Status of the Nation's Highways, Bridges, and Transit:
2002 Conditions and Performance Report
|Chapter 27: Transit on Federal Lands|
Part I: Description of Current System
Part II: Investment Performance Analyses
Part III: Bridges
Part IV: Special Topics
Part V: Supplemental Analyses of System Components
Federal lands account for about 29 percent of the land area of the United States, principally in the western part of the country. Over the past decade, these lands have been used increasingly for recreational purposes while business activities such as the extraction of minerals and lumber have declined. This section, which discusses transit needs on Federal lands, is provided as a complement to the section on the Federal Lands Highway System, in Appendix E of the 1999 C&P Report.
A large number of Federally-managed sites have the capacity to accommodate more visitors, but are unable to expand their roadway and parking capacity without incurring prohibitive costs or negatively affecting the natural environment. In many cases, transit can serve as a cost-effective method of accommodating additional visitors while preserving the natural environment and providing visitors with a pleasant experience. As more tourists continue to visit Federally-managed sites, additional investments in transit services will be needed to achieve the following goals within these lands and their adjacent communities:
Description of Federal Lands
Federal lands include the National Park Service (NPS), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). NPS, BLM, and USFWS are administered by the Department of the Interior and the USFS by the Department of Agriculture. The extent of the geographical holdings of each of these Federal land areas and a brief description of some of the existing transit services on each are provided below.
The majority of funding for the provision of transit services on Federal lands is allocated through State and local transportation authorities, but is not specifically targeted for transit programs on Federal lands. Transit programs on Federal lands are required to compete with other transit projects in the same State or local jurisdiction for Federal funds. A smaller percentage of funds is allocated to transit projects on Federal lands through the Federal Lands Highway Program (FLHP), which disburses funds exclusively to Federal Lands Management Agencies (FLMA). In the past, the bulk of FHLP funds have been used primarily for future roadway and bridge projects and not for transit. As the funds needed to maintain roadways and bridges on Federal lands are likely to continue to exceed available FHLP funds, only a very limited amount of funding for transit programs is expected to come from this source in the future.
Over the past decade, several initiatives were undertaken to examine transit issues on Federal lands. A study mandated by ISTEA reported that over-crowding, traffic congestion, and pollution were affecting the quality of tourism in the more heavily visited National parks. In 1997, a memorandum of understanding was signed by the Secretaries of Transportation and the Interior in which the two Departments agreed to work together to address transportation and resource management issues in and around National parks. Section 3039 of TEA-21 mandated that the Secretaries undertake a comprehensive study of transit needs in National parks and related Federal lands managed by the Interior Department. The resulting study, Federal Lands Alternative Transportation Systems, (ATS), was published in August 2001 and identified significant transit needs at sites managed by NPS, BLM, and USFWS.
The ATS study evaluated 207 Federal land sites, 85 with extensive field visits and 122 with telephone calls or brief visits. Many of the NPS sites examined by the ATS study would not be easily accessible without transit. These sites include the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, and the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii. Transit needs were identified at 118 of 169 NPS sites that were included in the study based on the recommendations of NPS. Needs were also identified at five of the 15 BLM sites visited, and 13 of the 23 USFWS sites. Transit needs include improving or expanding existing transit services and implementing new services. Transit needs were found to be modest and able to be served by a small number of vehicles operating on a seasonal basis in most of the Federal sites that were included in the study.
As shown in Exhibit 27-1, total transit needs for the 20-year period are estimated to be $1.71 billion in 1999 dollars as reported by the ATS study ($1.75 billion in 2000 dollars). NPS will have the largest transit needs, estimated at just under $1,554 million ($1,586 million in 2000 dollars), followed by USFWS with estimated needs of $126 million ($129 million in 2000 dollars), and BLM with $30 million ($31 million in 2000 dollars). Of this amount, $1.3 million will be needed for bus and rail/ guideway (a very small percentage for rail/guideway), and $0.2 million for water services. Bus transit is, and will continue to be, the most common form of transit service on Federal lands, although water transportation needs are also expected to be significant. The majority of BLM transit needs will be for waterborne systems. (Note that 1999 dollars were converted to 2000 dollars with the GDP chained price index reported in the Budget of the United States, FY2003.)
Transit needs were identified by the ATS study in 1999 dollars in two time segments— short-term (2001-2010) and long-term (2011-2020). Of the total 20-year period requirement of $1.71 billion, approximately $678 million, or 40 percent of the total, will be needed between 2001- 2010, and $1.03 billion between 2011-2020. Longer term transit needs are higher than shorter term needs as they include capital-intensive projects requiring long lead times for planning and obtaining funds.
The ATS study developed estimates for project development, vehicle capital costs, other capital costs, and operations and maintenance:
These costs, which are provided in Exhibit 27-2 and reported in 1999 dollars, are disaggregated according to whether they are short-term or long-term and whether they are needed to maintain and expand existing systems or develop new systems. Total upfront costs are comprised of project development costs, vehicle capital costs, and other capital costs. These costs combined are estimated to be $724 million and account for 42 percent of total projected costs. Project development costs account for five percent of the total 20-year period needs estimate. Over the 20-year period, these costs are estimated to be $90.4 million, $31 million to maintain and expand existing systems and $59 million to develop new systems. Vehicle capital costs account for 23 percent of the total needs estimate, at $396 million for the entire period. Vehicle capital costs required to maintain and expand existing systems are estimated to be just over $195 million, and those for developing new systems, just over $200 million. Other capital costs make up 14 percent of the total needs requirement, and are estimated to be $237 million over the 20-year period. An estimated $55 million would be required to maintain and expand existing systems and $182 million to put in place new systems. Operating and maintenance costs would be $986 million, or 58 percent of the total needs estimate. Thirty-three percent of these costs, or $322 million, would go toward existing systems, and 67 percent, or $664 million, to new systems. According to the ATS study, it would be possible to charge passenger fares at many sites to recover a portion of operations and maintenance expenditures.