The Fort Smith Board of Directors approved at its meeting Tuesday a Transit Asset Management Plan to ensure the city’s assets remain in working order.
TAMP is a four-year plan to evaluate the condition of vehicles used to transport passengers, other equipment and service vehicles, along with facilities such as the administration and maintenance buildings.
“It provides more clarity and definition to our transit program and how the program operates and manages its assets and facilities,” said Jeff Dingman, deputy city administrator.
The report presented to the Board of Directors gave a quantifiable baseline indication of whether the city’s assets are in a state of good repair — the condition to determine if a vehicle or building can operate at its full capacity — and the level at which vehicles, particularly, should perform in the future.
“We learned from doing this report is that all of our vehicles do meet these (federal) standards set forth by the FTA,” said Ken Savage, Fort Smith director of transit. “We’re content to be within those guidelines, but at the same time, we have to be aggressive to make sure that our equipment doesn’t fall below standard.”
The plan also outlines how assets will be monitored to ensure the safety of their usage and how the results will be reported, using a specific rating scale. When a certain vehicle, for example, falls below a condition rating of 2.0 or has reached the end of what is considered its usable life in age and mileage, it is eligible for “disposition and replacement.” Savage said there will be more stringent monitoring and standards for the vehicles that transport passengers.
Fort Smith plans to spend more than $1.2 million from 2019-23 to keep the assets in a state of good repair and about $1.1 million for expansion or replacement, Savage said. This will be paid for through a combination of federal transportation grants and local funds.
The creation of the plan came after the Federal Transit Administration required agencies to submit Transit Asset Management plans by Oct. 1, 2018, but many of the practices have already been in effect at the department.
“The transit department has always done a good job of managing its assets, doing the appropriate replacements when they’ve reached their useful life and doing the proper maintenance on both the buses and facilities,” Dingman said.
Citizens likely won’t see much of a change when riding, but the plan will provide accountability and transparency for the department to continue the work it already does.
“I think it’s one more way of ensuring we have safe vehicles out there and to enjoy the transit system and the vehicles that we have,” Savage said. “Not only do we think they’re safe, but looking at it from an independent perspective, (for) a consultant to come in from outside our department and agree our vehicles are safe — that’s a good message to put out.”