The following summarize the requirements of the Small Starts program:
- Grants are for capital costs associated with new fixed guideway systems, extensions, and bus corridor improvements. Requests must be for under $75 million in New Starts funds and total project costs must be under $250 million.
- Small Starts has a separate funding category for a total of $200 million per year.
- Streamlined criteria and approval process.
- Non-fixed guideway corridor improvements (e.g. Bus Rapid Transit) are allowed under Small Starts.
- Exemption for projects under $25 million will be eliminated once Small Starts regulation is final.
- All projects receiving funding will be analyzed and rated.
Updated Interim Program Guidance (July 2007):
The Updated Interim Guidance on Small Starts describes the eligibility, evaluation, and project development procedures for projects seeking Small Starts funding, as well as the information required from project sponsors to evaluate and rate a project for the purpose of project advancement or a funding recommendation. The update features further streamlining and clarification of the Small Starts process and implements the Small Starts provisions contained in FTA's June 2007 Guidance on New Starts and Small Starts Policies and Procedures.
Companion Documents to the Updated Interim Guidance
- Small Starts and Very Small Starts Reporting Instructions [Text] - Updated August 2011
- Small Starts and Very Small Starts Templates [XLS] - Updated August 2011. For questions on the small starts templates, please contact Beth Day at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Qualitative Land Use and Economic Development Information and Certification of Technical Methods for Small Starts and Very Small Starts Template [Text] - Updated August 2011
- Standard Cost Category (SCC) Worksheets for Reporting Small Starts Cost Information
- Simple Side by Side Comparison of Reporting Requirements for New Starts, Small Starts, Very Small Starts, and "Exempt" Projects
FTA is in the process of broader rulemaking on its major capital investments program, but the Interim Guidance and Instructions will allow projects into project development. The document will enable FTA to evaluate and rate projects as part of the Annual Report on New Starts and make funding recommendations prior to completion of the broader rulemaking process.
- January 2007 – Guidance for Documenting Existing, Benefiting Transit Riders to Prove Eligibility for Very Small Starts [Text]. This methodology describes how to demonstrate that a Very Small Starts project will benefit at least 3,000 existing transit riders in the project corridor on an average weekday. This is one of the key requirements for Very Small Starts projects.
- January 2007 – For additional information click either of the following links for a printable fact sheet on the Small and Very Small Starts program:
- Small Starts Fact Sheet [Text]
- Very Small Starts Fact Sheet
FTA urges anyone who is interested in the Small Starts program to review this guidance immediately. If your project is not yet ready for entry into project development, this interim guidance should be used when you are ready to submit the request to enter into project development. There is no deadline for submissions; FTA accepts applications as projects are ready for project development.