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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of November 12, 2019

Title 49Subtitle BChapter VIPart 611 → Subpart A


Title 49: Transportation
PART 611—MAJOR CAPITAL INVESTMENT PROJECTS


Subpart A—General Provisions


Contents
§611.101   Purpose and contents.
§611.103   Applicability.
§611.105   Definitions.
§611.107   Relation to the planning processes.

§611.101   Purpose and contents.

(a) This part prescribes the process that applicants must follow to be considered eligible for fixed guideway capital investment grants for a new fixed guideway, an extension to a fixed guideway, or a corridor-based bus rapid transit system (known as New Starts and Small Starts). Also, this part prescribes the procedures used by FTA to evaluate and rate proposed New Starts projects as required by 49 U.S.C. 5309(d) and Small Starts projects as required by 49 U.S.C. 5309(h).

(b) This part defines how the results of the evaluation described in paragraph (a) of this section will be used to:

(1) Rate projects as “high,” “medium-high,” “medium,” “medium-low” or “low” as required by 49 U.S.C. 5309(g)(2)(A) and 49 U.S.C. 5309(h)(6);

(2) Assign individual ratings for each of the project justification criteria specified in 49 U.S.C. 5309(d)(2)(B) and 49 U.S.C. 5309(h)(6);

(3) Determine project eligibility for Federal funding commitments, in the form of full funding grant agreements (FFGA) for New Starts projects and expedited grant agreements (EGA) for Small Starts projects; and

(4) Support funding recommendations for the New Starts and Small Starts programs for the President's annual budget request.

(c) The information collected and ratings developed under this part will form the basis for the Annual Report on Funding Recommendations, required by 49 U.S.C. 5309(o)(1).

§611.103   Applicability.

(a) This part applies to all proposals for Federal major capital investment funds under 49 U.S.C. 5309 for new fixed guideways, extensions to fixed guideways, and corridor-based bus rapid transit systems.

(b) This part does not apply to projects for which an FFGA or PCGA has already been executed, or to projects that have been approved into final design or project development unless the project sponsor requests to be covered by this part. The regulations in existence prior to the effective date of this rule will continue to apply to projects for which an FFGA or PCGA has already been executed and to projects approved into final design or project development unless a project sponsor requests to be covered by this part. New Starts projects approved for entry into final design shall be considered to be in the engineering phase of the New Starts process.

(c) A New Starts project which has been approved for entry into preliminary engineering under the regulations in existence prior to the effective date of this rule shall be considered to be in the engineering phase of the New Starts process. For the purpose of completing engineering, the regulations in existence prior to the effective date of this rule will continue to apply to a New Starts project approved into preliminary engineering until such time as the sponsor requests an FFGA unless the project sponsor requests to be covered by this part prior to an FFGA.

§611.105   Definitions.

The definitions established by Titles 12 and 49 of the United States Code, the Council on Environmental Quality's regulation at 40 CFR parts 1500-1508, and FHWA-FTA regulations at 23 CFR parts 450 and 771 are applicable. In addition, the following definitions apply:

Corridor-based bus rapid transit project means a bus capital project where the project represents a substantial investment in a defined corridor as demonstrated by features such as park-and-ride lots, transit stations, bus arrival and departure signage, intelligent transportation systems technology, traffic signal priority, off-board fare collection, advanced bus technology, and other features that support the long-term corridor investment.

Current year means the most recent year for which data on the existing transit system and demographic data are available.

Early system work agreement means a contract, pursuant to the requirements in 49 U.S.C. 5309(k)(3), that allows some construction work and other clearly defined elements of a project to proceed prior to execution of a full funding grant agreement (FFGA). It typically includes a limited scope of work that is less than the full project scope of work and specifies the amount of New Starts funds that will be provided for the defined scope of work included in the agreement.

EGA means an expedited grant agreement.

Engineering is a phase of development for New Starts projects during which the scope of the proposed project is finalized; estimates of project cost, benefits, and impacts are refined; project management plans and fleet management plans are developed; and final construction plans (including final construction management plans), detailed specifications, final construction cost estimates, and bid documents are prepared. During engineering, project sponsors must obtain commitments of all non-New Starts funding.

ESWA means early system work agreement.

Extension to fixed guideway means a project to extend an existing fixed guideway or planned fixed guideway.

FFGA means a full funding grant agreement.

Fixed guideway means a public transportation facility that uses and occupies a separate right-of-way or rail line for the exclusive use of public transportation and other high occupancy vehicles, or uses a fixed catenary system and a right of way usable by other forms of transportation. This includes, but is not limited to, rapid rail, light rail, commuter rail, automated guideway transit, people movers, ferry boat service, and fixed-guideway facilities for buses (such as bus rapid transit) and other high occupancy vehicles. A new fixed guideway means a newly-constructed fixed guideway in a corridor or alignment where no such guideway exists.

FTA means the Federal Transit Administration.

Full funding grant agreement means a contract that defines the scope of a New Starts project, the amount of New Starts funds that will be contributed, and other terms and conditions.

Horizon year means a year roughly 10 years or 20 years in the future, at the option of the project sponsor. Horizon years are based on available socioeconomic forecasts from metropolitan planning organizations, which are generally prepared in five year increments such as for the years 2020, 2025, 2030, and 2035.

Locally preferred alternative means an alternative evaluated through the local planning process, adopted as the desired alternative by the appropriate State and/or local agencies and official boards through a public process and identified as the preferred alternative in the NEPA process.

Long-range transportation plan means a financially constrained long-range plan, developed pursuant to 23 CFR Part 450, that includes sufficient financial information for demonstrating that projects can be implemented using committed, available, or reasonably available revenue sources, with reasonable assurance that the Federally supported transportation system is being adequately operated and maintained. For metropolitan planning areas, this would be the metropolitan transportation plan and for other areas, this would be the long-range statewide transportation plan. In areas classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as “nonattainment” or “maintenance” of air quality standards, the long-range transportation plan must have been found by DOT to be in conformity with the applicable State Implementation Plan.

Major capital transit investment means any project that involves the construction of a new fixed guideway, extension of an existing fixed guideway, or a corridor-based bus rapid transit system for use by public transit vehicles.

NEPA process means those procedures necessary to meet the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended, at 23 CFR Part 771; the NEPA process is completed when the project receives a categorical exclusion, a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) or a Record of Decision (ROD).

New Starts means a new fixed guideway project, or a project that is an extension to an existing fixed guideway, that has a total capital cost of $250,000,000 or more or for which the project sponsor is requesting $75,000,000 or more in New Starts funding.

New Starts funds mean funds granted by FTA for a New Starts project pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 5309(d).

No-build alternative means an alternative that includes only the current transportation system as well as the transportation investments committed in the Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) (when the horizon year is 10 years in the future) or the fiscally constrained long-range transportation plan (when the horizon year is 20 years in the future) required by 23 CFR Part 450.

Secretary means the Secretary of Transportation.

Small Starts means a new fixed guideway project, a project that is an extension to an existing fixed guideway, or a corridor-based bus rapid transit system project, with a total capital cost of less than $250,000,000 and for which the project sponsor is requesting less than $75,000,000 in Small Starts funding.

Small Starts funds mean funds granted by FTA for a Small Starts project pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 5309(h).

Small Starts project development is a phase in the Small Starts process during which the scope of the proposed project is finalized; estimates of project costs, benefits and impacts are refined; NEPA requirements are completed; project management plans and fleet management plans are further developed; and the project sponsors obtains commitment of all non-Small Starts funding. It also includes (but is not limited to) the preparation of final construction plans (including construction management plans), detailed specifications, construction cost estimates, and bid documents.

§611.107   Relation to the planning processes.

All New Starts and Small Starts projects proposed for funding assistance under this part must emerge from the metropolitan and Statewide planning process, consistent with 23 CFR part 450, and be included in the fiscally constrained long-range transportation plan required under 23 CFR part 450.

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