Figure I: Planning and Project Development Process for New Starts Projects

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Figure I: Corridor Planning Flowchart for New Starts Project Development Process. To start the process, FTA reviews the alternatives at the beginning of Alternatives Analysis Phase. This flows into the Decision Point of Slecting LPA, MPO Action, PE Application, and the Project Management Plan. Then, the next Decision Point results in FTA Action of an FTA Evaluation to enter in Preliminary Engineering, when the FTA approves New Starts baseline alternative. As soon as the FTA approval is accomplished, and throughout the entire rest of the project's progress, there is Project Management Oversight, where Quality Control, Technical Oversight, and Financial Capacity Assessment are applied. Beginning in the Preliminary Engineering stage, the work to be accomplished includes completing NEPA Process, Recording of Decision/FONSI, and the Refinement of Financial Plan, as well as the Project Management Plan. The phase that follows is the Decision Point that requires FTA Evaluation to Enter the Final Design designation. As the Final Design stage is established, the Commitment of Non-Federal Funds, Construction Plans, and ROW acquisition. The next phase is a Decision Point for the FTA to make evaluations to assign a Full Funding Grant Agreement to the project. As the project nears Final Design Completion, Construction will begin. Finally, the New Starts Process ends with the Construction stage, where Construction Management Start-up is entered.

Project Development flow chart:

Planning and project development for New Starts projects is a continuum of analytical activities carried out as part of the metropolitan planning and National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) review processes. Systems planning results in the identification and prioritization of transportation corridors in greatest need of more detailed planning and analysis. Alternatives analysis focuses on a specific transportation need (or set of needs), identifies alternative actions to address these needs, and generates information needed to select an option for further engineering and implementation. Once a locally preferred alternative is selected and adopted in the region's long range plan, the project sponsor may request FTA entrance into preliminary engineering (PE). PE includes additional engineering analysis and results in the completion of all environmental requirements. PE also typically marks the beginning of FTA's project management oversight function. The next stage of development is final design, which also requires FTA approval. It is within final design that candidate projects are considered by FTA for a Full Funding Grant Agreement.

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