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implementing previous projects; 3) industry experience with the proposed project type in similar settings; 4) the reliability of the forecasting methods; 5) the degree to which future ridership projections depend on substantial population and employment growth beyond the opening year; 6) the use of innovative contractual agreements for operations; and 7) mitigation actions taken by the project sponsor.  The reliability rating will be used to raise or lower the rating for the criteria affected by reliability.

Understanding uncertainty will allow FTA to better recommend funding among projects with similar costs and benefits, but with significant differences in uncertainties.  A better understanding of uncertainties will facilitate a better understanding of why costs and ridership vary from predictions so that better approaches to forecasts can be developed for future projects.  Additionally, because a major purpose of planning and project development studies is to disclose information for decision-making, a more explicit representation of uncertainties better informs decision-makers by providing richer information about the likelihood of achieving the project benefits and costs.   

1.1.4 New Starts Other Factors

FTA proposes to incorporate under “other factors” two specific considerations. 1) if a proposed New Starts project is a principle element of a congestion management strategy, in general, and a pricing- strategy. , in particular, the project justification rating will be increased if near a breakpoint and 2) FTA proposes to rate the degree to which a New Starts project addresses significant transportation problems or opportunities in a corridor and the appropriateness of the preferred alternative as a response by reviewing the contents of the “make-the-case document” as a standard criterion under “other factors.” In cases where a project’s justification rating is near a breakpoint, a ‘‘high” make-the-case rating will increase the project’s rating- and a “low” make-the-case rating will decrease the rating.  Moreover, FTA will continue to encourage the reporting, under “other factors,” of any information on significant project benefits that project sponsors do not think is captured under the other criteria.  .

(1)  For several years, FTA has required a make-the-case document that includes specific, quantifiable information on the merits of a proposed New Starts project.  The make-the-case document is intended to provide FTA and other stakeholders with a coherent, succinct narrative 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 persuasive justification of the need 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 New Starts funding process.  

A strong case for a proposed project will:

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


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


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

Federal Transit AdministrationPage 9

Guidance on New Starts Policies and ProceduresJuly, 2007

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