The RTA, as part of its financial oversight function, has historically maintained an interest in ensuring that the Service Boards have sufficient funding to operate and maintain their physical assets. For many years, the RTA has facilitated regional funding campaigns, overseen the issuing of bonds to provide funding for capital investments, and monitored the delivery of major projects of each of the Service Boards in order to achieve this objective. These efforts have been challenged for decades, as the lack of consistent, reliable capital funding has led to aging assets, unreliable service, and an enormous backlog of unmet capital funding needs.
The need for RTA to conduct long-term planning for maintaining the region’s transit assets was codified in the 2008 RTA Act. In response to the pressure to evaluate and prioritize capital investments, RTA initiated a capital asset condition assessment program in 2009 that was followed by development of a regional transit asset management (TAM) framework. The primary goal of that effort was to estimate the total capital needs for each of the Service Boards and develop a framework to prioritize capital projects based on a condition assessment of the current asset inventory. The initiative also included the development of the Capital Optimization Support Tool (COST), a customization of the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) TERM-Lite decision support tool and a database of all of the transit assets of the Northeastern Illinois RTA system operated by the three Service Boards.
Several Capital Asset Condition Assessment reports were published during this time that established a regional backlog estimate and other State of Good Repair (SGR) statistics helpful to the region’s transit capital advocacy efforts.
The RTA’s Capital Asset Condition Assessment activities ended in 2017, following the issuance of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA)’s July 26, 2016 TAM Rule (49 CFR part 625). The Service Boards are now required to maintain TAM programs, plans, and datasets for submission to the National Transit Database (NTD).
The RTA still maintains an interest in regional capital funding activities and has transitioned its TAM activities into a strategic asset management (SAM) framework to monitor the SGR of all of the regional transit assets of the system as a combined portfolio. The SAM function provides RTA with the tools to track mid- and long-term regional investment needs and to inform capital programming and planning processes for strategic investments, as referenced in the Framework For Transit Capital Investment.
Reports related to these activities can be found below.
RTA Historic Transit Asset Management Activities
2017 Capital Investment Needs of the RTA Region: Bridge the Gap
2016 RTA Capital Asset Condition Assessment Report
2014 RTA Capital Asset Condition Assessment Report
2013 RTA Capital Asset Condition Assessment Report
2011 RTA Capital Asset Condition Assessment Report
2010 RTA Capital Asset Condition Assessment Report