As the administrator of the Rural Transit Program, ODOT must assure FTA that all grantees are complying with the various Federal regulations. TARs provide ODOT, as the administering and funding agency, the opportunity to learn more about the rural transit system’s operation, ensure local compliance with Federal and State requirements and thus assure FTA of that compliance, and to provide technical assistance in an effort to improve and enhance the rural transit program, both locally and statewide. TARs were previously called Quality Assurance Reviews (QARs). The scope of the review has not changed, only the name. The name of the review had to be changed for ODOT administrative reasons.
ODOT’s goal is to conduct a TAR for each system approximately once every four years. The reviews are conducted by ODOT staff.
ODOT notifies the grantee of an upcoming TAR as early as possible but typically three to four weeks prior to the site visit. The initial contact is made via telephone and then followed up in writing. ODOT provides a list of questions to each system used during the site visit. The list allows each review to be conducted uniformly and ensures that all TAR reports follow the same format.
Three functional areas are reviewed in each TAR: Administrative, Operations and Maintenance, and Regulatory Compliance. Each functional area has several sub areas.
During the site visit, interviews are conducted with all staff involved with the transit operation, the grantee and the service provider. TAR reviewers also ride the system and interview passengers.
The grantee may be asked to provide copies of various documents prior to the review or have them available during the site visit. The grantee and/or the service provider may also be asked to help coordinate schedules and arrange meeting sites for the interviews.
After the site visit, the TAR report is sent to the grantee. The report indicates whether each functional sub area is satisfactory or needs improvement. The report includes recommendations and requirements to address each sub area needing improvement. A list of the recommendations and requirements is included at the end of the report in an Action Plan. Requirements are high priority items that must be implemented as soon as possible to bring the Rural Transit System in compliance with Federal and State requirements. The remaining recommendations are also important and offer suggestions for improvement of the transit system’s overall operation. The grantee is asked to complete a draft Action Plan with Action Steps and send it back to ODOT within three weeks. The implementation dates in the schedule represent the grantee’s best estimate of when they can reasonably expect to implement each requirement. ODOT reviews the grantee’s draft Action Plan for reasonableness and may change dates if necessary. ODOT will produce a final Action Plan to monitor and document completion of each requirement. ODOT will also collect verification documentation from the grantee to close each requirement.