FTA Seeks Public Comment on PMO Rule

Written by Andrew Corselli
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The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced that it is seeking public comment on revisions to its Project Management Oversight (PMO) rule, which guides federal oversight of large transit capital investments.

The proposed changes would streamline the PMO regulation by reducing the number of projects subject to FTA project management oversight. A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) was recently published in the Federal Register.

The rule would redefine a “major capital project” as a new rail transit or bus rapid transit project—or an extension, rehabilitation or modernization of an existing transit system—with a total project cost of at least $300 million and with a federal investment of at least $100 million. The previous threshold defined a major capital project as a project costing at least $100 million but did not include federal support as a factor.

Federal public transportation law [49 U.S.C. § 5327 (d)] requires FTA to maintain a PMO regulation. The rule has not been updated since 1989, and the industry and economic conditions have changed significantly since. Other changes to the rule include updates to the elements of the required Project Management Plan that reflect industry best practices.

The NPRM will be on display in the Federal Register for a 60-day comment period.

“The number of transit capital projects has increased significantly since the PMO program was authorized in 1987 while infrastructure costs have continued to grow,” said FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams. “This proposed rule tailors the level of FTA oversight to the real costs, complexities and risks of major capital projects and right-sizes the role of federal oversight to make sure federal investments are sound but eliminates any unnecessary red tape for state and local leaders.”

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