Proposed Funding Commitments

In addition to the funding recommendations for the existing and pending Federal commitments discussed above, 12 proposed projects are expected to be ready for FFGAs before the end of FY 2001 (i.e., September 30, 2001). One of these, the Hudson-Bergen MOS-2 light rail project in northern New Jersey, is ready for a Federal commitment but does not require §5309 new starts funding in FY 2001. The remaining 11 projects will require specific funding amounts in FY 2001. In anticipation of these new commitments, FTA recommends that a total of $211.17 million be allocated among these projects in FY 2001. These projects have all been rated as "recommended" or "highly recommended" under the criteria and processes specified by TEA-21. The funding recommendations described below are based on the anticipated funding needs of each project in FY 2001.

Baltimore/Central LRT Double-Tracking

The Maryland Mass Transit Administration plans to construct 9.4 miles of track to upgrade designated areas of the Baltimore Central Corridor Light Rail Line that are currently single track. The Central Corridor is 29 miles long and operates between Hunt Valley in the north to Cromwell/Glen Burnie in the south, serving Baltimore City and Baltimore and Anne Arundel Counties, with extensions providing direct service to the Amtrak Penn Station and the Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

The proposed project will double-track eight sections of the Central Corridor between Timonium and Cromwell Station/Glen Burnie, for a total of 9.4 miles. Although no new stations are required, the addition of a second track will require construction of second station platforms at four stations. Other elements included in the project are bridge and crossing improvements, a bi-directional signal system with traffic signal preemption on Howard Street, and catenary and other equipment and systems. The double tracking will be constructed almost entirely in existing right-of-way.

The total cost of the double-tracking and related improvements is estimated at $153.70 million, of which MTA is expected to seek $120.00 million (78 percent) in §5309 new starts funds. MTA ridership forecasts estimate that this project will serve 44,000 average weekday boardings and 6,800 daily new riders by 2020. This project will improve service and reliability by permitting the operation of an additional 15 trains, which would reduce the interval between trains to eight minutes in peak service and 12 minutes during off-peak periods; trains currently operate at 17-minute intervals. This project has been rated "medium-high" for finance and "medium" for project justification, based on FTA’s evaluation under §5309(e). This results in an overall project rating of "recommended."

The original Central Corridor Light Rail Line began operations in 1992, as a mostly single-track line. MTA completed a study examining the feasibility, environmental impacts and benefits of double tracking eight sections. Three federally-funded extensions, to Hunt Valley, Penn Station, and Baltimore-Washington International Airport, were completed in 1998. The double track project was adopted by the Baltimore Metropolitan Council and included in its financially constrained long range plan in 1993.

FTA approved MTA’s request to enter preliminary engineering in January 1999. The project has been divided into two segments for environmental review purposes. The environmental review process has been completed for the Southern segment, from Cromwell Station to Hamburg Street, and a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) is expected in early 2000. The Northern segment, North Avenue to Timonium, is expected to complete the environmental review process by the spring of 2000. MTA is expected to request FTA approval to enter final design upon completion of all environmental reviews.

Section 3030(a)(42) of TEA-21 authorizes the "Maryland – Light Rail Double Track" for final design and construction. A total of $0.99 million in §5309 new starts funds has been appropriated for this project through FY 1999, and an additional $4.66 million was provided in FY 2000.

FTA anticipates that the MTA will be ready for an FFGA for this project before the end of FY 2001. The total amount of the Federal commitment will be determined at that time. In preparation for this expected commitment, it is recommended that $10.00 million be provided to this project in FY 2001.

Chicago/Douglas Branch Reconstruction

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is proposing a complete reconstruction of the Douglas Branch. Part of the CTA’s Blue Line, the 11-station Douglas Branch extends 6.6 miles from Cermack Avenue to a point just west of downtown Chicago. Dating to the turn of the last century, the oldest segment on the line opened in 1896 and the "newest" in 1910, though numerous improvements and upgrades were made through the mid-1980’s. Age-related deterioration has resulted in high maintenance and operating costs on the line, and declining service.

This project is included in the financially constrained long range regional transportation plan developed by the Chicago Area Transportation Study (CATS), the local Metropolitan Planning Organization. The Douglas Branch Reconstruction project was approved for preliminary engineering in the fall of 1999.

The total capital cost of the project is estimated at $450.80 million, of which the CTA is expected to seek $320.10 million (71 percent) in §5309 new starts funds. The Douglas Branch currently carries approximately 27,000 riders on an average weekday, and serves one of the most economically distressed areas in Chicago; low income households make up 30 percent of the total number of households within walking distance of the stations. The line has been in operation for over 100 years, and serves neighborhoods that originally developed along the system. The corridor contains an estimated 54,000 jobs and 115,000 residents within ½-mile of the stations, and serves the University of Illinois at Chicago (25,000 students) and a large, dense central business district with an estimated 339,000 jobs. Population and employment densities are high, averaging 9,100 jobs and nearly 20,000 people per square mile. After "looping" through the central business district, the Blue Line also extends to O’Hare International Airport and the Medical Center Complex. The reconstruction project is rated medium-high for both justification and local financial commitment, earning it an overall rating of "highly recommended."

The Douglas Branch is authorized for final design and construction by Section 3030(a)(106) of TEA-21. A total of $1.49 million in §5309 new starts funds has been appropriated for this project through FY 1999, and an additional $3.43 million was provided in FY 2000.

FTA anticipates that the CTA will be ready for an FFGA for this project by the end of FY 2001. The total amount of the Federal commitment will be determined at that time. In preparation for this expected commitment, it is recommended that $17.00 million be provided to this project in FY 2001.

Chicago/Metra South West Corridor Commuter Rail

Metra, the commuter rail division of the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) of northeastern Illinois, is planning an extension and various improvements to the existing South West commuter rail line. The 29-mile South West line provides service from Orland Park, Illinois, to downtown Chicago. This project would extend the line 11 miles from the existing station at 179th Street in Orland Park, southwest to Manhattan, Illinois. Also included in this project are the construction of three miles of a second mainline track, two additional stations and parking facilities, and multiple track, signal, and station improvements. The project also includes expansion of two existing rail yards, construction of a third rail yard, rehabilitation of several railroad bridges, and the purchase of two diesel locomotives and 13 bi-level passenger cars. Finally, the downtown Chicago terminal would be relocated from Union Station to the LaSalle Street Station as part of this project.

Metra completed a Major Investment Study (MIS) that resulted in the selection of this project in August 1998. The MIS fulfills the statutory requirement for an alternatives analysis. The South West Corridor project has been incorporated into the metropolitan planning organization’s 2020 long-range transportation plan and the Transportation Improvement Program. FTA approved entry into preliminary engineering in December 1998.

The South West corridor, located along the former Norfolk Southern railroad right-or-way between the southwest side of Chicago and Orland Park in Cook County, includes the Chicago central business district, the most significant hub of employment in the six-county northeastern Illinois region. It also encompasses the central and southwest portions of Will County, including the former Joliet Arsenal property. Metra estimates that the extension and improvements would serve 13,800 average weekday boardings, including 7,600 new riders, by 2020. Northeastern Illinois is classified as a "severe" nonattainment area for ozone. The total capital cost of this project is estimated at $165.50 million, of which Metra is expected to seek $103.86 million (63 percent) in §5309 new starts funds. This project has been rated "medium-high" for both finance and project justification, resulting in an overall rating of "highly recommended."

Section 3030(a)(12) of TEA-21 authorizes the "Southwest Extension (METRA)" for final design and construction. Through FY 1999, a total of $2.98 million has been provided for this project, and Metra allocated an additional $1.73 million from its overall FY 2000 new starts appropriation. FTA estimates that Metra will be ready for an FFGA for this project before the end of FY 2001. The total amount of the Federal commitment will be determined at that time. In preparation for this expected commitment, it is recommended that $10.00 million be provided to this project in FY 2001.

Denver/Southeast Corridor LRT

The Regional Transportation District (RTD) in Denver and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) are proposing a 19-mile, 14-station light rail line between downtown Denver and Lincoln Avenue in Douglas County along I-25, with a spur along I-225 to Parker Road in Arapahoe County. The double-tracked line would operate over an exclusive right-of-way and connect with both the existing Central Corridor light rail line in downtown Denver, and the Southwest line which is currently under construction.

The RTD, CDOT, and the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) completed a major investment study (MIS) for this corridor in July 1997, fulfilling the requirement for alternatives analysis. The MIS resulted in the selection of a multimodal package of highway and transit improvements, including this project. The Southeast Corridor light rail project is included in DRCOG’s 2020 Long Range Regional Transportation Plan. FTA approved entry into preliminary engineering in the spring of 1998; a Final Environmental Impact Statement is expected in December 1999, and a Record of Decision (ROD) in early 2000. RTD estimates that this project will be ready to open for service in 2007.

The total capital cost of the Southeast Corridor is estimated at $882.50 million, of which RTD is expected to seek $525.00 million (60 percent) in §5309 new starts funds. The RTD estimates that by 2020 the Southeast Corridor light rail line will serve a total of 38,100 average weekday boardings, and 12,900 daily new riders. The zoning requirements needed to implement the RTD’s Transit Station Development Program, which requires sidewalks, landscaping, transit-friendly site design, mixed-use development, and trip reduction programs, are in place at all but one of the Denver stations. The "Action Agenda" of Denver’s Comprehensive Plan endorses the improvement of pedestrian-oriented streets. The RTD is in solid financial condition, and most of the local funding needed to carry out this project has been committed. In November 1999, voters approved a local referendum authorizing RTD to incur debt to construct the Southeast LRT, and extended an exemption from State restrictions on revenue retention. This project has a financial rating of "medium-high" and is rated "medium" for justification, earning an overall rating of "recommended."

Section 3030(a)(23) of TEA-21 authorized this project for final design and construction. A total of $0.50 million in §5309 new starts funds has been appropriated for this project through FY 1999, and an additional $2.94 million was provided in FY 2000.

FTA anticipates that the RTD will be ready for an FFGA for this project before the end of FY 2001. The total amount of the Federal commitment will be determined at that time. In preparation for this expected commitment, it is recommended that $20.00 million be provided to this project in FY 2001.

Memphis/Medical Center Extension

The Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA), in cooperation with the City of Memphis, is proposing to build a 2.5-mile light rail extension to the Main Street Trolley/Riverfront Loop village rail system. The extension would expand service from the central business district (CBD) east to the Medical Center area. The line would operate on city streets in mixed traffic and would connect with the Main Street Trolley, sharing a lane with automobile traffic on Madison Avenue between Main Street and Cleveland Street. Six new stations would be located along the route. The line will be designed to accommodate light rail vehicles, but vintage rail cars would be used until a proposed regional LRT line is implemented and a fleet of modern LRT vehicles is acquired. This project would be the last segment of the downtown rail circulation system as well as the first segment of a regional light rail line.

This project is included in the City of Memphis' Capital Improvement Program, the Memphis MPO Transportation Improvement Program, and the State Transportation Improvement Program. A Major Investment Study/Environmental Assessment was completed in May 1997, fulfilling the statutory requirement for an alternatives analysis. FTA approved entry into preliminary engineering in April 1998. A Supplemental Environmental Assessment is being prepared to document changes to the proposed project and to incorporate updated data developed during the preliminary engineering process. Completion of preliminary engineering and the environmental assessment is anticipated in early 2000, and FTA expects a request for approval to enter final design shortly thereafter.

The total capital cost of the project is estimated at $69.10 million, of which MATA is expected to seek $55.30 million (80 percent) in §5309 new starts funding. MATA estimates that this extension will serve 4,200 average daily boardings and 1,700 new riders by 2020. This project is rated "medium" for both finance and justification, resulting in an overall project rating of "recommended."

The Memphis Corridor was authorized for final design and construction by Section 3030(a)(43) of TEA-21. A total of $7.93 million in §5309 new starts funds has been appropriated for this project through FY 1999, and an additional $2.45 million was provided in FY 2000.

FTA anticipates that MATA will be ready for an FFGA for this project before the end of FY 2001. The total amount of the Federal commitment will be determined at that time. In preparation for this expected commitment, it is recommended that $14.17 million be provided to this project in FY 2001.

Minneapolis/Hiawatha Corridor LRT

Metro Transit and the Metropolitan Council of Minneapolis (the local MPO), in cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), Hennepin County, and the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), plan to implement an 11.5-mile, 15-station light rail line linking downtown Minneapolis, the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, and the Mall of America in Bloomington. The line would operate along the corridor following Hiawatha Avenue and Trunk Highway 55. Current plans call for the line to begin in the central business district and travel south on the existing transit mall south along 5th Street, follow the former Soo Line Railroad from the Metrodome to Franklin Avenue, and then run parallel along Hiawatha Avenue towards the airport. The line will tunnel under the runways and taxiways for 0.8 miles, with one station, emerge on the west side of the airport, and continue south to the vicinity of the Mall of America in Bloomington.

The Hiawatha Avenue light rail project is included in the region’s financially-constrained Transportation Improvement Program and the Long-Range Transportation Plan. A Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) was completed and a Record of Decision issued in February 1985. FTA approved entry into preliminary engineering in January 1999, and Metro Transit completed a re-evaluation of the 1985 FEIS in August 1999. FTA is currently reviewing Metro Transit’s request for approval to enter final design.

The total capital cost for the Hiawatha Avenue light rail line is estimated at $548.60 million, of which Metro Transit is expected to seek $274.30 million (50 percent) from the §5309 new starts program. The line is expected to serve 24,600 average daily boardings and 9,300 new riders by 2020. The Twin Cities region has been experiencing steady population and economic growth, and the Minneapolis CBD is growing at a rate significantly higher than the region overall. Nearly 200,000 jobs and 70,000 residents are within ½-mile of the Hiawatha Avenue line, with population expected to grow by 25 percent and employment by 37 percent in the next 20 years. This project is rated "medium-high" for finance and "medium" for justification, earning an overall rating of "recommended."

Section 3030(a)(91) of TEA-21 authorizes the "Twin Cities – Transitway Corridors" for final design and construction. A total of $27.33 million in §5309 new starts funds has been appropriated for this project through FY 1999, and an additional $41.99 million was provided in FY 2000.

FTA anticipates that Metro Transit will be ready for an FFGA for this project by the end of FY 2001. The total amount of the Federal commitment will be determined at that time. In preparation for this expected commitment, it is recommended that $20.00 million be provided to this project in FY 2001.

Northern New Jersey/Hudson-Bergen MOS-2

NJ Transit is proposing to construct a second Minimum Operable Segment (MOS-2) of the Hudson-Bergen LRT system. The full Hudson-Bergen project is a $2.00 billion, 20.1-mile, 30-station light rail line from the Vince Lombardi Park-and-Ride lot in Bergen County to West Fifth Street in Bayonne, Hudson County, serving the high-density commercial and residential centers in Hoboken and Jersey City and connecting with ferries and the PATH and NJ Transit commuter rail lines. Construction of MOS-1, a 9.6-mile, 16-station light rail line from the Hoboken Terminal to 34th Street in Bayonne and Westside Avenue in Jersey City, is proceeding under an FFGA and is nearing completion.

The Hudson-Bergen MOS-2 project is a 6.1-mile, 7-station segment running north from Hoboken Terminal to the Tonnelle Avenue park-and-ride lot in North Bergen, and south to 22nd Street in Bayonne. The total capital cost of MOS-2 is estimated at $1,112.80 million, of which NJ Transit is expected to seek $721.60 million (65 percent) in §5309 new starts funds. The line will serve an area with one of the highest residential densities in the region, and the downtown Jersey City area contains the largest concentration of office development in Hudson County. By providing connections to ferry and commuter rail service, it will also serve the Manhattan central business district. Estimated ridership in 2010 is 34,900 average weekday boardings and 24,100 daily new riders. This project is rated "medium" for both project justification and local financial commitment, resulting in an overall rating of "recommended."

NJ Transit is seeking a Federal funding commitment to the Hudson-Bergen MOS-2 project, which is expected to be ready for an FFGA before the end of FY 2001. The MOS-2 project will not require funding from the §5309 new starts program until FY 2004; however, issuing an FFGA now would provide NJ Transit with the authority to borrow funds to begin construction as soon as MOS-1 is complete, under the same turnkey contract. This would permit the entire Hudson-Bergen project to be constructed at a lower cost by avoiding the significant costs associated with stopping and then restarting a major construction project. Therefore, while FTA intends to enter into an FFGA for the Hudson-Bergen MOS-2 project, no §5309 new starts funding recommendation is required for this project in FY 2001.

Pittsburgh/Stage II LRT Reconstruction

The Port Authority of Allegheny County ("Port Authority," formerly "PATransit" or "PAT") is in the process of reconstructing Pittsburgh’s old 25-mile trolley lines to modern light rail standards. The reconstruction is taking place in two stages. The Stage I Light Rail Transit (LRT) project, undertaken in the 1980s, included reconstruction of the first segment and construction of Pittsburgh’s first subway. Ground was broken on the Stage I LRT project in December 1980, and the reconstruction of this segment was completed in 1987. The Stage II LRT project includes reconstruction of the remaining 12 miles of the system, which consists of the Overbrook, Library and Drake trolley lines, to modern LRT standards. Single-track segments will be double-tracked, the Overbook and Drake lines (which are currently closed) would be reopened, and 28 new light rail vehicles would be purchased.

In order to prioritize program needs against financing requirements, Port Authority reconfigured its rail improvement program in 1999. As a result, the Stage II LRT project will itself be undertaken in segments. The revised Stage II LRT Priority Program includes reconstruction of 6.3 miles on both the Overbrook Line and a portion of the Library Line, construction of 2,400 park-and-ride spaces, and the purchase of 28 light rail vehicles. The remaining portions of the original Stage II LRT project will be undertaken as local funding becomes available.

The total capital cost of the Stage II LRT Priority Program is estimated at $383.73 million, of which Port Authority is expected to seek $100.20 million (26 percent) in §5309 new starts funds. Ridership is estimated at 24,000 average weekday boardings, with 9,800 new riders projected. The alignment serves older, small neighborhoods that were developed during the streetcar era, and are oriented towards the trolley line. Approximately 32,000 people live within ½-mile of the Stage II stations. The project would reconnect these areas with Pittsburgh’s relatively compact and high-density CBD, a regional employment center that includes retail, cultural, and entertainment activities, several colleges, and some housing. Nearly all of the 120,000 jobs within the CBD are within ½-mile of LRT and busway stations. The mountainous topography surrounding the city acts to contain sprawling development. The Stage II LRT project is rated "medium" for both project justification and finance, earning an overall project rating of "recommended."

Section 3030(a)(98) authorizes the "Pittsburgh – Stage II Light Rail" project for final design and construction. Through FY 1999, a total of $3.97 million has been appropriated for this project, and an additional $7.85 million was provided in FY 2000. Port Authority is expected to be ready for an FFGA for the Stage II LRT Priority Program before the end of FY 2001. The total amount of the Federal commitment will be determined at that time. In preparation for this expected commitment, it is recommended that $20.00 million be provided to this project in FY 2001.

Portland/ Interstate MAX LRT Extension

The Tri-County Metropolitan Transit District of Oregon (Tri-Met) is planning a 5.6-mile, 10-station extension of the Metropolitan Area Express ("MAX") light rail system, which will connect the Portland’s central business district with the regional Exposition Center in north Portland. Riders will be able to transfer between the North Corridor extension and the existing 33-mile East/West MAX line at the Rose Quarter station. This line will complement regional land use plans by connecting established residential, commercial, entertainment and other major activity centers, and will provide a key transportation link in the region’s welfare-to-work programs. Tri-Met estimates that the North Corridor extension will serve 18,100 average weekday boardings and 8,400 new riders by 2020. The total capital cost of this project is estimated at $350.00 million, of which Tri-Met is expected to seek $257.50 million (73 percent) from the FTA §5309 new starts program.

This project evolved from the proposed 12-mile South-North light rail line after voters rejected an affirmation of a previously-approved general obligation bond measure that would have funded construction. In response to the vote, Tri-Met reevaluated alternative alignments and funding strategies to implement the system. In June 1999, Tri-Met adopted the North Corridor–Interstate MAX and the City of Portland approved a resolution committing $30.00 million to the project.

FTA approved entry into preliminary engineering for the South-North project in April 1996. The Final Environmental Impact Statement was completed in October 1999, and FTA anticipates a Record of Decision in early 2000. A request for approval to enter final design is expected shortly thereafter.

Section 3030(a)(66) of TEA-21 authorizes the "Portland South-North Corridor (Interstate MAX)" project for final design and construction. A total of $8.96 million in §5309 new starts funds has been appropriated for this project through FY 2000. FTA anticipates that Tri-Met will be ready for an FFGA for this project before the end of FY 2001. The total amount of the Federal commitment will be determined at that time. In preparation for this expected commitment, it is recommended that $40.00 million be provided to this project in FY 2001.

Salt Lake City/CBD to University LRT

The Utah Transit Authority (UTA) is proposing to construct a 2.5-mile, four station light rail line in eastern Salt Lake City, from the downtown area to Rice-Eccles Stadium on the University of Utah campus. The line would connect with the existing North/South line at Main Street and travel east along 400 South and 500 South to the stadium. Light rail vehicles would operate on city streets and property owned by Salt Lake City, the Utah Department of Transportation, and the University. The line is intended to significantly improve access to jobs, educational opportunities, health care, and housing throughout the 400 South corridor.

The Wasatch Front Regional Council (WFRC) completed a major investment study and issued a Draft Environmental Impact Statement in July 1997 for the originally-proposed West-East corridor, fulfilling the requirement for alternatives analysis. FTA approved entry into preliminary engineering in January 1998. The Final Environmental Impact Statement was published in January 1999, and the Record of Decision is expected in early 2000. UTA is conducting an Environmental Reassessment Report to reflect the decision to pursue the 2.5-mile University Corridor line.

The total capital cost of the University Corridor line is estimated at $105.75 million, of which UTA is expected to seek $84.60 million (80 percent) in §5309 new starts funding. Ridership is forecast at 7,600 average weekday boardings in 2020, with 3,100 daily new riders. The central business district and the University are major trip generators, and the line passes through an active urban-scale commercial corridor surrounded by medium-density residential and mixed-use development. The connection with the North/South line links the corridor to higher-intensity activity centers, such as the Delta Center and the Salt Palace Convention Center. This project is rated "medium" for both finance and project justification, resulting in an overall rating of "recommended."

Section 3030(a)(72) of TEA-21 authorizes the "Salt Lake City – Light Rail (Airport to the University)" project for final design and construction. A total of $4.96 million in §5309 new starts funds has been appropriated for this project through FY 2000. FTA anticipates that UTA will be ready for an FFGA for this project before the end of FY 2001. The total amount of the Federal commitment will be determined at that time. In preparation for this expected commitment, it is recommended that $15.00 million be provided to this project in FY 2001.

Seattle/Central Link LRT (MOS)

The Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority (Sound Transit) is planning a 23.5-mile, 23-station light rail transit project running north to south from Northgate, through downtown Seattle, Southeast Seattle and the cities of Tukwila and SeaTac. The Link LRT system would connect with and operate through the existing 1.6-mile Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel. Sound Transit plans to implement this system as a series of "minimum operable segments" (MOS). The first MOS will consist of a 7.2-mile, 10-station line running southwest from NE 45th Street to South Lander Street, operating over a combination of new, exclusive right-of-way and through the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel. The total cost of the MOS is estimated at $1,500.00 million, of which Sound Transit is expected to seek $500.00 million (33 percent) in §5309 new starts funding. Ridership for the MOS is estimated at 87,200 average daily boardings and 39,800 daily new riders.

The Link LRT system is one element of Sound Transit's voter-approved ten year, $3.914 billion Sound Move regional transit plan, which also includes a 2-mile light rail line in downtown Tacoma; an 82-mile commuter rail system operating between Lakewood and Everett (the Sounder); 20 new regional express bus routes; 14 High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) direct access ramps (providing access to over 100 miles of existing HOV lanes); 14 new park and ride lots and 9 transit centers; and other service improvements. The entire 23.5-mile Link LRT is expected to serve 156,400 daily riders by 2020. The total capital cost of the complete system as proposed is estimated to be $3.1 billion.

The RTA Board adopted the Sound Move regional transit plan in May 1996. Voters approved $3.914 billion in local funding for implementation of the plan in November 1996. A Major Investment Study of Sound Move's services was completed in March 1997. Sound Move is included in the Puget Sound Regional Council's (the area's MPO) Transportation Plan and Regional Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). FTA approved initiation of preliminary engineering on the Link LRT in July 1997. Sound Transit is expected to request FTA approval to enter final design for MOS-1 in early 2000.

The Seattle Sound Move Corridor, of which Link is one element, was authorized for final design and construction by Section 3030(a)(85) of TEA-21. Through FY 1999, Congress has appropriated $16.91 million in §5309 new starts funds for Sound Move. An additional $24.53 million was appropriated for the Link LRT in FY 2000.

The Link LRT MOS-1 has been rated "medium-high" for finance and "high" for project justification, based on FTA’s evaluation under §5309(e). This results in an overall project rating of "highly recommended." FTA anticipates that Sound Transit will be ready for an FFGA for MOS-1 of the Link LRT before the end of FY 2001. The total amount of the Federal commitment will be determined at that time. In preparation for this expected commitment, it is recommended that $35.00 million be provided for this project in FY 2001.

Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area/Largo Extension

The Maryland Mass Transit Administration (MTA) and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) are planning a joint project to extend the Blue Line of the Washington Metrorail system from the Addison Road station to Largo Town Center in Prince George’s County, Maryland. The 3.1-mile, two-station extension will be operated by WMATA as an integral part of the regional Metrorail system, providing access to downtown Washington, D.C. and the surrounding counties in Maryland and Virginia. The line follows an alignment through central Prince George’s County that has been preserved as a rail transit corridor in the county’s Master Plan. The two new stations will be located at Summerfield Boulevard north of MD-214 (Central Avenue) and at Largo Town Center just outside the Capitol Beltway (I-95). Shuttle bus service is proposed to link both new stations with FedEx Field (formerly known as Redskins Stadium). MTA will manage the project through preliminary engineering, and WMATA will undertake final design and construction. MTA and WMATA expect this extension to open for service by September 2004.

The Largo Extension was approved as an addition to the original 103-mile Metrorail system in February 1997, and is included in the National Capitol Region’s Constrained Long Range Plan. FTA approved entry into preliminary engineering in February 1996. The Final Environmental Impact Statement was completed in September 1999, with a Record of Decision expected in early 2000. WMATA will assume responsibility for managing the project upon submission of a request to FTA for approval to enter final design.

The total capital cost of the Largo Extension of the Metrorail system is estimated at $433.90 million, of which MTA is expected to seek $260.30 million (60 percent) in §5309 new starts funding. The line will serve the suburban Maryland communities of Landover, Largo and Lottsford, providing direct service to downtown Washington, D.C. The corridor passes through an area of medium-density suburban residential development interspersed with multi-family housing, office parks, civic uses, two major sports/entertainment complexes, recreational parks, and undeveloped land. Ridership is estimated at 28,500 average weekday boardings by 2020, and 16,400 daily new riders. The Prince George’s County general plan encourages concentration of land use around station areas, and plans for those areas are consistent with the State’s Smart Growth Initiative. Several joint development opportunities are under consideration. The Maryland Transportation Trust Fund would provide the local funding required for this project. The Largo Extension has been rated "medium" for both local financial commitment and project justification, earning an overall project rating of "recommended."

This project is authorized by Section 3030(a)(94) of TEA-21 for final design and construction. A total of $0.99 million has been appropriated through 1999, and an additional $4.66 million was provided in FY 2000. FTA anticipates that MTA and WMATA will be ready for an FFGA for the Largo Extension before the end of FY 2001. The total amount of the Federal commitment will be determined at that time. In preparation for this expected commitment, it is recommended that $10.00 million be provided for this project in FY 2001.