f)(l)–(2) and 242.407. The C3RS pilot project encourages certified operating crew members to report close calls and protect the employees and the railroad from discipline or sanctions arising from the incidents reported per the C3RS Implementing Memorandum of Understanding. A copy of the petition, as well as any written communications concerning the petition, is available for review online at www.regulations.gov and in person at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Docket Operations Facility, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, W12–140, Washington, DC 20590. The Docket Operations Facility is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays. Interested parties are invited to participate in these proceedings by submitting written views, data, or comments. FRA does not anticipate scheduling a public hearing in connection with these proceedings since the facts do not appear to warrant a hearing. If any interested party desires PO 00000 Frm 00236 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 52611 an opportunity for oral comment, they should notify FRA, in writing, before the end of the comment period and specify the basis for their request. All communications concerning these proceedings should identify the appropriate docket number 1and may be submitted by any of the following methods: • Website: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. • Fax: 202–493–2251. • Mail: Docket Operations Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, W12–140, Washington, DC 20590. • Hand Delivery: 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Room W12–140, Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays. Communications received by December 3, 2018 will be considered by FRA before final action is taken. Comments received after that date will be considered as far as practicable. Anyone can search the electronic form of any written communications and comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the document, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). Under 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits comments from the public to better inform its processes. DOT posts these comments, without edit, including any personal information the commenter provides, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the system of records notice (DOT/ALL–14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at https:// www.transportation.gov/privacy. See also https://www.regulations.gov/ privacyNotice for the privacy notice of regulations.gov. Issued in Washington, DC. Robert C. Lauby, Associate Administrator for Railroad Safety Chief Safety Officer. [FR Doc. 2018–22562 Filed 10–16–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–06–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Transit Administration [Docket No. FTA–2017–0010] Response to Comments on National Transit Database Reporting Changes and Clarifications AGENCY: Federal Transit Administration, DOT. ACTION: E:\FR\FM\17OCN1.SGM Final response to comments. 17OCN1 52612 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 201 / Wednesday, October 17, 2018 / Notices This notice responds to comments received on proposed changes and clarifications to the National Transit Database (NTD) reporting requirements published in the Federal Register on October 27, 2017 (ID: FTA–2017–0010). DATES: All proposed changes and clarifications will be effective for NTD report year 2018. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Maggie Schilling, National Transit Database Program Manager, FTA Office of Budget and Policy, (202) 366–2054 or maggie.schilling@dot.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: Table of Contents A. Background and Overview B. Clarifications on reporting requirements related to the Transit Asset Management Program Rule a. Establishes a Definition of Capital Responsibility b. Clarifies Reporting Deadlines for New Assets c. Adds Non-Revenue Service/Yard Track and Total Track Without Capital Replacement Responsibility Category C. Additional guidance on reportable safety events D. Clarifications on reporting requirements for Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) fund recipients E. Guidance on distinguishing between commuter and intercity service F. Change to reporting requirements for nonrail for-profit providers of public transportation G. Clarification of ‘‘major mechanical system failures’’ and ‘‘other mechanical system failures’’ definitions daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES A. Background and Overview The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) published a notice in the Federal Register on October 27, 2017 seeking public comment on several NTD reporting changes and clarifications. The comment period closed on December 26, 2017. FTA intended to implement the proposed changes in report year 2017; however, due to the timing of the notice’s publication, FTA will implement all changes finalized in this Federal Register notice in report year 2018. Following is a summary of the comments received with FTA responses. B. Clarifications on Reporting Requirements Related to the Transit Asset Management Program Rule (Published July 2016) a. Definition of Capital Responsibility FTA received three comments on the proposed definition of capital responsibility. One agency requested a clarification on direct capital responsibility as it relates to transit VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:46 Oct 16, 2018 Jkt 247001 agencies operating as a tenant railroad on FRA-regulated Class 1 infrastructure. Specifically, they asked if the railroad co-funds the replacement of guideway assets, does that denote direct capital responsibility? The agency stated that the information necessary to calculate the track performance metric (slow zones) may not be available to the tenant railroad. Finally, the agency asked FTA to consider exempting FRAregulated Class 1 infrastructure from this definition. A second agency requested that FTA provide a specific definition of major repair and additional clarification on whether subrecipients who ‘‘lease or rent a facility for operations or an office space in a larger building for administration’’ should include language in the lease agreement specifying who has capital responsibility. Finally, an agency requested clarification on whether both a ‘capital line’ item expense and management oversight of an asset are required to meet the reporting threshold or if, as stated in the notice, this was intended to be an ‘‘or’’ statement. FTA Response: If an agency is jointly responsible for funding the replacement of guideway assets this does denote direct capital responsibility for the purposes of the Transit Asset Management rule and NTD reporting requirements. Additionally, FTA does not intend to exempt a tenant railroad operating on FRA-regulated Class 1 infrastructure from the requirements of the Transit Asset Management rule. Successful transit asset management requires a comprehensive assessment of all the assets necessary to deliver service. Although a transit system may not currently have capital responsibility for an asset, if that asset is essential to the delivery of transit service, then that asset may well become part of a transit system’s capital needs in the future. Finally, FTA believes that it is reasonable to expect that a tenant railroad will be provided with enough information to calculate the track performance metric (slow zones) from the host railroad in the normal course of operations. The current guidance on calculating the track performance metric requires the agency to record the total amount of track under performance restriction at 9 a.m. on the first Wednesday of each month. Daily slow order information provided to operations staff to alert them of service changes should provide the information necessary to calculate the performance metric. FTA does not currently have a published definition of major repair but PO 00000 Frm 00237 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 clarifies that such a repair would be one with a useful life of more than one year. Additionally, FTA does not require an agency to include specific language in a lease or agreement to specify which entity has capital replacement responsibility. Finally, FTA clarifies that the definition of capital responsibility did not intend that both a ‘‘capital line’’ item expense and management oversight of an asset are required to meet the reporting threshold. As stated in the notice, this was intended to be an ‘‘or’’ statement. FTA will implement the definition of capital responsibility as stated in this notice in the FY 2018 NTD Policy Manual. b. Clarification on the Reporting Deadlines for New Assets FTA did not receive any comments on the clarification that an agency is required to report a new asset to the NTD asset inventory in the fiscal year that the agency begins using the asset for public transportation service. FTA will include this guidance as proposed in the 2018 NTD Reporting Policy Manual. c. Addition of Non-Revenue Service/ Yard Track and Total Track Without Capital Replacement Responsibility Category FTA received four comments related to the inclusion of two additional track types to the asset inventory module: (1) Non-revenue service/yard track and, (2) total track without capital responsibility. One commenter expressed their support of the addition of total non-revenue/yard track and total track without capital replacement responsibility. Although FTA did not specifically request comment on the established track categories of ‘‘total tangent track’’ and ‘‘total curved track’’ in this notice, three commenters stated that these two categories should be combined. One of the commenters believed that separating track into tangent and curved ‘‘adds cost to data collection and reporting without adding value to transit agencies or the FTA’’. Two commenters further requested that FTA clarify the degree of curvature necessary to differentiate between tangent and curved track. Finally, two commenters recommended three new track categories: (1) Mainline track work; (2) special track work (to include guarded curves); and (3) yard/ secondary track work. FTA Response: FTA’s Transit Economic Requirement Model (TERM) used to estimate the transit industry’s state of good repair backlog, which is E:\FR\FM\17OCN1.SGM 17OCN1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 201 / Wednesday, October 17, 2018 / Notices reported to Congress biennially, currently includes different useful life assumptions for tangent vs. curved track. FTA has included these track categories for public comment in two past Federal Register notices (ID: FTA– 2014–0006–0001 and ID: FTA–2015– 0029–0001) and has finalized these categories during that notice and comment process. FTA appreciates the additional industry feedback on these categories but does not intend to make any changes beyond the additional categories proposed in this notice at this time. As the feedback received on the addition of non-revenue service/yard track and total track without capital replacement responsibility category was supportive, FTA will proceed with adding these categories to the database. FTA will further consider the request for clarification on the degree of curvature necessary for track to be considered curved vs. tangent. Additional guidance will be included in a future notice. In addition to providing comment on the track categories, one commenter included recommendations for adjusting the guideway categories collected in the NTD asset inventory. The guideway categories were included in two past Federal Register notices for public comment (ID: FTA–2014–0006–0001 and ID: FTA–2015–0029–0001). Based on comments received, the FTA finalized these categories and published them in the Federal Register on July 26, 2016 (ID: FTA–2014–0006–0083). As these comments are outside of the scope of this notice, FTA is not providing response to these suggestions. daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES C. Additional Guidance on Reportable Safety Events FTA received two comments related to the additional guidance on reportable safety events. One agency expressed support for the additional guidance. One agency requested a clarification on whether a transit revenue vehicle needs to be ‘‘in service’’ when an incident occurs to be considered a reportable safety event. FTA Response: The definition published in the NTD glossary defines a ‘‘revenue vehicle’’ as ‘‘the floating and rolling stock used to provide revenue service for passengers’’. It does not specify that a ‘‘revenue vehicle’’ is only considered such when it is in active revenue service. The FTA further clarifies that any event meeting the thresholds for a reportable event and involving a transit revenue vehicle, regardless of whether that vehicle is in revenue service at the time of the event, is reportable to the NTD safety module. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:46 Oct 16, 2018 Jkt 247001 FTA will include the additional guidance as published in the FY2018 Safety Report Manual. D. Clarifications on Reporting Requirements for Job Access Reverse Commuter (JARC) Fund Recipients FTA Response: FTA did not receive any comments on this clarification. FTA will proceed with the proposal to exempt from NTD reporting any subrecipient that only receives FTA money for Urbanized Area (5307) or Rural Area (5311) funded JARC projects that are not public transportation projects, and does not have any transit operating or capital expenses from any other 5307 or 5311 FTA funding sources. E. Guidance on Distinguishing Between Commuter and Intercity Service FTA received four comments related to the guidance on distinguishing between commuter and intercity service. One commenter stated that the clarification between commuter and intercity service ‘‘might imply that all public transportation and intercity transportation are mutually exclusive’’ and that ‘‘such a statement would be contrary to the plain wording of the statutory definition of public transportation.’’ One commenter requested a clarification of the term ‘‘qualified statistician.’’ They specifically asked if a general consulting firm would be able to complete the work of a qualified statistician. Two commenters stated that requiring a survey of service to establish the percentage of riders taking same day trips when FTA deems it necessary seems ‘‘arbitrary.’’ They requested that FTA set a clear threshold for when a survey would be required. One commenter further believes that the survey seemed overly burdensome. FTA Response: FTA does not have a published definition of ‘‘qualified statistician’’ but clarifies that a general consulting firm or an individual with education or training in mathematics, statistics, or a related quantitative field would be able to complete the work of a qualified statistician. FTA did not intend to imply that intercity service and public transportation are mutually exclusive in their entirety. In some cases, commuters may ride intercity service to reach their destination, and in some cases intercity passengers may ride a commuter service to reach their destination. As a clarification, this notice and the previous notice referenced (FTA–2016– 0006) are distinguishing between commuter and intercity service for the purpose of allocating service PO 00000 Frm 00238 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 52613 information to an urbanized area in the NTD and for inclusion in the Urbanized Area Formula program. Intercity service that meets the statutory definition of public transportation at 49 U.S.C 5302 is reportable to the NTD as public transportation service but only the portion that is located within the boundaries of an urbanized area may be attributed to that urbanized area. Intercity service located outside of the urbanized area would be attributable at a rate of 27 percent per 49 U.S.C. 5336. In contrast, service meeting the definition of commuter service would be fully attributable to the urbanized area regardless of its location. This notice clarifies that the existing definition of commuter service applies to ferry boats and that ferry service is only fully attributable to an urbanized area if at least 50 percent of passengers are making a return trip on the same day. If the ferry does not meet this threshold, it would be considered intercity service and service located outside of the urbanized area would be attributable at a rate of 27 percent per 49 U.S.C. 5336. Current FTA policy requires a passenger survey of new commuter service to the NTD to establish that it meets the criteria for reportable commuter rail or bus service. This notice simply extends this requirement to ferry service. Further, FTA recognizes that this survey is both time consuming and costly to an agency. This notice attempted to reduce the burden on agencies by presuming that those services with 100 percent one-way trip times of 90 minutes or less are commuter services, without requiring a passenger survey. The notice did preserve FTA’s discretion to survey services outside of this boundary or with characteristics suggesting that they may not meet the definition of commuter service. Those services would still need to complete a survey to establish that they meet the threshold of commuter service. In response to the request for a more definitive threshold, FTA clarifies that services with 100 percent one-way trip times of 30 minutes or less will not require a survey to establish the service as commuter. FTA will continue to presume that services with 100 percent one-way trip times of 90 minutes or less are commuter services, while maintaining discretion to request a survey of those with service characteristics suggesting that they may not meet the definition of commuter service. FTA will include these clarifications as presented in the notice and this E:\FR\FM\17OCN1.SGM 17OCN1 52614 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 201 / Wednesday, October 17, 2018 / Notices response in the 2018 NTD Policy Manual. daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES F. Change to Reporting Requirements for Non-Rail For-Profit Providers of Public Transportation FTA received two comments on the proposed change to reporting requirements for non-rail for-profit providers of public transportation. One agency stated that the ‘‘safety of passengers and good stewardship of any associate tax dollars is a higher priority’’ than protecting competitive advantage of for-profit providers. A second agency strongly opposed the change and stated that FTA failed to ‘‘provide any evidence’’ of the assertion that reporting as a full reporter may compromise a company’s ability to successfully compete for business. They further expressed concern that most of the identified providers are in the New York-Newark, NY-NJ-CT urbanized area and believed this change would disproportionately reduce the Urbanized Area Formula apportionment for New York. They ‘‘urged FTA to eliminate this proposal from further consideration’’ or issue the proposal for public comment along with additional detail for the public to review. FTA Response: FTA agrees that the safety of passengers and the good stewardship of public tax dollars are the highest priorities. Although, FTA does not believe that this proposal represents any risk to the safety of transit passengers, FTA is sensitive to the concerns expressed that this proposal could primarily impact the New YorkNewark, NY-NJ-CT urbanized area. FTA is withdrawing this proposed change. Reporting requirements will remain the same for non-rail, for-profit providers of public transportation. G. Clarification of Mechanical Failure Definitions FTA received five comments on the clarification of mechanical failure definitions and request for feedback on potential definition changes. Two commenters support the proposed definition change. One commenter requested clarification on ‘‘vandalism.’’ Specifically, they asked FTA to clarify whether a door defect caused by a customer holding a door should be considered vandalism under the proposed definition. FTA Response: FTA clarifies that a door defect caused by normal interaction with customers boarding and alighting the vehicle, including attempting to hold a door to allow for normal boarding and alighting would not be considered ‘‘vandalism.’’ FTA’s use of the word vandalism was the VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:46 Oct 16, 2018 Jkt 247001 common definition of willful or malicious destruction or defacement of public or private property. FTA will implement the proposed definition adjustments. These changes will be reflected in the FY2018 NTD Policy Manual and NTD Glossary. In addition to clarifications to the mechanical failure definitions, FTA asked for feedback on current utility of the major mechanical failure and other mechanical failure metrics. FTA also offered two scenarios for adjusting these metrics and requested stakeholder feedback on these scenarios. FTA provides a summary of the feedback received below for stakeholder awareness. As the comments received did not indicate a consensus among stakeholders on the best way to improve the reporting of mechanical failures, FTA is not proposing to make any changes to reporting at this time. As stated in the original notice, FTA is not recommending any further changes to the major mechanical failure and other mechanical failure definitions at this time. FTA will use the feedback outlined below to inform any future changes to these data points. One commenter recommended adjusting the metric to track mean distance between delays to better align with industry practice and suggested changing the proposed definition of ‘‘other mechanical system failures’’ to include ‘‘all failures.’’ Another commenter states that collecting major mechanical system failures by fleet rather than mode ‘‘would not be an issue’’ but this has limited utility to an agency because they measure reliability using a different metric. The commenter suggests changing the proposed definition of ‘‘other mechanical system failures’’ to include ‘‘all failures’’. Two commenters did not support discontinuing reporting of other mechanical system failures. One stated that FTA should continue to collect it ‘‘with the intent to provide value to stakeholders’’ unless the financial burden is excessive. The second stated that discontinuing the reporting of other mechanical system failures would not reduce agency burden to maintain and analyze failure data. One commenter stated that changing the reporting threshold to failures requiring a work order would be inconsistent among agencies and would not make reporting more consistent. One commenter recommended that FTA discontinue the reporting of ‘‘partially cancelled trains’’ as this may be a source of inconsistent reporting. A final commenter expressed concern that collecting major mechanical system PO 00000 Frm 00239 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 failure by fleet rather than by mode may increase the reporting burden. They requested that FTA clearly articulate how the more granular data set will be used and allow the public to weigh if the utility of the data set balances the potential cost and burden before making any changes to the current metrics. K. Jane Williams, Acting Administrator. [FR Doc. 2018–22528 Filed 10–16–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Multiple IRS Information Collection Requests Departmental Offices, U.S. Department of the Treasury. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The Department of the Treasury will submit the following information collection requests to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and clearance in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, on or after the date of publication of this notice. The public is invited to submit comments on these requests. DATES: Comments should be received on or before November 16, 2018 to be assured of consideration. ADDRESSES: Send comments regarding the burden estimate, or any other aspect of the information collection, including suggestions for reducing the burden, to (1) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Attention: Desk Officer for Treasury, New Executive Office Building, Room 10235, Washington, DC 20503, or email at OIRA_Submission@ OMB.EOP.gov and (2) Treasury PRA Clearance Officer, 1750 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 8142, Washington, DC 20220, or email at PRA@treasury.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Copies of the submissions may be obtained from Jennifer Leonard by emailing PRA@treasury.gov, calling (202) 622–0489, or viewing the entire information collection request at www.reginfo.gov. SUMMARY: SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Title: Return by a U.S. Transferor of Property to a Foreign Corporation. OMB Control Number: 1545–0026. Type of Review: Revision of a currently approved collection. E:\FR\FM\17OCN1.SGM 17OCN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 201 (Wednesday, October 17, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 52611-52614]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-22528]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Transit Administration

[Docket No. FTA-2017-0010]


Response to Comments on National Transit Database Reporting 
Changes and Clarifications

AGENCY: Federal Transit Administration, DOT.

ACTION: Final response to comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 52612]]

SUMMARY: This notice responds to comments received on proposed changes 
and clarifications to the National Transit Database (NTD) reporting 
requirements published in the Federal Register on October 27, 2017 (ID: 
FTA-2017-0010).

DATES: All proposed changes and clarifications will be effective for 
NTD report year 2018.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Maggie Schilling, National Transit 
Database Program Manager, FTA Office of Budget and Policy, (202) 366-
2054 or [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Table of Contents

A. Background and Overview
B. Clarifications on reporting requirements related to the Transit 
Asset Management Program Rule
    a. Establishes a Definition of Capital Responsibility
    b. Clarifies Reporting Deadlines for New Assets
    c. Adds Non-Revenue Service/Yard Track and Total Track Without 
Capital Replacement Responsibility Category
C. Additional guidance on reportable safety events
D. Clarifications on reporting requirements for Job Access and 
Reverse Commute (JARC) fund recipients
E. Guidance on distinguishing between commuter and intercity service
F. Change to reporting requirements for non-rail for-profit 
providers of public transportation
G. Clarification of ``major mechanical system failures'' and ``other 
mechanical system failures'' definitions

A. Background and Overview

    The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) published a notice in the 
Federal Register on October 27, 2017 seeking public comment on several 
NTD reporting changes and clarifications. The comment period closed on 
December 26, 2017. FTA intended to implement the proposed changes in 
report year 2017; however, due to the timing of the notice's 
publication, FTA will implement all changes finalized in this Federal 
Register notice in report year 2018.
    Following is a summary of the comments received with FTA responses.

B. Clarifications on Reporting Requirements Related to the Transit 
Asset Management Program Rule (Published July 2016)

a. Definition of Capital Responsibility

    FTA received three comments on the proposed definition of capital 
responsibility. One agency requested a clarification on direct capital 
responsibility as it relates to transit agencies operating as a tenant 
railroad on FRA-regulated Class 1 infrastructure. Specifically, they 
asked if the railroad co-funds the replacement of guideway assets, does 
that denote direct capital responsibility? The agency stated that the 
information necessary to calculate the track performance metric (slow 
zones) may not be available to the tenant railroad. Finally, the agency 
asked FTA to consider exempting FRA-regulated Class 1 infrastructure 
from this definition.
    A second agency requested that FTA provide a specific definition of 
major repair and additional clarification on whether subrecipients who 
``lease or rent a facility for operations or an office space in a 
larger building for administration'' should include language in the 
lease agreement specifying who has capital responsibility.
    Finally, an agency requested clarification on whether both a 
`capital line' item expense and management oversight of an asset are 
required to meet the reporting threshold or if, as stated in the 
notice, this was intended to be an ``or'' statement.
    FTA Response: If an agency is jointly responsible for funding the 
replacement of guideway assets this does denote direct capital 
responsibility for the purposes of the Transit Asset Management rule 
and NTD reporting requirements. Additionally, FTA does not intend to 
exempt a tenant railroad operating on FRA-regulated Class 1 
infrastructure from the requirements of the Transit Asset Management 
rule. Successful transit asset management requires a comprehensive 
assessment of all the assets necessary to deliver service. Although a 
transit system may not currently have capital responsibility for an 
asset, if that asset is essential to the delivery of transit service, 
then that asset may well become part of a transit system's capital 
needs in the future. Finally, FTA believes that it is reasonable to 
expect that a tenant railroad will be provided with enough information 
to calculate the track performance metric (slow zones) from the host 
railroad in the normal course of operations.
    The current guidance on calculating the track performance metric 
requires the agency to record the total amount of track under 
performance restriction at 9 a.m. on the first Wednesday of each month. 
Daily slow order information provided to operations staff to alert them 
of service changes should provide the information necessary to 
calculate the performance metric.
    FTA does not currently have a published definition of major repair 
but clarifies that such a repair would be one with a useful life of 
more than one year. Additionally, FTA does not require an agency to 
include specific language in a lease or agreement to specify which 
entity has capital replacement responsibility.
    Finally, FTA clarifies that the definition of capital 
responsibility did not intend that both a ``capital line'' item expense 
and management oversight of an asset are required to meet the reporting 
threshold. As stated in the notice, this was intended to be an ``or'' 
statement.
    FTA will implement the definition of capital responsibility as 
stated in this notice in the FY 2018 NTD Policy Manual.

b. Clarification on the Reporting Deadlines for New Assets

    FTA did not receive any comments on the clarification that an 
agency is required to report a new asset to the NTD asset inventory in 
the fiscal year that the agency begins using the asset for public 
transportation service. FTA will include this guidance as proposed in 
the 2018 NTD Reporting Policy Manual.

c. Addition of Non-Revenue Service/Yard Track and Total Track Without 
Capital Replacement Responsibility Category

    FTA received four comments related to the inclusion of two 
additional track types to the asset inventory module: (1) Non-revenue 
service/yard track and, (2) total track without capital responsibility. 
One commenter expressed their support of the addition of total non-
revenue/yard track and total track without capital replacement 
responsibility.
    Although FTA did not specifically request comment on the 
established track categories of ``total tangent track'' and ``total 
curved track'' in this notice, three commenters stated that these two 
categories should be combined. One of the commenters believed that 
separating track into tangent and curved ``adds cost to data collection 
and reporting without adding value to transit agencies or the FTA''. 
Two commenters further requested that FTA clarify the degree of 
curvature necessary to differentiate between tangent and curved track. 
Finally, two commenters recommended three new track categories: (1) 
Mainline track work; (2) special track work (to include guarded 
curves); and (3) yard/secondary track work.
    FTA Response: FTA's Transit Economic Requirement Model (TERM) used 
to estimate the transit industry's state of good repair backlog, which 
is

[[Page 52613]]

reported to Congress biennially, currently includes different useful 
life assumptions for tangent vs. curved track. FTA has included these 
track categories for public comment in two past Federal Register 
notices (ID: FTA-2014-0006-0001 and ID: FTA-2015-0029-0001) and has 
finalized these categories during that notice and comment process. FTA 
appreciates the additional industry feedback on these categories but 
does not intend to make any changes beyond the additional categories 
proposed in this notice at this time. As the feedback received on the 
addition of non-revenue service/yard track and total track without 
capital replacement responsibility category was supportive, FTA will 
proceed with adding these categories to the database.
    FTA will further consider the request for clarification on the 
degree of curvature necessary for track to be considered curved vs. 
tangent. Additional guidance will be included in a future notice.
    In addition to providing comment on the track categories, one 
commenter included recommendations for adjusting the guideway 
categories collected in the NTD asset inventory. The guideway 
categories were included in two past Federal Register notices for 
public comment (ID: FTA-2014-0006-0001 and ID: FTA-2015-0029-0001). 
Based on comments received, the FTA finalized these categories and 
published them in the Federal Register on July 26, 2016 (ID: FTA-2014-
0006-0083). As these comments are outside of the scope of this notice, 
FTA is not providing response to these suggestions.

C. Additional Guidance on Reportable Safety Events

    FTA received two comments related to the additional guidance on 
reportable safety events. One agency expressed support for the 
additional guidance. One agency requested a clarification on whether a 
transit revenue vehicle needs to be ``in service'' when an incident 
occurs to be considered a reportable safety event.
    FTA Response: The definition published in the NTD glossary defines 
a ``revenue vehicle'' as ``the floating and rolling stock used to 
provide revenue service for passengers''. It does not specify that a 
``revenue vehicle'' is only considered such when it is in active 
revenue service. The FTA further clarifies that any event meeting the 
thresholds for a reportable event and involving a transit revenue 
vehicle, regardless of whether that vehicle is in revenue service at 
the time of the event, is reportable to the NTD safety module.
    FTA will include the additional guidance as published in the FY2018 
Safety Report Manual.

D. Clarifications on Reporting Requirements for Job Access Reverse 
Commuter (JARC) Fund Recipients

    FTA Response: FTA did not receive any comments on this 
clarification. FTA will proceed with the proposal to exempt from NTD 
reporting any subrecipient that only receives FTA money for Urbanized 
Area (5307) or Rural Area (5311) funded JARC projects that are not 
public transportation projects, and does not have any transit operating 
or capital expenses from any other 5307 or 5311 FTA funding sources.

E. Guidance on Distinguishing Between Commuter and Intercity Service

    FTA received four comments related to the guidance on 
distinguishing between commuter and intercity service. One commenter 
stated that the clarification between commuter and intercity service 
``might imply that all public transportation and intercity 
transportation are mutually exclusive'' and that ``such a statement 
would be contrary to the plain wording of the statutory definition of 
public transportation.'' One commenter requested a clarification of the 
term ``qualified statistician.'' They specifically asked if a general 
consulting firm would be able to complete the work of a qualified 
statistician. Two commenters stated that requiring a survey of service 
to establish the percentage of riders taking same day trips when FTA 
deems it necessary seems ``arbitrary.'' They requested that FTA set a 
clear threshold for when a survey would be required. One commenter 
further believes that the survey seemed overly burdensome.
    FTA Response: FTA does not have a published definition of 
``qualified statistician'' but clarifies that a general consulting firm 
or an individual with education or training in mathematics, statistics, 
or a related quantitative field would be able to complete the work of a 
qualified statistician.
    FTA did not intend to imply that intercity service and public 
transportation are mutually exclusive in their entirety. In some cases, 
commuters may ride intercity service to reach their destination, and in 
some cases intercity passengers may ride a commuter service to reach 
their destination. As a clarification, this notice and the previous 
notice referenced (FTA-2016-0006) are distinguishing between commuter 
and intercity service for the purpose of allocating service information 
to an urbanized area in the NTD and for inclusion in the Urbanized Area 
Formula program.
    Intercity service that meets the statutory definition of public 
transportation at 49 U.S.C 5302 is reportable to the NTD as public 
transportation service but only the portion that is located within the 
boundaries of an urbanized area may be attributed to that urbanized 
area. Intercity service located outside of the urbanized area would be 
attributable at a rate of 27 percent per 49 U.S.C. 5336. In contrast, 
service meeting the definition of commuter service would be fully 
attributable to the urbanized area regardless of its location.
    This notice clarifies that the existing definition of commuter 
service applies to ferry boats and that ferry service is only fully 
attributable to an urbanized area if at least 50 percent of passengers 
are making a return trip on the same day. If the ferry does not meet 
this threshold, it would be considered intercity service and service 
located outside of the urbanized area would be attributable at a rate 
of 27 percent per 49 U.S.C. 5336.
    Current FTA policy requires a passenger survey of new commuter 
service to the NTD to establish that it meets the criteria for 
reportable commuter rail or bus service. This notice simply extends 
this requirement to ferry service. Further, FTA recognizes that this 
survey is both time consuming and costly to an agency. This notice 
attempted to reduce the burden on agencies by presuming that those 
services with 100 percent one-way trip times of 90 minutes or less are 
commuter services, without requiring a passenger survey. The notice did 
preserve FTA's discretion to survey services outside of this boundary 
or with characteristics suggesting that they may not meet the 
definition of commuter service. Those services would still need to 
complete a survey to establish that they meet the threshold of commuter 
service.
    In response to the request for a more definitive threshold, FTA 
clarifies that services with 100 percent one-way trip times of 30 
minutes or less will not require a survey to establish the service as 
commuter. FTA will continue to presume that services with 100 percent 
one-way trip times of 90 minutes or less are commuter services, while 
maintaining discretion to request a survey of those with service 
characteristics suggesting that they may not meet the definition of 
commuter service.
    FTA will include these clarifications as presented in the notice 
and this

[[Page 52614]]

response in the 2018 NTD Policy Manual.

F. Change to Reporting Requirements for Non-Rail For-Profit Providers 
of Public Transportation

    FTA received two comments on the proposed change to reporting 
requirements for non-rail for-profit providers of public 
transportation. One agency stated that the ``safety of passengers and 
good stewardship of any associate tax dollars is a higher priority'' 
than protecting competitive advantage of for-profit providers. A second 
agency strongly opposed the change and stated that FTA failed to 
``provide any evidence'' of the assertion that reporting as a full 
reporter may compromise a company's ability to successfully compete for 
business. They further expressed concern that most of the identified 
providers are in the New York-Newark, NY-NJ-CT urbanized area and 
believed this change would disproportionately reduce the Urbanized Area 
Formula apportionment for New York. They ``urged FTA to eliminate this 
proposal from further consideration'' or issue the proposal for public 
comment along with additional detail for the public to review.
    FTA Response: FTA agrees that the safety of passengers and the good 
stewardship of public tax dollars are the highest priorities. Although, 
FTA does not believe that this proposal represents any risk to the 
safety of transit passengers, FTA is sensitive to the concerns 
expressed that this proposal could primarily impact the New York-
Newark, NY-NJ-CT urbanized area. FTA is withdrawing this proposed 
change. Reporting requirements will remain the same for non-rail, for-
profit providers of public transportation.

G. Clarification of Mechanical Failure Definitions

    FTA received five comments on the clarification of mechanical 
failure definitions and request for feedback on potential definition 
changes. Two commenters support the proposed definition change. One 
commenter requested clarification on ``vandalism.'' Specifically, they 
asked FTA to clarify whether a door defect caused by a customer holding 
a door should be considered vandalism under the proposed definition.
    FTA Response: FTA clarifies that a door defect caused by normal 
interaction with customers boarding and alighting the vehicle, 
including attempting to hold a door to allow for normal boarding and 
alighting would not be considered ``vandalism.'' FTA's use of the word 
vandalism was the common definition of willful or malicious destruction 
or defacement of public or private property.
    FTA will implement the proposed definition adjustments. These 
changes will be reflected in the FY2018 NTD Policy Manual and NTD 
Glossary.
    In addition to clarifications to the mechanical failure 
definitions, FTA asked for feedback on current utility of the major 
mechanical failure and other mechanical failure metrics. FTA also 
offered two scenarios for adjusting these metrics and requested 
stakeholder feedback on these scenarios. FTA provides a summary of the 
feedback received below for stakeholder awareness. As the comments 
received did not indicate a consensus among stakeholders on the best 
way to improve the reporting of mechanical failures, FTA is not 
proposing to make any changes to reporting at this time.
    As stated in the original notice, FTA is not recommending any 
further changes to the major mechanical failure and other mechanical 
failure definitions at this time. FTA will use the feedback outlined 
below to inform any future changes to these data points.
    One commenter recommended adjusting the metric to track mean 
distance between delays to better align with industry practice and 
suggested changing the proposed definition of ``other mechanical system 
failures'' to include ``all failures.''
    Another commenter states that collecting major mechanical system 
failures by fleet rather than mode ``would not be an issue'' but this 
has limited utility to an agency because they measure reliability using 
a different metric. The commenter suggests changing the proposed 
definition of ``other mechanical system failures'' to include ``all 
failures''.
    Two commenters did not support discontinuing reporting of other 
mechanical system failures. One stated that FTA should continue to 
collect it ``with the intent to provide value to stakeholders'' unless 
the financial burden is excessive. The second stated that discontinuing 
the reporting of other mechanical system failures would not reduce 
agency burden to maintain and analyze failure data.
    One commenter stated that changing the reporting threshold to 
failures requiring a work order would be inconsistent among agencies 
and would not make reporting more consistent.
    One commenter recommended that FTA discontinue the reporting of 
``partially cancelled trains'' as this may be a source of inconsistent 
reporting.
    A final commenter expressed concern that collecting major 
mechanical system failure by fleet rather than by mode may increase the 
reporting burden. They requested that FTA clearly articulate how the 
more granular data set will be used and allow the public to weigh if 
the utility of the data set balances the potential cost and burden 
before making any changes to the current metrics.

K. Jane Williams,
Acting Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2018-22528 Filed 10-16-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE P