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GOVERNING LAW

The Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation Assistance Act (STURAA - see below) of 1987, Section 317: Bus Testing, establishes a requirement for new model buses to be tested prior to purchase with federal funds. It also established the Bus Testing Center and defined the tests to be performed on the new model buses.

In 1991, the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA - see below) amended Section 317 of STURAA in two significant ways: it requires additional tests be performed for emissions and brake performance, and it specifically adds alternative fuel buses to those required to be tested. ISTEA also authorizes the FTA to pay 80 percent of the costs of bus testing.

The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, TEA-21, is the name given to the Federal legislation (Public Law 105-178) that is the successor legislation to the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act and was signed into law on June 9, 1998, changing the contract between Penn State and the Federal Transit Administration to a cooperative agreement and continuing funding until 2004.

In August 2005, President Bush signed into law the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). This law modified the Bus Testing Regulation (49 CFR Part 665) to incorporate tests for brake performance and emissions and continues to provide funding for the program.

STURAA - The Bus Testing Law
The Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation Assistance Act of 1987, Section 317: Bus Testing, amends Section 12 (General Provisions) of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Act of 1964 as follows: After September 30, 1989, no new bus model may be acquired under the Act unless a bus of such model has been tested at a bus testing facility. The Act specifies that the bus testing facility shall be established by renovation of an existing facility (in Altoona, Pennsylvania). The Act defines the term new bus model to mean a bus model not previously used (prior to October 1988) in mass transportation service in the United States or one produced with a major change in configuration or components. The bus testing facility shall be capable of testing a bus for maintainability, reliability, safety, performance, structural integrity, fuel economy, and noise. The bus testing facility shall be operated under a contract with FTA by a qualified organization that shall collect fees for testing. Additional information regarding bus testing law is provided in the Federal Register.

ISTEA'S Impact on STURAA
The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA), signed into law by President Bush in December 1991, requires adaptation of the existing facilities and procedures to accommodate testing of alternative fueled buses and to add brake performance and emissions testing. The facilities will accommodate the testing and repair of vehicles using the following fuels: gasoline, diesel, compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG), methanol/ethanol, propane, and battery-powered electric. Modifications will provide for the storage and dispensing of the above fuels as well as the installation of all required safety equipment. New test procedures and equipment will allow the testing required for alternative-fueled vehicles. Specifically, new fuel economy test rigs will withstand the corrosive effects of methanol and ethanol; additional systems will measure the consumption of LNG, CNG, and electrical power. Procedures will also address safety considerations for handling, dispensing, and testing with alternative fuels. The ISTEA amended Section 317 of STURAA to authorize the FTA to pay 80 percent of the costs of bus testing.