Projects that have Completed Preliminary Engineering

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Since the last edition of the Annual Report on New Starts was issued, a total of five proposed new starts projects have completed the preliminary engineering stage of development. All of these projects have been approved for entry into final design. One of these projects has been rated as "recommended" or higher; the remaining four are seeking less than $25 million in §5309 new starts funding, and are therefore exempt from the project rating and evaluation process by §5309(e)(8)(A). Approvals for exempt projects to advance to the next stage of development are based on their having met basic grant eligibility requirements for the new starts program, though sponsors of such projects are strongly encouraged to submit information to FTA for evaluation and rating purposes, in order to provide a sound basis for decisionmaking and recommendations concerning their project.

Table 1: Summary of New Starts Project Ratings

Table 1-A
Summary of FY 2002 New Starts Ratings

Phase and City (Project) Total Capital Cost (millions) Total Sect. 5309 Funding Requested (millions) Section 5309 Funds Share of Capital Costs Overall Project Rating Financial Rating Project Justification Rating
Completed Preliminary Engineering
Chicago (Union-Pacific West Line Extension) $134.6 YOE $80.8 60% Recommended Medium-High Medium
Girdwood, Alaska Railroad Commuter Rail* $7.0 YOE $5.6 80% Exempt Exempt Exempt
Girdwood, Alaska Railroad Commuter Rail (Knik River to Wasilla)* $11.3 YOE $9.0 80% Exempt Exempt Exempt
Nashville (East Corridor Commuter Rail Project)* $34.9 YOE $24.0 69% Exempt Exempt Exempt
Pawtucket, RI (Commuter Rail Layover Facility)* $18.5 YOE $10.0 54% Exempt Exempt Exempt
Completed Alternatives Analysis
Bridgeport, CT (Intermodal Transportation Center)* $62.4 YOE $24.9 40% Exempt Exempt Exempt
Dallas (Northwest-Southeast Corridor LRT)-MOS $1,123.6 YOE $500.0 45% Recommended Medium-High Medium
Denver (West Corridor LRT) $624.3 YOE $366.3 59% Recommended Medium Medium
Honolulu (Primary Corridor Transportation) $648.0 YOE $182.1 28% Recommended Medium Medium-High
Louisville, KY (Transportation Tomorrow South Corridor LRT) $671.2 YOE $380.2 57% Recommended Medium Medium
Phoenix, AZ (Central Phoenix/East Valley Corridor) $1,241.4 YOE $620.7 50% Recommended Medium-High Medium
Wilmington, DE (Transit Connector) $41.7 YOE $29.2 70% Recommended Medium Medium

* This project has not been rated; under §5309(e)(8)(A), proposed new starts projects requiring less than $25.00 million in §5309 new starts funding are exempt from the project evaluation and rating process required by §5309(e).

"N/A" = Not Available

Table 1-B
Summary of FY 2002 New Starts Ratings

Phase and City (Project) Overall Project Rating Financial Rating Financial Rating Criteria Project Justification Rating Project Justification Criteria
Capital Finance Rating Operating Finance Rating Mobility Improvement Rating Environment Benefits Rating Operating Efficiency Rating Cost Effectiveness Rating Land Use Rating
Final Design
Chicago (Union-Pacific West Line Extension) Recommended Medium-High Medium-High High Medium Medium-High High Medium Low-Medium Low-Medium
Girdwood, Alaska Railroad Commuter Rail* Exempt Exempt N/A N/A Exempt N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Girdwood, Alaska Railroad Commuter Rail (Knik River to Wasilla)* Exempt Exempt N/A N/A Exempt N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Nashville (East Corridor Commuter Rail Project)* Exempt Exempt N/A N/A Exempt N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Pawtucket, RI (Commuter Rail Layover Facility)* Exempt Exempt N/A N/A Exempt N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Preliminary Engineering
Bridgeport, CT (Intermodal Transportation Center)* Exempt Exempt N/A N/A Exempt N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Dallas (Northwest-Southeast Corridor LRT)-MOS Recommended Medium-High Medium-High Medium-High Medium Medium-High High Low Low-Medium Medium
Denver (West Corridor LRT) Recommended Medium Medium Medium Medium Medium High Low Low-Medium Medium
Honolulu (Primary Corridor Transportation) Recommended Medium Medium Medium Medium-High Low-Medium Medium Medium Medium-High High
Louisville, KY (Transportation Tomorrow South Corridor LRT) Recommended Medium Medium Medium Medium Low-Medium High Medium Medium Medium
Phoenix, AZ (Central Phoenix/East Valley Corridor) Recommended Medium-High Medium-High Medium-High Medium Medium-High High High Medium Medium
Wilmington, DE (Transit Connector) Recommended Medium Medium Medium Medium Not Rated Not Rated Low-Medium Medium-High Medium-High

* This project has not been rated; under §5309(e)(8)(A), proposed new starts projects requiring less than $25.00 million in §5309 new starts funding are exempt from the project evaluation and rating process required by §5309(e).

"N/A" = Not Available

Table 1-C
Summary of FY 2002 New Starts Ratings

Phase and City (Project) Financial Rating Finance Rating Criteria
Section 5309 Funds as Share of Capital Costs Capital Finance Rating Operating Finance Rating
Final Design
Chicago (Union-Pacific West Line Extension) Medium-High 60% Medium-High High
Girdwood, Alaska Railroad Commuter Rail* Exempt 80% N/A N/A
Girdwood, Alaska Railroad Commuter Rail (Knik River to Wasilla)* Exempt 80% N/A N/A
Nashville (East Corridor Commuter Rail Project)* Exempt 69% N/A N/A
Pawtucket, RI (Commuter Rail Layover Facility)* Exempt 54% N/A N/A
Preliminary Engineering
Bridgeport, CT (Intermodal Transportation Center)* Exempt 40% N/A N/A
Dallas (Northwest-Southeast Corridor LRT)-MOS Medium-High 45% Medium-High Medium-High
Denver (West Corridor LRT) Medium 59% Medium Medium
Honolulu (Primary Corridor Transportation) Medium 28% Medium Medium
Louisville, KY (Transportation Tomorrow South Corridor LRT) Medium 57% Medium Medium
Phoenix, AZ (Central Phoenix/East Valley Corridor) Medium-High 50% Medium-High Medium-High
Wilmington, DE (Transit Connector) Medium 70% Medium Medium

* This project has not been rated; under §5309(e)(8)(A), proposed new starts projects requiring less than $25.00 million in §5309 new starts funding are exempt from the project evaluation and rating process required by §5309(e).

"N/A" = Not Available

Table 1-D
Summary of FY 2002 New Starts Ratings

Phase and City (Project) Project Justification Rating Mobility Improvement Rating Mobility Improvements Environment Benefits Rating Environmental Benefits
Annual Travel Time Savings (millions hours) Low Income Households within 1/2 Mile Annual Reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions (tons CO2) Annual Reduction in Regional Energy Consumption (million BTU's) EPA Classification
New Start Vs. No-Build New Start Vs. TSM New Start Vs. No-Build New Start Vs. TSM New Start Vs. No-Build New Start Vs. TSM Ozone Carbon Monoxide
Final Design
Chicago (Union-Pacific West Line Extension) Medium Medium-High 0.3 0.8 1 High 14,390 10,624 188,315 138,867 severe non-attainment attainment
Girdwood, Alaska Railroad Commuter Rail* Exempt N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Girdwood, Alaska Railroad Commuter Rail (Knik River to Wasilla)* Exempt N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Nashville (East Corridor Commuter Rail Project)* Exempt N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Pawtucket, RI (Commuter Rail Layover Facility)* Exempt N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Preliminary Engineering
Bridgeport, CT (Intermodal Transportation Center)* Exempt N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Dallas (Northwest-Southeast Corridor LRT)-MOS Medium Medium-High N/A 1.7** 3,063 High N/A 30,014** N/A 356,522** serious non-attainment N/A
Denver (West Corridor LRT) Medium Medium 3.6 2.6 1,182 High 8,367 2,867 96,740 23,680 transitional non-attainment serious non-attainment
Honolulu (Primary Corridor Transportation) Medium-High Low-Medium 1.1 1.1 8,613 Medium 16,535 12,924 227,550 177,550 attainment attainment
Louisville, KY (Transportation Tomorrow South Corridor LRT) Medium Low-Medium 1.4 1.3 3,066 High 665 2,981 8,478 35,608 non-attainment attainment
Phoenix, AZ (Central Phoenix/East Valley Corridor) Medium Medium-High 12.5 11.3 4,366 High 54,155 59,172 603,455 679,497 serious non-attainment serious non-attainment
Wilmington, DE (Transit Connector) Medium Not Rated N/A N/A 3,126 Not Rated N/A N/A N/A N/A severe non-attainment N/A



Table 1-D (Cont)
Summary of FY 2002 New Starts Ratings

Phase and City (Project) Operating Efficiency Rating Operating Efficiencies Cost Effectiveness Rating Cost Effectiveness  Land Use Rating
Systemwide Operating Cost per Passenger Mile Incremental Cost per Incremental Passenger
No-Build TSM Build New Start Vs. No-Build New Start Vs. TSM
Final Design
Chicago (Union-Pacific West Line Extension) Medium $0.23 $0.23 $0.22 Low-Medium $17.20 $21.50 Low-Medium
Girdwood, Alaska Railroad Commuter Rail* N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Girdwood, Alaska Railroad Commuter Rail (Knik River to Wasilla)* N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Nashville (East Corridor Commuter Rail Project)* N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Pawtucket, RI (Commuter Rail Layover Facility)* N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Preliminary Engineering
Bridgeport, CT (Intermodal Transportation Center)* N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Dallas (Northwest-Southeast Corridor LRT)-MOS Low N/A $0.62** $0.65 Low-Medium N/A $13.14** Medium
Denver (West Corridor LRT) Low $0.39 $0.40 $0.42 Low-Medium $16.65 $22.83 Medium
Honolulu (Primary Corridor Transportation) Medium $0.26 $0.26 $0.25 Medium-High $8.30 $7.70 High
Louisville, KY (Transportation Tomorrow South Corridor LRT) Medium $0.56 $0.56 $0.57 Medium $10.20 $12.60 Medium
Phoenix, AZ (Central Phoenix/East Valley Corridor) High $0.54 $0.54 $0.49 Medium $10.77 $11.58 Medium
Wilmington, DE (Transit Connector) Low-Medium $0.86 $0.86 $0.89 Medium-High $6.84 $11.04 Medium-High

* This project has not been rated; under §5309(e)(8)(A), proposed new starts projects requiring less than $25.00 million in §5309 new starts funding are exempt from the project evaluation and rating process required by §5309(e).

** Baseline Alternative

"N/A" = Not Available

Chicago/Metra Union-Pacific West Line

Chicago’s Metra commuter rail division is planning additional extensions and improvements on its Union Pacific West Commuter Rail line. The Union Pacific West project, also known as the Central Kane Corridor, is an extension of the existing 35-mile Union Pacific West line which currently provides service between Geneva and downtown Chicago. This project would extend the line 8.5 miles west to Elburn, with two new stations serving Elburn and La Fox. The extension itself will use existing railroad track and right-of-way currently used by both Metra and the Union Pacific freight railroad. The scope of the project includes multiple track and signal improvements, construction of the two new stations and associated parking facilities, a new train yard, and the purchase of two diesel locomotives and eight bi-level passenger cars. This project will link the rapidly developing communities to the west of Chicago with the major employment center in the Chicago CBD. The total capital cost of the Union Pacific West extension and improvements project is estimated at $134.60 million, of which Metra is expected to seek $80.76 million in Federal new starts funding. Metra estimates that this project will serve 3,900 average weekday boardings by 2020, and 2,700 new riders.

Section 3030(a)(13) of TEA-21 authorizes this project as the Chicago "West Line Expansion" for final design and construction. FTA approved Metra’s request to enter preliminary engineering for this project in December 1998. Metra completed an Environmental Assessment in June 2000, and FTA issued a Finding of No Significant Impact in August 2000. This project has been rated "medium" for project justification and "medium-high" for finance, based on FTA’s evaluation under §5309(e). This results in an overall project rating of "recommended."

Based on this rating, FTA approved this project for final design in January 2001.

Girdwood, AK/Girdwood Commuter Rail

The Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARRC) is proposing improvements to a segment of railroad between Anchorage and Girdwood, Alaska. This project involves the construction of a second track along a 5-mile segment of the main line. The double-tracking of this section will increase speeds and facilitate operations in an industrial area of Anchorage where many ARRC freight customers are located. ARRC operates both freight and passenger service over this section of the line. Passenger service is primarily geared toward serving tourists between the months of May and September. Due to harsh winter conditions of frozen ground, ice and snow storms, the construction season is limited to late March through November.

In 1999 the ARRC undertook a study of its system (the "Woodside Study"), which assessed the overall condition of the railroad and its ability to undertake various types of improvements, including commuter rail. During 2000, the study identified the benefits of incrementally improving the performance of the railroad on its existing right-of-way. The project was included in the Anchorage Metropolitan Transportation Study’s (AMATS/Anchorage MPO) Long Range Transportation Plan 2001 Update on April 25, 2001.

The total capital cost of the Girdwood double-tracking project is estimated to be $7.00 million in current dollars, of which ARRC is expected to seek $5.60 million in §5309 new starts funding. Under §5309(e)(8)(A), proposed new starts projects requiring less than $25.00 million in §5309 new starts funding are exempt from the project evaluation and rating process required by §5309(e). FTA strongly encourages sponsors who believe their projects meet the requirements for exemption to nonetheless submit information for evaluation and rating purposes, in order to provide FTA with a sound basis for decisionmaking and recommendations concerning their project. In those cases when such information is not provided, no rating can be assigned, and FTA must base its approval for advancement on a determination that basic grantmaking eligibility requirements have been met. On this basis, FTA approved the Girdwood project for entry into the final design stage of development in June 2001.

Girdwood, AK/Knick River to Wasilla Track Improvements

The Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARRC) is planning a series of improvements to a segment of railroad between Anchorage and Girdwood, Alaska. As part of this effort, ARRC is proposing a project to realign sharp curves and rehabilitate two bridges between the Knik River and Wasilla. The track realignment will increase speeds, facilitate operations and improve safety for ARRC customers and staff. ARRC operates both freight and passenger service over the section of the line scheduled for improvement.

In 1999 the ARRC undertook a study of its system (the "Woodside Study"), which assessed the overall condition of the railroad and its ability to undertake various types of improvements, including commuter rail. During 2000, the study identified the benefits of incrementally improving the performance of the railroad on its existing right-of-way. The project was included in the Anchorage Metropolitan Transportation Study’s (AMATS/Anchorage MPO) Long Range Transportation Plan 2001 Update on April 25, 2001.

The total capital cost of the Knik River to Wasilla Track Improvements project is estimated to be $11.30 million, of which ARRC is expected to seek $9.00 million in §5309 new starts funding. Under §5309(e)(8)(A), proposed new starts projects requiring less than $25.00 million in §5309 new starts funding are exempt from the project evaluation and rating process required by §5309(e). FTA strongly encourages sponsors who believe their projects meet the requirements for exemption to nonetheless submit information for evaluation and rating purposes, in order to provide FTA with a sound basis for decisionmaking and recommendations concerning their project. In those cases when such information is not provided, no rating can be assigned and FTA must base its approval for advancement on a determination that basic grantmaking eligibility requirements have been met. On this basis, FTA approved the Knik River to Wasilla Track Improvements project for entry into the final design stage of development in July 2001.

Nashville/East Corridor Commuter Rail

The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) of Nashville, Tennessee are proposing to implement a 31.1-mile, 5-station commuter rail line between downtown Nashville and the City of Lebanon in Wilson County. The East Corridor Commuter Rail project would operate on an existing rail line owned by the Nashville and Eastern Railroad Authority (N&E), a governmental entity comprised of the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT), Wilson County, Lebanon, Mt. Juliet and the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County. Rolling stock and maintenance facilities will be leased from the N&E. The MTA and RTA estimate 1,400 average weekday boardings on the proposed project in 2006, including 700 daily new riders

In 1996, the MTA and RTA initiated a study to explore the potential of commuter rail in the Nashville region. From this study, six corridors were considered for further evaluation. A 1998 study analyzed the capital costs for the three most promising corridors. As a result of these studies and efforts of the Nashville area Commuter Rail Task Force – which includes the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, area business leaders, the MPO, MTA, RTA, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT), CSX Railroad and the Nashville and Eastern Rail Authority, and the Nashville Congressional delegation – the East Corridor was selected as the first corridor to be implemented in the Nashville Area Commuter Rail System.

The Nashville MPO included the East Corridor commuter rail project in its fiscally constrained long-range transportation plan in September 1999. FTA approved the project to advance into preliminary engineering in November 1999, and RTA completed an Environmental Assessment and received a FONSI for the project in May 2000.

TEA-21 Section 3030(a)(50) authorizes the "Nashville Commuter Rail" project for final design and construction. The total capital cost of this project is estimated at $34.90 million, of which the MTA and RTA are expected to seek $24.00 million in §5309 new starts funding. Under §5309(e)(8)(A), proposed new starts projects requiring less than $25.00 million in §5309 new starts funding are exempt from the project evaluation and rating process required by §5309(e). FTA strongly encourages sponsors who believe their projects meet the requirements for exemption to nonetheless submit information for evaluation and rating purposes, in order to provide FTA with a sound basis for decisionmaking and recommendations concerning their project. In those cases when such information is not provided, no rating can be assigned, and FTA must base its approval for advancement on a determination that basic grantmaking eligibility requirements have been met. On this basis, FTA approved the East Corridor Commuter Rail project to advance into final design in June 2001.

Pawtucket, RI/Commuter Rail Layover Facility

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) have embarked on a joint venture to design and construct a rail yard that will serve both the existing Providence-Boston service and Rhode Island’s future South County commuter rail service. The Pawtucket Layover Facility project is a six-track commuter rail yard that will be used for overnight layover and storage of commuter rail equipment used on both services. The proposed site is a 12-acre parcel located in the northwest quadrant of the I-95 & Smithfield Avenue Interchange on the Pawtucket/Providence city line, adjacent to and east of the Amtrak Main Line.

The facility will provide for future commuter rail growth both at Providence and South County, Rhode Island. Currently, commuter rail carries approximately 825 riders per day at Providence with eight round trips. Ridership is expected to grow to 1,050 riders per day in 2005 with eleven round trips. Ridership studies conducted to date for the proposed South County Commuter Rail Service show an expected 2,550 riders per day would use the service to Providence. Based on the environmental documentation submitted by the RIDOT, FTA found that the specific conditions or criteria for a Categorical Exclusion under 23 CFR 771.117(d)(11) were satisfied and that significant environmental impacts would not result. FTA issued an environmental determination on December 3, 1999.

The RIDOT and the MBTA have been pursuing the development of a commuter rail layover yard in Pawtucket since the original Pilgrim Partnership Agreement was signed in 1988. The project is included in Rhode Island’s Long-Range Ground Transportation Plan, and has been adopted by the State MPO in the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). The Pawtucket Layover Facility was authorized in TEA-21 Section 3030(c)(1)(A)(xliii).

The total capital cost for this project is estimated at $18.50 million, of which RIDOT and MBTA are expected to seek $10.00 million in §5309 new starts funding. Under §5309(e)(8)(A), proposed new starts projects requiring less than $25.00 million in §5309 new starts funding are exempt from the project evaluation and rating process required by §5309(e). FTA strongly encourages sponsors who believe their projects meet the requirements for exemption to nonetheless submit information for evaluation and rating purposes, in order to provide FTA with a sound basis for decisionmaking and recommendations concerning their project. In those cases when such information is not provided, no rating can be assigned, and FTA must base its approval for advancement on a determination that basic grantmaking eligibility requirements have been met. On this basis, FTA approved the Pawtucket Layover Facility for final design in April 2001.