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Sunday, April 20, 2014

COTA gets approval for online reporting system

Joseph Eldredge, National Transit Database, Federal Transit Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, informed the Commonwealth Office of Transit Authority last month that its application for the National Transit Database online reporting system has been approved.

U.S. Public Law 109-59 requires agencies to submit operating data to FTA in order to qualify for Section 5311 Rural Area grants in future apportionments. NTD is the mechanism FTA uses to collect that data, said Eldredge.

"MAP-21 establishes annual reporting requirements for recipients and beneficiaries of Section 5311 Other than Urbanized Area formula grants while maintaining existing NTD Urban reporting requirements for recipients and beneficiaries of Urbanized Area Formula funds," said Thomas J. Camacho, special assistant for public transportation and chairman of the Commonwealth Public Transportation Advisory Board.

The NTD is the FTA’s primary national database for statistics on the transit industry. Recipients of FTA’s Urbanized Area Formula Program and Rural Formula Program are required by statute to submit data to the NTD. T

NTD data collection and reporting helps meet the needs of individual public transportation systems, the U.S. government, state and local governments, and the public for information on which to base public transportation service planning.

The Secretary of Transportation shall maintain a reporting system, using uniform categories to accumulate public transportation financial, operating, and asset condition information and using a uniform system of accounts. The reporting and uniform systems shall contain appropriate information to help any level of government make a public sector investment decision. The Secretary may request and receive appropriate information from any source.

Each recipient under this section shall submit an annual report to the Secretary containing information on capital investment, operations, and service provided with funds received under this section, including total annual revenue; sources of revenue; total annual operating costs; total annual capital costs; fleet size and type, and related facilities; vehicle revenue miles; and ridership.

NTD began collecting rural transit data in 2006 using a model that was developed in consultation with states. The 2007 reporting system was updated to reflect the above data requirements. States receiving Section 5311 funds must report to NTD. Once the CNMI through COTA submits its data to NTD, it establishes hardcore data critical to transit planning and advantageous for the Commonwealth with respect to future FTA funding assistance such as the planned fixed-flex route and ferry boat systems, said Camacho.

For purposes of the NTD, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands are treated as states (although the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands do not receive any Section 5311 grants). The state agency, typically the state Department of Transportation administering the FTA Formula Program for Other than Urbanized Areas are responsible for collecting and providing data regarding each Section 5311 subrecipient in the state. The first data report due from COTA’s fiscal year 2013 data is Jan. 31, 2014, said Camacho. (Office of the Governor)

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