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that identifies the motivations and expectations that have led to the proposed project.  When based on analytical results of planning and project development, this narrative may provide a persuasuve justification for the need for and of the expected performance of the proposed project that FTA could incorporate into the presentation of the project to various federal participants in the Small Starts funding process.  

A strong case for a proposed project will:

Identify the nature, extent, and timing of the problem(s) being addressed, including:

o

Roadway congestion, including the specific travel markets contributing to and affected by congestion;

o

The effects of roadway congestion on transit service, performance, and competitiveness;

o

Limitations on transit capacity and their effects;

o

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

o

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:

o

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

o

Projected ridership response to these improvements; and

o

Expected economic-development impacts.

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

o

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

o

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.

2.2 Small Starts Local Financial Commitment

The capital and operating plan ratings will be equally weighted to determine the overall local financial commitment rating.  If the amount of Small 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 16

Guidance on New Starts Policies and ProceduresJuly, 2007

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