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Limitations on transit capacity and their effects;


The impacts of congestion and other accessibility problems on specific economic-development plans; and


The extent to which these problems already exist or are projections of emerging difficulties.

Present the specific ways that the proposed project is effective in addressing the problem, including:


Improvements in the quality of transit service in terms of reduced travel and wait times, and improved reliability, comfort and convenience;


Projected ridership response to these improvements; and


Expected economic-development impacts.

Outline the merits of the proposed project as a candidate for New Starts funding, including:


The benefits and costs of the project compared to the baseline alternative; and


The benefits and costs of the project compared to lower-cost “build” alternatives.

FTA will assign a rating of “high,” “medium,” or “low” to the strength of the information contained in the make-the-case document.    A “high” rating will be assigned to projects that effectively address severe near-term transportation or economic-development problems.  A “low” rating will be assigned to projects that are ineffective investments in corridors with minor transportation or economic-development problems.  All other projects will be assigned a “medium” rating.  FTA will use make-the-case ratings of “high” and “low” to determine the project justification rating of projects that are at the margin between two overall-rating outcomes.

(2)  If the proposed project’s rating is near a breakpoint and is a principle element of a congestion management strategy in general, and a pricing strategy, in particular, its overall project rating will be increased

This provision re-affirms the metropolitan planning requirement (49 U.S.C. 5303(k)(3)) that metropolitan  planning organizations serving Transportation Management Areas undertake a Congestion Management Process. It also supports the initiative of the Secretary of Transportation, which is to promote strategies that reduce highway congestion.  Pricing strategies have been shown to reduce congestion and support higher transit ridership.  Because the magnitude of the effect is not well captured by travel forecasts, consideration of pricing strategies under the general mobility measure allows FTA to account for the expected increase in transportation benefits, even if they are not readily verifiable.

1.2 New Starts Local Financial Commitment

FTA proposes that the capital and operating plan ratings be equally weighted to determine the overall local financial commitment rating.  In addition, if the amount of New Starts funding requested is less than 50% of the total project cost and the project has an overall local financial commitment rating of “medium” or “medium-high”, the rating would be increased one level.  

Federal Transit AdministrationPage 10

Guidance on New Starts Policies and ProceduresJuly, 2007

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