MASS TRANSIT: FTA Could Relieve New Starts Program Funding Constraints
GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WASHINGTON DC
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Since the early 1970s, the federal government has provided a large share of the nations capital investment in urban mass transportation. Much of this investment has come through the Federal Transit Administrations FTA New Starts program, which helps pay for certain rail, bus, and trolley projects through full-funding grant agreements. In the last 8 years, this program has provided state and local agencies with over 6 billion to help design and construct transit projects throughout the country. The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century TEA-21, 1 enacted in 1998, authorized 6 billion in guaranteed funding for the New Starts program through fiscal year 2003. Although the level of New Starts funding is higher than it has ever been, the demand for these resources is also extremely high. TEA-21 identified over 190 projects nationwide as eligible to compete for New Starts funding. FTA was directed to prioritize projects for funding by evaluating, rating, and recommending potential projects on the basis of specific financial and project justification criteria. Furthermore, TEA-21 required FTA to issue regulations for the evaluation and rating process.
- Surface Transportation and Equipment