New and Small Starts Evaluation and Rating Process Final Policy Guidance

This document is a companion piece to the final rule published on January 9, 2013 and effective April 9, 2013, which governs how the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) evaluates and rates major new transit capital investments seeking funding under the discretionary “New Starts” and “Small Starts” programs authorized by Section 5309 of Title 49, U.S. Code. This policy guidance replaces all previous policy guidance documents published by FTA relating to the New and Small Starts programs. This document describes the measures and methods for calculating the project justification and local financial commitment criteria required by law for New and Small Starts projects and included in the final rule published January 9, 2013. The final rule and its appendix act as a framework for the New and Small Starts project evaluation process, and this policy guidance fills in the details. The mechanics of what project sponsors submit to FTA for evaluation and rating and the forms that must be completed are found in FTA’s Reporting Instructions, New and Small Starts templates, and Standard Cost Category worksheets. The final rule and this accompanying policy guidance cover the New and Small Starts evaluation criteria and rating process and the before and after study requirements for New Starts projects defined in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). Proposed New and Small Starts projects are evaluated and rated according to criteria set forth in law. The statutory project justification criteria include: mobility improvements, environmental benefits, congestion relief, economic development effects, land use, and cost-effectiveness. The law also requires FTA to examine the following when evaluating and rating local financial commitment: availability of reasonable contingency amounts, availability of stable and dependable capital and operating funding sources, and availability of local resources to recapitalize, maintain, and operate the overall existing and proposed public transportation system without requiring a reduction in existing services. Each criterion is to be rated on a five point scale, from low to high. Summary project justification and local financial commitment ratings are prepared and combined to arrive at an overall project rating.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 39p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01499324
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, ATRI, USDOT
  • Created Date: Nov 5 2013 10:58AM