Transmittal of FTA's Annual Report on New Starts

Number C-02-02

U.S. Department
of Transportation
Federal Transit


400 Seventh St. S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20590

Dear Colleague:

I am pleased to provide you the Federal Transit Administration’s 2002 Annual Report on New Starts. This report makes recommendations for the allocation of funds for new fixed guideway systems and extensions to existing fixed guideway systems, also known as “New Starts,” for Fiscal Year (FY) 2003. It is a collateral document to the President’s annual budget submission to Congress.

With the strong foundation provided by Congress and valuable technical assistance and oversight by FTA, New Starts grantees engage in one of the most rigorous financial planning, project development, and engineering processes in government. The FY 2003 budget recommendation includes funding for 27 existing and pending Full Funding Grant Agreements (FFGAs), which are multi-year contractual agreements between FTA and the grantees. Located in every geographic area of the country and in cities of all sizes, these projects include commuter rail, light rail, heavy rail, and bus rapid transit. When complete, they will carry over 190 million riders annually, save over 61 million hours in travel time, and significantly improve mobility in America.

In addition to the 27 existing and pending FFGAs, seven additional projects are recommended for funding in FY 2003. Two of these projects, the Los Angeles East Side Light Rail Transit (LRT) System and the Salt Lake City Medical Extension are recommended for multiyear funding commitments (FFGAs):

Five other meritorious projects have been recommended for funding to continue project development. Each of these projects has met the planning requirements of the New Starts program and the local communities have demonstrated support for their respective projects by committing a substantial amount of local and/or state funding. These projects are:

In addition to the projects proposed for funding in FY 2003, the enclosed report includes information on all of the projects currently in the New Starts program pipeline, at various stages of planning and development. Fifty projects are in the preliminary engineering or final design stage of project development. These projects are located in 30 states and the District of Columbia, and in cities of all sizes, with populations from over 5 million to less than 500,000. Spanning every means of public transportation service, from ferry boats to commuter rail to light rail to bus rapid transit, these projects can be expected to significantly enhance our nation’s public transportation network in the years to come.

Jennifer L. Dorn