Sending Office: Honorable Matt Cartwright
Endorsed by National Association of Counties
Buses carry more passengers than commuter rail, light rail, and ferries combined, while serving a critical role in providing paratransit services for people with disabilities. In 2017 alone, local and regional transit agencies used more than $1.5 billion
in federal funding to purchase buses.
Large transit agencies typically have dedicated procurement specialists who understand how to navigate the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) complex and cumbersome acquisition process. However, small, medium, and rural transit agencies – which account
for 95% of all transit agencies – often struggle to work through the steps required to procure buses with FTA funds, taking anywhere from six months to a year to finalize a procurement. In addition, complicated and confusing instructions and procedures can
further delay purchases and result in unnecessary expenses. Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, the limited purchasing power of smaller transit agencies generates few bids, keeping costs for them relatively high. They simply do not have the purchasing
power that the big cities have that’s often needed to strike the most economical deal possible for bus purchases.
The General Services Administration (GSA) currently assists federal agencies and other authorized entities with streamlined ways of making bus purchases from commercial providers at greatly reduced prices – on average 17% below the invoice price. Unfortunately,
transit agencies are not among eligible entities, making them unable to take advantage of the reduced cost and streamlined purchasing procedures.
Following up on the RECOMMENDATIONS OF A GAO REPORT (found at
https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-676), the Transit Bus Procurement Act (HR 5893) would direct GSA to
provide a source of supply for small and medium-sized transit agencies to purchase buses. This simple change will reduce the regulatory burden on small, medium, and rural transit agencies, allowing for a more efficient and cost-effective way to procure transit
buses while complying with federal procurement regulations. It also reduces administrative costs for bus manufacturers who would then be able to streamline sales via GSA.
For more information, and to become a cosponsor, please contact Hunter Ridgway at 5-5546 or at
Member of Congress
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