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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

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

Title 49Subtitle BChapter VIPart 611 → Subpart B


Title 49: Transportation
PART 611—MAJOR CAPITAL INVESTMENT PROJECTS


Subpart B—New Starts


Contents
§611.201   New Starts eligibility.
§611.203   New Starts project justification criteria.
§611.205   New Starts local financial commitment criteria.
§611.207   Overall New Starts project ratings.
§611.209   [Reserved]
§611.211   New Starts Before and After study.

§611.201   New Starts eligibility.

(a) To be eligible for an engineering grant under this part for a new fixed guideway or an extension to a fixed guideway, a project must:

(1) Be a New Starts project as defined in §611.105; and

(2) Be approved into engineering by FTA pursuant to §611.209.

(b) To be eligible for a construction grant under section 5309 for a new fixed guideway or extension to a fixed guideway, a project must:

(1) Be a New Starts project as defined in §611.105;

(2) Have completed engineering;

(3) Receive a “medium” or better rating on project justification pursuant to §611.203;

(4) Receive a “medium” or better rating on local financial commitment pursuant to §611.205;

(5) Meet the other requirements of 49 U.S.C. 5309.

§611.203   New Starts project justification criteria.

(a) To perform the statutorily required evaluations and assign ratings for project justification, FTA will evaluate information developed locally through the planning and NEPA processes.

(1) The method used by FTA to evaluate and rate projects will be a multiple measure approach by which the merits of candidate projects will be evaluated in terms of each of the criteria specified by this section.

(2) The measures for these criteria are specified in appendix A to this part and elaborated on in policy guidance. This policy guidance, which is subject to a public comment period, is issued periodically by FTA whenever significant changes to the process are proposed, but not less frequently than every two years, as required by 49 U.S.C. 5309(g)(5).

(3) The measures will be applied to projects defined by project sponsors that are proposed to FTA for New Starts funding.

(4) The ratings for each of the criteria in §611.203(b)(1) through (6) will be expressed in terms of descriptive indicators, as follows: “high,” “medium-high,” “medium,” “medium-low,” or “low.”

(b) The project justification criteria are as follows:

(1) Mobility improvements.

(2) Environmental benefits.

(3) Congestion relief.

(4) Economic development effects.

(5) Cost-effectiveness, as measured by cost per rider.

(6) Existing land use.

(c) In evaluating proposed New Starts projects under these project justification criteria:

(1) As a candidate project proceeds through engineering, a greater level of commitment will be expected with respect to transit supportive plans and policies evaluated under the economic development criterion and the project sponsor's technical capacity to implement the project.

(2) For any criteria under paragraph (b) of this section that use incremental measures, the point for comparison will be the no-build alternative.

(d) FTA may amend the measures for these project justification criteria. Any such amendment will be included in policy guidance and subject to a public comment process.

(e) From time to time FTA may publish through policy guidance standards based on characteristics of projects and/or corridors to be served. If a proposed project can meet the established standards, FTA may assign an automatic rating on one or more of the project justification criteria outlined in this section.

(f) The individual ratings for each of the criteria described in this section will be combined into a summary project justification rating of “high,” “medium-high,” “medium,” “medium-low,” or “low,” through a process that gives comparable, but not necessarily equal, weight to each criterion. The process by which the project justification rating will be developed, including the assigned weights, will be described in policy guidance.

§611.205   New Starts local financial commitment criteria.

In order to approve a grant under 49 U.S.C. 5309 for a New Starts project, FTA must find that the proposed project is supported by an acceptable degree of local financial commitment, as required by 49 U.S.C. 5309(d)(4)(iv). The local financial commitment to a proposed project will be evaluated according to the following measures:

(a) The proposed share of the project's capital costs to be funded from sources other than New Starts funds, including both the non-New Starts match required by Federal law and any additional state, local or other Federal capital funding (also known as “overmatch”);

(b) The current capital and operating financial condition of the project sponsor;

(c) The commitment of capital and operating funds for the project and the entire transit system including consideration of private contributions; and

(d) The accuracy and reliability of the capital and operating costs and revenue estimates and the financial capacity of the project sponsor.

(e) From time to time FTA may publish through policy guidance standards based on characteristics of projects and/or corridors to be served. If a proposed project can meet the established standards, FTA may assign an automatic rating on one or more of the local financial commitment criteria outlined in this section.

(f) As a candidate project proceeds through engineering, a greater level of local financial commitment will be expected.

(g) FTA may amend the measures for these local financial commitment criteria. Any such amendment will be included in policy guidance and subject to a public comment process.

(h) For each proposed project, ratings for paragraphs (a) through (d) of this section will be reported in terms of descriptive indicators, as follows: “high,” “medium-high,” “medium,” “medium-low,” or “low.” For paragraph (a) of this section, the percentage of New Starts funding sought from 49 U.S.C. 5309 will be rated and used to develop the summary local financial commitment rating, but only if it improves the rating and not if it worsens the rating.

(i) The ratings for each measure described in this section will be combined into a summary local financial commitment rating of “high,” “medium-high,” “medium,” “medium-low,” or “low.” The process by which the summary local financial commitment rating will be developed, including the assigned weights to each of the measures, will be described in policy guidance.

§611.207   Overall New Starts project ratings.

(a) [Reserved]

(b) FTA will assign overall project ratings to each proposed project of “high,” “medium-high, “medium,” “medium-low,” or “low” as required by 49 U.S.C. 5309(g)(2)(A).

(1) These ratings will indicate the overall merit of a proposed New Starts project at the time of evaluation.

(2) Ratings for individual projects will be developed upon entry into engineering and prior to an FFGA. Additionally, ratings may be updated while a project is in engineering if the project scope and cost have changed materially since the most recent rating was assigned.

(c) These ratings will be used to:

(1) Approve or deny advancement of a proposed project into engineering ;

(2) Approve or deny projects for ESWAs and FFGAs; and

(3) Support annual funding recommendations to Congress in the Annual Report on Funding Recommendations required by 49 U.S.C. 5309(o)(1).

(d) [Reserved]

§611.209   [Reserved]

§611.211   New Starts Before and After study.

(a) During engineering, project sponsors shall submit to FTA a plan for collection and analysis of information to identify the characteristics, costs, and impacts of the New Starts project and the accuracy of the forecasts prepared during development of the project.

(1) The Before and After study plan shall consider:

(i) Characteristics including the physical scope of the project, the service provided by the project, any other changes in service provided by the transit system, and the schedule of transit fares;

(ii) Costs including the capital costs of the project and the operating and maintenance costs of the transit system in appropriate detail; and

(iii) Impacts including changes in transit service quality, ridership, and fare levels.

(2) The plan shall provide for:

(i) Documentation and preservation of the predicted scope, service levels, capital costs, operating costs, and ridership of the project;

(ii) Collection of “before” data on the transit service levels and ridership patterns of the current transit system including origins and destinations, access modes, trip purposes, and rider characteristics;

(iii) Documentation of the actual capital costs of the as-built project;

(iv) Collection of “after” data two years after opening of the project, including the analogous information on transit service levels and ridership patterns, plus information on operating costs of the transit system in appropriate detail;

(v) Analysis of the costs and impacts of the project; and

(vi) Analysis of the consistency of the predicted and actual characteristics, costs, and impacts of the project and identification of the sources of any differences.

(vii) Preparation of a final report within three years of project opening to present the actual characteristics, costs, and impacts of the project and an assessment of the accuracy of the predictions of these outcomes.

(3) For funding purposes, preparation of the plan for collection and analysis of data is an eligible part of the proposed project.

(b) The FFGA will require implementation of the plan prepared in accordance with paragraph (a) of this section.

(1) Satisfactory progress on implementation of the plan required under paragraph (a) of this section shall be a prerequisite to approval of an FFGA.

(2) For funding purposes, collection of the “before” data, collection of the “after” data, and the development and reporting of findings are eligible parts of the proposed project.

(3) FTA may condition receipt of funding provided for the project in the FFGA upon satisfactory submission of the report required under this section.

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