oversight

Mass Transit: FTA's Progress in Developing and Implementing a New Starts Evaluation Process

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1999-04-26.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                  United States General Accounting Office

GAO               Report to Congressional Committees




April 1999
                  MASS TRANSIT
                  FTA’s Progress in
                  Developing and
                  Implementing a New
                  Starts Evaluation
                  Process




GAO/RCED-99-113
      United States
GAO   General Accounting Office
      Washington, D.C. 20548

      Resources, Community, and
      Economic Development Division

      B-280884

      April 26, 1999

      The Honorable Phil Gramm
      Chairman
      The Honorable Paul S. Sarbanes
      Ranking Minority Member
      Committee on Banking, Housing,
        and Urban Affairs
      United States Senate

      The Honorable Bud Shuster
      Chairman
      The Honorable James Oberstar
      Ranking Democratic Member
      Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
      House of Representatives

      Since the early 1970s, the federal government has provided a large share of
      the nation’s capital investment in urban mass transportation. Much of this
      investment has come through the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA)
      “new starts” program, which funds major new rail, bus, and trolley transit
      projects that use separate and exclusive rights-of-way. In the last 5 years,
      this program has provided state and local transit agencies with about
      $3.8 billion to help design and construct such projects throughout the
      country.

      The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21),1 enacted in
      June 1998, authorizes $8.2 billion for new starts transit projects through
      fiscal year 2003.2 However, FTA has already entered into full funding grant
      agreements totaling $3.73 billion for 14 projects under construction.3 The
      remaining $4.47 billion falls far short of the $12.1 billion FTA estimates will
      be needed to construct 42 additional projects currently in the preliminary
      engineering and final design phases. FTA also expects that over $40 billion
      in federal funding will be requested to fund approximately 100 projects
      currently in the early planning stages. To prioritize funding, TEA-21 directs
      FTA to evaluate, rate, and recommend potential new starts projects on the

      1
       P. L. 105-178.
      2
       $6.1 million of these funds is “guaranteed,” that is, subject to a procedural mechanism designed to
      ensure that minimum amounts of funding are provided each year.
      3
       A full funding grant agreement establishes the terms and conditions of federal financial participation
      in the project and the maximum amounts of federal new starts financial assistance for the project. FTA
      considers projects for full funding grant agreements after they have progressed from the initial
      planning and preliminary engineering phases to the final design and construction phases.



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                   basis of specific financial and project justification criteria. TEA-21 also
                   requires FTA to issue regulations for the evaluation and rating process.

                   TEA-21 also requires GAO to report by April 30, 1999, and annually thereafter,
                   on FTA’s processes and procedures for evaluating, rating, and
                   recommending new starts transit projects for federal funding and on FTA’s
                   implementation of these processes and procedures. As agreed with your
                   offices, this report discusses (1) the status of FTA’s efforts to develop and
                   implement the evaluation and rating processes and procedures, (2) how
                   FTA implemented the TEA-21 requirements for evaluating, rating, and
                   recommending projects, and (3) open issues that FTA needs to resolve to
                   fully satisfy TEA-21 requirements.


                   FTA has made substantial progress in developing and implementing a new
Results in Brief   starts evaluation and rating process, as required by the Transportation
                   Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21). FTA had already revised its new
                   starts evaluation process, since the criteria and most of the factors that
                   TEA-21 requires FTA to consider while applying the criteria were also
                   contained in the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991
                   (ISTEA). In 1997, FTA first applied these criteria for its fiscal year 1999
                   project evaluations. In 1998, FTA expanded its evaluation process to
                   include the TEA-21 requirement to rate projects as either highly
                   recommended, recommended, or not recommended and to provide
                   individual ratings on each criterion.

                   The evaluation process FTA followed to prepare its fiscal year 2000 new
                   starts report, issued on March 23, 1999, uses ratings based upon specific
                   financial and project justification criteria to build toward an overall
                   project rating. FTA uses this rating information in deciding which projects
                   will receive full funding grant agreements and to make funding
                   recommendations to the Congress in its annual new starts report.

                   While FTA has implemented a new starts evaluation and rating process for
                   fiscal year 2000 that addressed TEA-21 requirements, it has not issued final
                   regulations on the evaluation and rating process, as required by the
                   legislation. FTA issued a proposed rule on April 7, 1999, and plans to issue
                   final regulations in the summer of 1999.


                        requires that before FTA may approve a grant or loan for a proposed
                   TEA-21
Background         new starts project, it must determine that the proposed project is based



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upon the results of an alternatives analysis4 and preliminary engineering
and justified by a comprehensive review of the proposed project’s mobility
improvements, environmental benefits, cost-effectiveness, and operating
efficiencies.5 Under TEA-21, in applying these justification criteria, FTA must
consider a number of factors, including land-use policies and congestion
relief.

In addition, a project must be supported by an acceptable degree of local
financial commitment, including evidence of stable and dependable
financing sources to construct, maintain, and operate the system or
extension. In evaluating this commitment, FTA is required to determine
whether (1) the proposed project plan provides for contingencies in order
to cover unanticipated cost increases; (2) each proposed local source of
capital and operating funds is stable, reliable, and available within the
timetable for the proposed project; and (3) local resources are available to
operate the overall proposed mass transportation system without requiring
a reduction in existing mass transportation services. FTA is also required to
consider a number of additional factors when evaluating a project’s local
financial commitment.

While these evaluation requirements existed prior to the enactment of
TEA-21, TEA-21 requires FTA, for the first time, to (1) develop a rating for each
criterion as well as an overall rating of highly recommended,
recommended, or not recommended for each project and to include this
information in its annual new starts report due to the Congress each
February, and (2) issue regulations on the manner in which it will evaluate
and rate potential new starts projects. TEA-21’s deadline for the regulations
was October 7, 1998.

TEA-21 also directs FTA to use these evaluations and ratings in approving
projects’ advancement to the preliminary engineering and final design
phases and in deciding which projects will be recommended to the
Congress for funding or receive full funding grant agreements. In addition,
TEA-21 requires FTA to issue a supplemental report to its annual report to
the Congress each August that updates information on projects that have
advanced to the preliminary engineering or final design phases since the
annual report.



4
 An alternatives analysis is a study performed by local transportation planning officials that evaluates
all reasonable alternatives for addressing a transportation problem in a given corridor and identifies a
locally preferred solution.
5
 Significant provisions regarding new starts projects, including criteria and factors for FTA’s
consideration, are found at 49 U.S.C. 5309.


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                                       FTA has made substantial progress in developing and implementing an
FTA Has Made                           evaluation process that includes the individual criterion ratings and overall
Substantial Progress                   project ratings required by TEA-21. Before TEA-21 was enacted in June 1998,
in Developing and                      FTA had already taken significant steps to revise its new starts evaluation
                                       process, since most of the evaluation requirements contained in TEA-21
Implementing a New                     were introduced by ISTEA.6 In March 1999, FTA issued its fiscal year 2000
Starts Evaluation                      new starts report, which included project evaluations and ratings based
                                       upon the revised process.
Process That Reflects
TEA-21 Requirements                    Table 1 highlights key dates in the chronology of FTA’s development of its
                                       new starts evaluation process.

Table 1: Chronology of FTA’s Revised
New Starts Evaluation Process          Date                                 Action
                                       12/91                                ISTEA expanded the criteria for assessing new starts
                                                                            projects.
                                       09/94                                FTA proposed revised measures for assessing projects in
                                                                            policy paper.
                                       12/96                                FTA issued a notice describing measures to be used for
                                                                            the fiscal year 1999 assessments.
                                       09/97                                FTA used technical guidance and outreach sessions to
                                                                            describe how the criteria would be reported and applied
                                                                            for the fiscal year 1999 new starts report.
                                       05/98                                FTA issued the fiscal year 1999 new starts report based
                                                                            upon the revised criteria.
                                       06/98                                TEA-21required ratings on each criterion and overall
                                                                            project ratings.
                                       09/98                                FTA used technical guidance and outreach sessions to
                                                                            describe how projects would be rated for the fiscal year
                                                                            2000 new starts report.
                                       01/99                                FTA issued the fiscal year 1999 new starts supplemental
                                                                            report.
                                       03/99                                FTA rated projects as required by TEA-21 in the fiscal year
                                                                            2000 report.

                                       In response to ISTEA’s expansion of the evaluation criteria, FTA issued a
                                       policy paper in September 1994 proposing its overall assessment strategy
                                       and criteria measures. FTA circulated this paper among interested parties,
                                       including state and local governments, transit agencies, metropolitan
                                       planning organizations, and consultants. In December 1996, after

                                       6
                                        ISTEA expanded the statutory requirement that a new starts project be cost-effective and supported
                                       by an adequate degree of local financial commitment by requiring, among other things, that a project
                                       be “justified” on the basis of a “comprehensive review of its mobility improvements, environmental
                                       benefits, cost-effectiveness, and operating efficiencies.” ISTEA also identified specific considerations
                                       such as local land-use policies and patterns to be taken into account when evaluating candidate
                                       projects.



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reviewing the comments received, FTA issued a notice describing the
revised criteria it would use in 1997 to evaluate candidate new starts
projects for fiscal year 1999. The notice also introduced measures for
mobility improvements, environmental benefits, operating efficiencies,
cost-effectiveness, and transit-supportive land use.7 FTA’s existing process
for assessing and rating a project’s local financial commitment did not
change.

In September 1997, FTA issued technical guidance on the ISTEA new starts
criteria to assist project sponsors in submitting the information and
documentation that the agency needed to prepare the fiscal year 1999
evaluations. The guidance identified the new starts criteria, documented
the reporting procedures for the criteria, and outlined how FTA would
apply each of the criteria in evaluating candidate projects. For example, in
evaluating mobility improvements, FTA said it would look at the expected
savings in travel time. FTA also conducted workshops at which the new
criteria and reporting requirements were discussed in detail with grantees.
FTA’s fiscal year 1999 new starts report, submitted to the Congress in
May 1998, included evaluations that were based upon these criteria.

The supplemental report to the fiscal year 1999 annual report, required by
TEA-21,was issued in January 1999. That report did not include the
individual ratings on each criterion and overall project ratings required by
TEA-21 because FTA had not yet incorporated these requirements at the time
the report was prepared. According to FTA officials, the fiscal year 2000
supplemental report will include these ratings.

Noting that TEA-21 made no changes to the existing new starts criteria and
added relatively few factors for consideration in applying the criteria, FTA
completed the fiscal year 2000 project evaluations using its existing new
starts criteria. However, as described in more detail in the next section of
this report, FTA revised its evaluation process to provide for the individual
criterion ratings and overall ratings required by TEA-21. In September 1998,
at the start of the fiscal year 2000 process, FTA used letters and a series of
outreach sessions to explain to its grantees how it planned to rate projects
for the fiscal year 2000 evaluations. It also issued an addendum to its
technical guidance to assist grantees in submitting the required
information for the fiscal year 2000 process. In its fiscal year 2000 new
starts report submitted to the Congress on March 23, 1999, FTA provided
evaluations, individual criterion ratings, and an overall project rating for

7
 FTA included local land use among the project justification criteria because it believes that
transit-supportive land-use policies reduce the risk of a project and therefore reflect whether the
project will be successful or not.



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                        39 projects in the final design and preliminary engineering phases.8 FTA
                        rated 8 projects as highly recommended, 11 projects as recommended, and
                        20 projects as not recommended. The report also included funding
                        recommendations for 11 of the 39 projects that FTA rated.


                        FTA’s  current new starts evaluation process, which it followed to prepare
FTA’s Evaluation and    its fiscal year 2000 new starts report, assigns candidate projects individual
Rating Process          ratings for each TEA-21 criterion in order to assess each project’s
Assigns Individual      justification and local financial commitment. The process also assigns an
                        overall rating for each project. FTA considers these overall ratings in
Ratings on TEA-21       deciding which projects will be recommended for funding or receive full
Criteria and Provides   funding grant agreements.
for Overall Project     As figure 1 illustrates, FTA evaluates and rates projects in three stages.
Ratings                 First, FTA evaluates and rates projects on each new starts criterion.
                        Second, FTA uses these individual ratings on each criterion to assign
                        summary project justification and local financial commitment ratings for
                        each project. Finally, FTA then combines these two ratings to assign an
                        overall project rating.




                        8
                         The report included information on three additional projects that FTA did not rate because of
                        insufficient information.



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Figure 1: The FTA New Starts Evaluation and Rating Process


Stage 3                                                       Overall project
                                                                  rating



Stage 2
                    Local financial                                                                                  Project
                     commitment                                                                                    justification
                        rating                                                                                        rating


                                                                                                   Other
                                                                                                  factorsb




Stage 1
           Local        Capital         Operating                 Mobility        Environmental          Operating                     Cost-       Land-
           share     finance plan     finance plan             improvements         benefits             efficiencies              effectiveness    use
          ratinga        rating           rating                   rating             rating                rating                     rating      rating


                                                     a
                                                      The local share is the percentage of a project’s capital cost to be funded from sources other than
                                                     new starts funding.
                                                     b
                                                      According to FTA, this optional criterion gives grantees the opportunity to provide additional
                                                     information about a project that may contribute in determining the project’s overall success.


                                                     Source: FTA.


                                                     As figure 1 shows, FTA’s current process provides for individual ratings for
                                                     the four project justification criteria identified by TEA-21 (mobility
                                                     improvements, environmental benefits, operating efficiencies, and
                                                     cost-effectiveness) as well as for transit-supportive land-use policies.9
                                                     Similarly, to evaluate a project’s financial commitment, the project is rated
                                                     on its capital and operating finance plans and the local share of project
                                                     costs. According to FTA, the process also takes into account the factors for
                                                     consideration identified in TEA-21, such as congestion relief. For example,
                                                     FTA considers this factor in evaluating and rating a project’s
                                                     cost-effectiveness.

                                                     To develop and assign individual ratings on each criterion, FTA holds a
                                                     series of meetings to review and analyze information submitted by project
                                                     sponsors. For the fiscal year 2000 process, participants in these meetings
                                                     included officials and staff from FTA’s Offices of Planning, Budget and


                                                     9
                                                      In rating projects on this criterion, FTA considers such factors as existing land use, the containment
                                                     of sprawl, and transit-supportive policies and zoning.



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Policy, and Program Management, and contractors who made the initial
financial and land-use assessments. On the basis of an analysis of the
documentation submitted by project sponsors, FTA assigns each project a
descriptive rating of high, medium-high, medium, low-medium or low for
each project justification and local financial commitment criterion.
Appendix I summarizes the measures that FTA uses in applying the criteria
to develop these ratings.

Once the individual criterion ratings are completed, FTA assigns summary
ratings of project justification and local financial commitment by
combining the individual criterion ratings. In developing the summary
project justification ratings, FTA gives the most weight to the criteria for
transit-supportive land use, cost-effectiveness, and mobility
improvements. For the summary local financial commitment rating, the
project’s capital plan is given the most consideration. In assigning a
summary financial commitment rating, FTA will not give a project a rating
higher than low-medium if its capital finance plan received a low-medium
or low rating.

FTA combines these summary ratings to assign an overall project rating of
highly recommended, recommended, or not recommended. To receive the
highly recommended rating, a project must have summary ratings of at
least medium-high for project justification and local financial commitment.
To receive a rating of recommended, the project must have summary
ratings of at least medium. A project is rated as not recommended when
either summary rating is less than medium.

In its fiscal year 2000 new starts report, as noted previously, FTA rated 8
projects as highly recommended, 11 projects as recommended, and 20
projects as not recommended. Of the 20 projects rated as not
recommended, 18 received financial commitment ratings of less than
medium. In assigning overall project ratings, however, FTA emphasized the
continuous nature of project evaluation. Throughout the report, FTA
underscored the fact that as candidate projects proceed through the
project development process, information concerning costs, benefits, and
impacts will be refined. Consequently, FTA will update its ratings and
recommendations at least annually to reflect new information, changing
conditions, and refined financing plans.10 Thus, a project that received a
not recommended rating in the fiscal year 2000 report could receive a
higher rating in the fiscal year 2001 report to reflect project changes.

10
  FTA’s supplemental report issued each August will also update ratings for projects that have
advanced from alternatives analysis to preliminary engineering and from preliminary engineering to
final design since the annual report.



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According to FTA, the overall project rating in the new starts report is
intended to reflect a project’s merits at a particular point in time and does
not translate directly into a funding recommendation or commitment in a
given year. In deciding which projects will be recommended for funding or
receive a full funding grant agreement, FTA considers projects with an
overall rating of recommended or better. However, some projects rated as
highly recommended or recommended may not be ready for funding
because they are still in the early stages of preliminary engineering. In
making funding recommendations, FTA gives first priority to projects with
existing grant agreements. After these projects are accounted for, priority
is given to projects that are ready to begin final design or construction.

In accordance with these funding principles, the President’s fiscal year
2000 budget and FTA’s fiscal year 2000 new starts report recommended
$962.72 million in funding for 25 projects. As table 2 shows, these
recommendations included $668.18 million for 14 projects currently under
construction,11 $216.11 million for seven projects expected to enter final
design by the beginning of fiscal year 2000,12 and $32 million for four
projects in the later stages of preliminary engineering. TEA-21 limits the
amount of new starts funds that can be used for activities other than final
design and construction to 8 percent of total new starts funding, or
$78.43 million for fiscal year 2000. After accounting for the $32 million for
the four recommended projects in preliminary engineering, $46.43 million
remains available for other projects currently in or approved to enter
preliminary engineering by the end of fiscal year 2000. FTA plans to allocate
the remaining $46.43 million on the basis of its review of funding
applications and project ratings. The seven remaining projects in
preliminary engineering that received overall ratings of recommended or
highly recommended but no funding recommendation in the fiscal year
2000 report would be eligible to seek this funding. Appendix II presents
the ratings and funding recommendations in FTA’s fiscal year 2000 new
starts report.




11
  These fourteen projects have existing full funding grant agreements.
12
  FTA expects all seven projects to be ready to negotiate full funding grant agreements by the end of
fiscal year 2000.



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Table 2: FTA’s Fiscal Year 2000 New
Starts Funding Recommendations by     Dollars in millions
Project Phase                         Fiscal year 2000             Number of Amount of proposed           Percent of total
                                      project phase                  projects            funding          annual funding
                                      Construction                         14                 $668.18                  92%
                                      Final design                          7                 $216.11
                                      Preliminary engineering               4                      $32                  8%
                                                                                  $46.43 available for
                                                                                other eligible projects
                                      Total                                25                 $962.72                 100%



                                      While FTA has implemented a new starts evaluation process that addresses
FTA Needs to Issue                    the TEA-21 requirements, it still needs to issue final regulations to formalize
Regulations to Satisify               the process. FTA did not meet the TEA-21 deadline of October 7, 1998, for
TEA-21 Requirements                   issuing these regulations. According to FTA, priority was given to satisfying
                                      the rating requirements in TEA-21 and issuing the fiscal year 2000 report. FTA
                                      issued a notice of proposed rulemaking on April 7, 1999. The process
                                      described in the proposed rule mirrors the process FTA used to prepare the
                                      fiscal year 2000 report.

                                      Comments on the proposed rule are due on July 6, 1999. FTA plans to issue
                                      the final regulations in the summer of 1999. FTA has said that any changes
                                      resulting from comments on the proposed rule will be incorporated into
                                      the evaluation and rating process for the fiscal year 2001 annual report. We
                                      will continue to monitor FTA’s efforts to implement TEA-21 and report our
                                      results in our next annual report.


                                      We provided the Department of Transportation with a draft of this report
Agency Comments                       for review and comment. We met with Federal Transit Administration
                                      officials, including the Director for Policy Development and officials from
                                      the Offices of Planning and of Budget and Policy. FTA agreed with the
                                      report’s contents and provided us with some technical comments, which
                                      we have incorporated where appropriate.


                                      To address the issues discussed in this report, we reviewed the legislation
Scope and                             governing new starts transit projects, FTA’s annual new starts reports for
Methodology                           fiscal years 1999 and 2000, its technical guidance on the new starts criteria,
                                      and other documentation by the agency of its processes and procedures
                                      for evaluating projects. We also interviewed appropriate FTA headquarters




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and regional officials, the contractors who conducted the financial and
land-use assessments, and selected grantees whose projects were assessed
in 1997 and 1998. In addition, we attended FTA’s outreach sessions, in
which officials explained the new TEA-21 requirements and how FTA
intended to meet these requirements. We also observed meetings at the
agency in which the project ratings on financial commitment and land use
were deliberated. We performed our work in accordance with generally
accepted government auditing standards from July 1998 through
April 1999.


We are sending copies of this report to the Honorable Rodney E. Slater,
Secretary of Transportation; the Honorable Gordon J. Linton,
Administrator, Federal Transit Administration; the Honorable Jacob Lew,
Director, Office of Management and Budget; and other interested parties.
We are also making copies available to others on request.




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Major contributors to this report are listed in appendix III. Please call me
at (202) 512-2834 if you have any questions about this report.




Phyllis F. Scheinberg
Associate Director,
  Transportation Issues




Page 12                                            GAO/RCED-99-113 Mass Transit
Page 13   GAO/RCED-99-113 Mass Transit
Contents



Letter                                                                                            1


Appendix I                                                                                       16
New Starts Criteria
and Related
Performance
Measures
Appendix II                                                                                      17
FTA’s Fiscal Year 2000
New Starts Ratings
and Funding
Recommendations
Appendix III                                                                                     20
Major Contributors to
This Report
Tables                   Table 1: Chronology of FTA’s Revised New Starts Evaluation               4
                           Process
                         Table 2: FTA’s Fiscal Year 2000 New Starts Funding                      10
                           Recommendations by Project Phase
                         Table I.1: Summary of New Starts Evaluation Criteria and                16
                           Performance Measures


Figure                   Figure 1: The FTA New Starts Evaluation and Rating Process               7




                         Abbreviations

                         FTA       Federal Transit Administration
                         ISTEA     Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act
                         TEA-21    Transportation Equity Act


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Page 15   GAO/RCED-99-113 Mass Transit
Appendix I

New Starts Criteria and Related
Performance Measures

                                      Table I.1 presents a summary of each of the new starts criteria and the
                                      related performance measures that the Federal Transit Administration
                                      uses to appraise candidate new starts projects as part of its evaluation and
                                      rating process.

Table I.1: Summary of New Starts
Evaluation Criteria and Performance   Criterion                     Performance measure
Measures                              Mobility improvements         •Change in hours of travel time
                                                                    •Low-income households served by the system,
                                                                    expressed in terms of the number of such households
                                                                    within a half-mile of a project’s boarding points
                                      Environmental benefits        •Change in pollutant emissions
                                                                    •Change in regional energy consumption, expressed in
                                                                    British thermal units
                                                                    •The Environmental Protection Agency’s air quality
                                                                    designation for the region
                                      Operating efficiencies        Operating cost per passenger mile
                                      Cost-effectiveness            Incremental cost per incremental passenger
                                      Transit-supportive land use   •Existing land use
                                                                    •Containment of sprawl
                                                                    •Transit-supportive corridor policies
                                                                    •Supportive zoning regulations
                                                                    •Tools to implement land-use policies
                                                                    •Performance of land-use policies
                                                                    •Other land-use factors
                                      Other factors                 Local policies, programs, and factors relevant to the
                                                                    success of the project
                                      Local financial commitment    •Proposed local share of project costs
                                                                    •Stability and reliability of capital financing
                                                                    •Stability and reliability of operating funds
                                      Source: FTA.




                                      Page 16                                                     GAO/RCED-99-113 Mass Transit
Appendix II

FTA’s Fiscal Year 2000 New Starts Ratings
and Funding Recommendations


Dollars in millions
                                                                                          FY2000 recommended
City/project                                               Overall project rating                     funding
Existing full funding grant agreementsa
Atlanta - North Line Extension                             FFGA                                          $45.14
Boston - Piers Transitway, Phase 1                         FFGA                                           53.96
Denver - Southwest LRT                                     FFGA                                           35.00
Houston - Regional Bus Plan                                FFGA                                           62.52
Los Angeles - MOS-3 Segments of Metro Rail                 FFGA                                           50.00
Maryland - MARC Extensions - Point of Rocks to Frederick   FFGA                                             0.70
Northern New Jersey - Hudson-Bergen LRT                    FFGA                                           99.00
Portland - Westside LRT                                    FFGA                                           11.06
Sacramento - South Corridor LRT                            FFGA                                           25.00
Salt Lake City - South LRT                                 FFGA                                           37.93
San Francisco - BART to Airport                            FFGA                                           84.00
San Jose - Tasman LRT                                      FFGA                                           31.87
San Juan - Tren Urbano                                     FFGA                                           82.00
St. Louis - St. Clair County, Illinois LRT                 FFGA                                           50.00
Subtotal                                                                                                $668.18


Proposed full funding grant agreements
Dallas - North Central LRT Extension                       Recommended                                   $70.00
Fort Lauderdale - Tri-Rail Commuter Rail Upgrade           Highly recommended                             20.00
Memphis - Medical Center Extension                         Recommended                                    15.11
Newark Rail Link (MOS-1)                                   Highly recommended                             12.00
Orlando - I-4 Central Florida LRT Project                  Highly recommended                             44.00
Salt Lake City - Downtown Connector                        Not recommendedb                               20.00
San Diego - Mission Valley East LRT Extension              Highly recommended                             35.00
Subtotal                                                                                                $216.11


Other projects in final design
Dallas – Ft. Worth – RAILTRAN, Phase 2                     Recommended                                       $0
Los Angeles - LOSSAN Rail Corridor Improvement Project     Not recommended                                    0
New Orleans - Canal Streetcar Spine                        Not recommended                                    0
Tacoma-Seattle (Sounder) Commuter Rail                     Recommended                                        0
Subtotal                                                                                                     $0
                                                                                                     (continued)




                                             Page 17                                GAO/RCED-99-113 Mass Transit
                                                Appendix II
                                                FTA’s Fiscal Year 2000 New Starts Ratings
                                                and Funding Recommendations




Dollars in millions
                                                                                                  FY2000 recommended
City/project                                                    Overall project rating                        funding


Preliminary engineering
Baltimore - Central Corridor LRT Double Track                   Recommended                                       $8.00
Minneapolis - Hiawatha Corridor Transitway                      Recommended                                         8.00
Raleigh-Durham - Research Triangle Regional Rail                Recommended                                         8.00
Seattle-Sound Move - Link LRT                                   Highly recommended                                  8.00
Available for other projects                                                                                     $46.43
  Austin – Northwest/North Central Corridor                     Not rated
  Boston - Piers Transitway, Phase 2                            Not recommended
  Chicago - Central Kane Corridor                               Recommended
  Chicago - North Central Corridor                              Not recommended
  Chicago - Southwest Corridor                                  Highly recommended
  Cincinnati - NE/I-71                                          Not recommended
  Cleveland - Euclid Corridor                                   Not recommended
  Denver - Southeast Corridor                                   Not recommended
  Kansas City - Southtown LRT                                   Not recommended
  Las Vegas - Resort Corridor                                   Not recommended
  Little Rock - Junction Bridge/River Rail                      Not recommended
  Miami - East/West Corridor                                    Not recommended
  Miami - North 27th Avenue Corridor                            Not recommended
  New York City - LIRR East Side Access                         Not recommended
  N. New Jersey (Hudson-Bergen MOS-2)                           Not rated
  Norfolk - Virginia Beach Corridor                             Not recommended
  Orange County - Irvine-Fullerton Corridor                     Recommended
  Phoenix - Central Phoenix/East Valley                         Not recommended
  Pittsburgh - Martin Luther King, Jr., E. Busway Extension     Not recommended
  Pittsburgh - Stage II LRT Reconstruction                      Not recommended
  Portland - South/North Corridor                               Not recommended
  San Diego - Mid Coast Corridor                                Highly recommended
  San Diego - Oceanside Escondido Corridor                      Highly recommended
  San Francisco – Bayshore - Third Street LRT                   Recommended
  San Juan - Minillas Extension                                 Not rated
  Tampa - Tampa Regional Rail                                   Not recommended
  Washington, D.C. - Largo Extension                            Recommended
Subtotal                                                                                                         $78.43


Total                                                                                                           $962.72
                                                                                                             (continued)


                                                Page 18                                     GAO/RCED-99-113 Mass Transit
                                               Appendix II
                                               FTA’s Fiscal Year 2000 New Starts Ratings
                                               and Funding Recommendations




Dollars in millions
                                                                                                                        FY2000 recommended
City/project                                                     Overall project rating                                             funding
Ferry Capital Projects in Alaska or Hawaii (Section
5309(m)(5)(A))                                                                                                                               10.32
Oversight activities                                                                                                                             7.35
Grand total                                                                                                                               $980.40

                                               Legend

                                               FFGA = full funding grant agreement
                                               LIRR = Long Island Railroad
                                               LRT = light rail transit
                                               MOS = minimum operable segment

                                               Note: Figures do not always add to totals because of rounding.
                                               a
                                                Projects with FFGAs were not rated, since FTA had found the projects to be justified and have
                                               adequate local financial commitments at the time the FFGAs were issued.
                                               b
                                                The Downtown Connector is a segment of the overall Salt Lake West-East light rail project that
                                               FTA rated as not recommended. While FTA generally does not recommend funding for projects
                                               that are rated as not recommended, it believes this segment of the project should be funded
                                               because it will help meet the mass transportation needs of the 2002 Winter Olympics. In fiscal
                                               year 1999, the Congress appropriated $5 million in new starts funds for the overall project.

                                               Source: FTA’s FY 2000 New Starts Report.




                                               Page 19                                                           GAO/RCED-99-113 Mass Transit
Appendix III

Major Contributors to This Report


                        Ron Stouffer, Assistant Director
Resources,              Paul J. Bollea, Site Senior
Community, and          Carol Ruchala, Site Senior
Economic
Development
Division, Washington,
D.C.
                        Kirk Kiester, Evaluator-in-Charge
Atlanta Field Office




(348120)                Page 20                             GAO/RCED-99-113 Mass Transit
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