New Starts Allocations and Recommendations

The President's budget for FY 2002 proposes that $1,136.40 million be made available for new starts under §5309. This represents the full amount of guaranteed funds authorized by TEA-21. After subtracting amounts for FTA oversight activities as proposed in the budget, and for other purposes specified by §5309(m)(5)(A),[1] a total of $1,114.74 million remains available for projects. Of this amount, a total of $993.51 million will be allocated among 24 projects with existing Federal commitments. An additional $37.23 million will be allocated among two projects for which funding commitments are currently pending, and $84.00 million will be allocated among five projects that are expected to be ready for funding commitments before the end of FY 2002 (i.e., September 30, 2002). Complete descriptions of these projects can be found in Appendix A.

Table 2 summarizes the recommendations for FY 2002 funding and overall funding commitments. For each project, the first column indicates the overall project rating, as described earlier in this report. The second column shows the amount of FY 2000 and prior year funds that have been obligated by each project. The third column shows the amount of funds available as a result of the FY 2001 DOT Appropriations Act (adjusted for the oversight takedown). The fourth column shows the FY 2002 funding recommendations contained in the President’s budget request, and the fifth indicates the maximum amount of outyear funding remaining for those projects under FFGAs. Finally, the last column sums the first five columns and shows the total amount to be made available over the life of the project from Federal transit major capital investment funds.

A Word About Full Funding Grant Agreements

Section 5309(e)(7) specifies the Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) as the means by which new starts projects are to be funded. The FFGA is also the principal means used by FTA to manage the new starts caseload. FTA also has the discretion to use an FFGA in awarding Federal assistance for other major capital projects.

The FFGA defines the project, including cost and schedule; commits to a maximum level of Federal financial assistance (subject to appropriation); establishes the terms and conditions of Federal financial participation; covers the period of time for completion of the project; and helps to manage the project in accordance with Federal law. The FFGA assures the grantee of predictable Federal financial support for the project (subject to appropriation) while placing a ceiling on the amount of that Federal support.

An FFGA also limits the exposure of FTA and the Federal government to cost increases that may result if project design, engineering and/or planning is not adequately performed at the local level. FTA is primarily a financial assistance agency; it is not directly involved in the design and construction of new starts projects. While FTA is responsible for ensuring that planning projections are based on realistic assumptions and that design and construction follow acceptable industry procedures, it is the responsibility of project sponsors to ensure that proper planning, design and engineering have been performed.

Additional information and guidance on developing FFGAs is contained in FTA Circular C 5200.1, Full Funding Grant Agreements Guidance, dated July 2, 1993, and the FTA Rule on Project Management Oversight (49 CFR Part 633).

Existing Federal Funding Commitments

Twenty-six projects have existing FFGAs that commit FTA to provide specified levels of major capital investment funding. Two of these projects are not included in the funding recommendations: the Hudson-Bergen MOS-2 project in Northern New Jersey, because the FFGA does not commit funding before FY 2003; and the Central Link light rail project in Seattle, because the FFGA is under review. The remaining 24 projects will require a total of $993.51 million in FY 2002. The status of these projects and the individual funding recommendations for FY 2002 are described below. All of these projects have been authorized by TEA-21, and all were either under an FFGA prior to TEA-21 or have been rated as “recommended” or higher at the time the FFGA was issued.[2]

Table 2: FY 2002 New Starts Funding Recommendations

Atlanta/North Springs

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) is constructing a 2.3-mile, 2-station extension of the North Line from the Dunwoody station to North Springs. This extension will serve the rapidly-growing area north of Atlanta, which includes Perimeter Center and north Fulton County, and will connect this area with the rest of the region by providing better transit service for both commuters and inner-city residents traveling to expanding job opportunities.

On December 20, 1994, FTA issued an FFGA committing a total of $305.01 million in new starts funding to this project. In the Conference Report to the FY 2000 appropriations act, FTA was instructed to amend the FFGA for this project to incorporate a change in scope as authorized under Section 3030(d)(2) of TEA-21. Accordingly, on March 2, 2000, FTA amended the FFGA to include 28 additional railcars, a multilevel parking facility in lieu of a surface parking lot, and enhancements to customer security and amenity measures at the Sandy Springs and North Springs stations. The total cost of the amended project is $463.18 million, with $370.54 million from the §5309 new starts program. Of the $65.53 million increase in Federal funding, $10.67 million was applied from unexpended prior-year funds identified from cost savings on the Dunwoody section of the North Line extension. Including these prior-year funds, a total of $304.82 million has been appropriated for this project in FY 2000 and prior years, and an additional $24.77 million was provided in FY 2001. This leaves $40.95 million remaining in the amended FFGA for this project. It is recommended that $25.07 million be provided to this project in FY 2002, with the remaining $15.88 million to be provided in future years.

Boston/South Boston Piers Transitway Phase 1

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) is developing an underground transitway to connect the existing transit system with the South Boston Piers area. The Piers area, which is connected to the central business district (CBD) by three local bridges, is undergoing significant development. A 1.5-mile tunnel, which will be constructed in two phases, will extend from the existing Boylston Station to the World Trade Center; five underground stations will provide connections to the MBTA's Red, Orange, and Green Lines. Dual-mode trackless trolleys will operate in the transitway tunnel and on surface routes in the eastern end of the Piers area.

Phase 1 of this project consists of a 1-mile, three-station bus tunnel between South Station and the World Trade Center, with an intermediate stop at Fan Pier. Part of the construction is being coordinated with the Central Artery highway project. South Station serves the existing MBTA Red Line, as well as Amtrak and commuter rail and bus service. The total estimated cost of Phase I is $601.00 million. Phase II would extend the transitway to Boylston Station on the Green Line and the Chinatown Station on the Orange Line.

Section 3035(j) of ISTEA directed FTA to enter into an FFGA for this project. On November 5, 1994, an FFGA was issued for Phase 1, committing a total of $330.73 million in §5309 new starts funding. Through FY 2000, a total of $294.76 million has been provided for this project. The FY 2001 appropriation provided an additional $24.77 million. This leaves $11.20 million required to complete the Federal commitment to this project. It is recommended that these remaining funds be provided in FY 2002 to complete the FFGA. This phase of the transitway is expected to open in December 2002.

Chicago/CTA Douglas Branch Reconstruction

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is proposing a complete reconstruction of the Douglas Branch heavy rail line. 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 19th 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, as well as declining service.

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 total capital cost of the Douglas Branch Reconstruction project is estimated at $482.60 million.

The Douglas Branch is authorized for final design and construction by Section 3030(a)(106) of TEA-21. In January 2001, FTA and CTA entered into an FFGA that commits a total of $320.10 million in §5309 new starts funds to this project. A total of $4.92 million has been appropriated through FY 2000, and an additional $14.86 million was provided in FY 2001. This leaves $300.32 million needed to fulfill the FFGA. In accordance with Attachment 6 of the FFGA, it is recommended that $35.00 million in §5309 new starts funds be provided to this project in FY 2002.

Dallas/North Central LRT Extension

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) is constructing a 12.5-mile, 9-station extension of its light rail system from the Park Lane Station north to the City of Plano. DART estimates that approximately 17,000 riders will use this extension by 2020, of which 6,800 will be new riders. The total cost of this project is estimated at $517.20 million. DART began contracting for construction and purchasing vehicles and necessary right-of-way in May 1998, and expects to open the North Central extension for revenue service in December 2003.

The North Central extension is authorized for final design and construction under Section 3030(a)(20) of TEA-21. FTA issued an FFGA for this project on October 6, 1999, which will provide a total of $333.00 million in §5309 new starts funding. Through FY 2000, a total of $92.27 million has been provided to this project, with an additional $69.35 million appropriated in FY 2001. This leaves $171.38 million required to complete the Federal funding commitment. It is recommended that $71.20 million be provided to this project in FY 2002; this includes the $70.00 million specified in Attachment 6 of the FFGA, plus an additional $1.20 million to compensate for prior year Federal funding shortfalls where appropriations were less than the amounts specified in the FFGA. The remaining $100.18 million required to complete the project would be provided in future years.

Denver/Southeast Corridor LRT

The Regional Transportation District (RTD) in Denver and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) are implementing a 19.12-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 total capital cost of this project is estimated at $879.30 million. Revenue service is projected to begin by June 30, 2008.

Section 3030(a)(23) of TEA-21 authorized the Southeast LRT in Denver for final design and construction. FTA issued an FFGA for this project on November 17, 2000, which will provide a total of $525.00 million in §5309 new starts funding. A total of $3.44 million in §5309 new starts funds has been appropriated for this project through FY 2000, and an additional $2.97 million was provided in FY 2001. It is recommended that $71.80 million be provided to this project in FY 2002; this includes the amount specified in Attachment 6 of the FFGA, plus additional funding to compensate for prior year Federal funding shortfalls where appropriations were less than the amounts specified in the FFGA. The remaining $446.79 million needed to complete this project would be provided in future years.

Denver/Southwest Corridor LRT

The Denver RTD Southwest Corridor light rail extension opened for revenue service in July 2000. The 8.7-mile, five-station line between Denver and Littleton extends from the I-25/Broadway station on the existing Central Corridor line south to Mineral Avenue in Littleton, running parallel to Santa Fe Drive over an exclusive, grade-separated right-of-way. The total cost of this project was $176.32 million. Ridership in the opening year has exceeded not only the original opening-year forecast of 8,400 daily passengers, but also the projections of 22,000 daily riders by 2015. The line currently serves 30,000 passengers per day.

FTA issued an FFGA for this project on May 9, 1996, which will provide a total of $120.00 million in §5309 new starts funding. Through FY 2000, a total of $99.79 million has been provided to this project, with an additional $20.01 million appropriated in FY 2001. This leaves $192,492 required to complete the Federal funding commitment. It is recommended that these remaining funds be provided in FY 2002 to complete the FFGA.

Ft. Lauderdale/Tri-Rail Commuter Rail Upgrade

The Tri-County Commuter Rail Authority (Tri-Rail) is proposing a number of system improvements to the 71.7-mile regional transportation system it operates between Palm Beach, Broward and Dade Counties in South Florida. This area has a population of over four million, nearly one-third of the total population of Florida. The planned improvements include construction of a second mainline track, rehabilitation of the signal system, station and parking improvements, acquisition of new rolling stock, improvements to the Hialeah Maintenance Yard facility and construction of a new, northern layover facility. The proposed double-tracking will improve service by a factor of three, permitting 20-minute intervals between trains during peak commuter hours instead of the current one-hour headways. Tri-Rail estimates that these improvements will serve 42,100 average daily boardings by 2015, including 10,200 daily new riders.

On May 16, 2000, FTA issued an FFGA for Segment 5 of the Double Track Corridor Improvement Program, which includes construction of 44.31 miles of the second mainline track and upgrades to the existing grade crossing system along the entire 71.7-mile South Florida Rail Corridor. It is expected to open for revenue service on March 21, 2005. The first four segments, upgrading the Hialeah Maintenance Yard and replacing the New River Bridge, while part of the overall Double Track Corridor Improvement Program, are not included in the scope of this project. Total capital costs for the Segment 5 project are estimated at $327.00 million.

The FFGA for the Double Track Corridor Improvement Program Segment 5 Project will provide a total of $110.50 million in §5309 new starts funding. Tri-Rail has allocated a total of $10.81 million in FY 2000 and prior year funding to this project, and an additional $14.86 million was appropriated in FY 2001. This leaves $84.83 million required to complete the Federal commitment; FTA recommends that this remaining amount be provided in FY 2002.

Houston/Regional Bus Plan

Houston Metro is implementing a $625.00 million package of improvements to its existing bus system. This Regional Bus Plan includes service expansions in most of the region, new and extended HOV (High-Occupancy Vehicle, or "carpool") facilities and ramps, new buses, several transit centers and park-and-ride lots, and supporting facilities. This collection of projects was selected as the locally-preferred alternative over a proposed rail project in 1992.

An FFGA was issued on December 30, 1994, to provide a total of $500.00 million in §5309 new starts funds for the Regional Bus project. A total of $489.27 million has been provided through FY 2000; the FY 2001 appropriation provided an additional $10.65 million. The FY 2002 budget recommends that the remaining $95,459 required to fulfill the Federal commitment be provided to this project. All projects under the Regional Bus Plan are expected to be completed by December 2004.

Los Angeles/North Hollywood

The Los Angeles Metro Rail Red Line rapid-rail system is being planned, programmed and constructed in phases, through a series of "Minimum Operable Segments" (MOSs). The first of these segments (MOS-1), a 4.4-mile, 5-station segment, opened for revenue service in January 1993. A 2.1-mile, three-station segment of MOS-2 opened along Wilshire Boulevard in July 1996; an additional 4.6-mile, 5-station segment of MOS-2 opened in June 1999, and the Federal funding commitment has been fulfilled. On May 14, 1993, an FFGA was issued to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) for the third construction phase, MOS-3.

MOS-3 was defined under ISTEA (Section 3034) to include three segments: the North Hollywood segment, a 6.3-mile, three-station subway extension of the Hollywood branch of MOS-2 to North Hollywood through the Santa Monica mountains; the Mid-City segment, a 2.3-mile, two-station western extension of the Wilshire Boulevard branch; and an undefined segment of the Eastside project, to the east from the existing Red Line terminus at Union Station. LACMTA later defined this eastern segment as a 3.7-mile, four-station extension under the Los Angeles River to First and Leona in East Los Angeles. On December 28, 1994, the FFGA for MOS-3 was amended to include this definition of the eastern segment, bringing the total commitment of Federal new starts funds for MOS-3 to $1,416.49 million.

In January 1997, FTA requested that LACMTA submit a recovery plan to demonstrate its ability to complete MOS-2 and MOS-3, while maintaining and operating the existing bus system. On January 14, 1998, the LACMTA Board of Directors voted to suspend and demobilize construction on all rail projects other than MOS-2 and the MOS-3 North Hollywood Extension. The MTA submitted a recovery plan to FTA on May 15, 1998, which was approved by FTA on July 2, 1998.

In 1998, LACMTA undertook a Regional Transportation Alternatives Analysis (RTAA) to analyze and evaluate feasible alternatives for the Eastside and Mid-City corridors. The RTAA addressed system investment priorities, allocation of resources to operate existing transit services at a reliable standard, assessment and management of financial risk, countywide bus service expansion, and a process for finalizing corridor investments. On November 9, 1998, the LACMTA Board reviewed the RTAA and directed staff to reprogram resources previously allocated to the Eastside and Mid-City Extensions to the implementation of RTAA recommendations, including the LACMTA Accelerated Bus Procurement Plan.

LACMTA continued to study transit investment options for the Eastside and Mid-City corridors. In October 2000, FTA approved entry into preliminary engineering for a 5.9-mile, 8-station light rail line in the Eastside Corridor between downtown Los Angeles and East Los Angeles. The Mid-City corridor is still undergoing alternatives analysis. FTA will consider the prior Federal commitment under the MOS-3 FFGA as an “other factor” for rating and evaluation purposes for these projects, as long as the identified projects otherwise meet the requirements of the new starts program.

On June 9, 1997, FTA and LACMTA negotiated a revised FFGA covering the North Hollywood segment (Phase 1-A) of MOS-3, which opened in June 2000. The total capital cost of the North Hollywood project is estimated at $1,310.82 million, of which the revised FFGA commits $681.04 million in §5309 new starts funds. Through FY 2000, a total of $581.82 million has been appropriated for the North Hollywood segment of MOS-3; an additional $49.53 million was provided in FY 2001, leaving $49.69 million remaining to complete the commitment under the revised FFGA for this project. It is recommended that the remaining $49.69 million be provided to the North Hollywood segment of MOS-3 in FY 2002.

In terms of the original FFGA for the three MOS-3 segments, a total of $76.48 million was appropriated for the original Mid-City and Eastside segments through FY 2000, with another $11.86 million provided in FY 1999 and FY 2000 for further study of alternatives to these segments. This is in addition to the $631.35 million provided to the North Hollywood segment, which brings total appropriations to date for the original MOS-3 project to $719.69 million, leaving $696.80 million of the original MOS-3 FFGA commitment remaining.

Memphis/Medical Center Extension

The Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA), in cooperation with the City of Memphis, is proposing to build a 2-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. The total capital cost of this project is estimated at $74.58 million. 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 this project for entry into final design in May 2000.

The Memphis Corridor was authorized for final design and construction by Section 3030(a)(43) of TEA-21. On December 12, 2000 FTA issued an FFGA committing a total of $59.67 million in §5309 new starts funds to the Medical Center Extension. A total of $9.89 million has been appropriated for this project through FY 2000; an additional $5.94 million was provided in FY 2001, leaving $43.84 million needed to complete the project. In accordance with Attachment 6 of the FFGA, it is recommended that $20.00 million in §5309 new starts funds be provided in FY 2002, with the remaining $23.84 million to be provided in future years.

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 11.6-mile, 17-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 1.8 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 total capital cost of the Hiawatha Corridor LRT is estimated at $675.40 million.

Section 3030(a)(91) of TEA-21 authorizes the “Twin Cities – Transitway Corridors” for final design and construction. In January 2001, FTA issued an FFGA that commits a total of $334.30 million in §5309 new starts funds to the Hiawatha Corridor LRT. Of this, $69.32 million has been provided in FY 2000 and prior years, and an additional $49.53 million was appropriated in FY 2001. This leaves a total of $215.45 million that will be needed to fulfill the FFGA. In accordance with Attachment 6 of the FFGA, it is recommended that $50.00 million in §5309 new starts funds be provided to this project in FY 2002.

Newark/Newark Rail Link (MOS-1)

The New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJ Transit) is planning a one-mile, five-station extension of the Newark City Subway light rail line, running from Broad Street Station in Newark to Newark Penn Station. This project is planned as the first minimum operable segment (MOS-1) of a proposed 8.8-mile, 16-station light rail system that will link the cities of Newark and Elizabeth, New Jersey. The second stage is a planned one-mile segment from Newark Penn Station to Camp Street in downtown Newark, and the third is the planned remaining 7-mile segment to Elizabeth, which includes a station serving Newark International Airport. The total cost of the MOS-1 segment is estimated at $207.70 million.

Section 3030(a)(57) of TEA-21 authorized the New Jersey Urban Core Project, which consists of eight separate elements including the Newark-Elizabeth Rail Link, for final design and construction. On August 2, 2000 FTA issued an FFGA committing a total of $141.95 million in §5309 new starts funds to the Newark Rail Link MOS-1 project. Through FY 2000, Congress has appropriated a total of $29.68 million for this project. An additional $9.91 million was provided in FY 2001,[3] leaving a total of $102.37 million remaining to complete the project. As specified in Attachment 6 of the FFGA for this project, it is recommended that $20.00 million be provided to this project in FY 2002, with the remaining $82.37 million to be provided in future years.

Northern New Jersey/Hudson-Bergen MOS-1

The New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJ Transit) is constructing a 9.6-mile, 16-station light rail line along the Hudson River Waterfront in Hudson County, from the Hoboken Terminal to 34th Street in Bayonne and Westside Avenue in Jersey City. This line is intended as the initial minimum operable segment (MOS-1) of a larger 21-mile, 30-station line extending from the Vince Lombardi park-and-ride lot in Bergen County to Bayonne, passing through Port Imperial in Weehauken, Hoboken, and Jersey City. The core of the completed system will serve the high-density commercial centers in Jersey City and Hoboken, and provide connections with NJ Transit commuter rail service, PATH trains to Newark and Manhattan, and the Port Imperial ferry from Weehauken to Manhattan. This initial operating segment is being constructed under a turnkey contract to design, build, operate, and maintain the system, which was awarded in October 1996. Total costs are expected to be $992.14 million for MOS-1; construction began in December 1996.

The Department issued an FFGA on October 15, 1996 that commits $604.09 million in §5309 new starts funding for MOS-1. Through FY 2000, a total of $325.43 million has been appropriated for this project. The FY 2001 appropriation provided an additional $119.87 million, leaving $158.79 million needed to complete the Federal commitment. It is recommended that $151.33 million be provided in FY 2002, in accordance with Attachment 6 of the FFGA for this project. The remaining $7.46 million needed to complete the Federal funding commitment would be provided in future years. A portion of the MOS-1 line, between 34th Street and Exchange Place, opened in April 2000, and NJ Transit began revenue service from Exchange Place north to the Pavonia-Newport Station in November 2000. Full service to Hoboken Terminal will begin in spring 2002.

Northern New Jersey/Hudson-Bergen MOS-2

The second Minimum Operable Segment (MOS-2) of the NJ Transit Hudson-Bergen LRT system is a 5.1-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 Hudson-Bergen MOS-2 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. Total costs for MOS-2 are estimated at $1,215.40 million.

FTA issued an FFGA for this project on October 31, 2000, committing a total of $500.00 million in §5309 new starts funds. The MOS-2 project does not require funding from the §5309 new starts program until FY 2003; the issuance of the FFGA at this point provides NJ Transit with the authority to borrow funds to begin construction as soon as MOS-1 is complete, under the same turnkey contract. This permits 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. No prior year funding has been appropriated for MOS-2 from the §5309 new starts program. As the FFGA for this project does not require funding until FY 2003, no funding recommendation is contained in the FY 2002 budget request.

Pittsburgh/Stage II LRT Reconstruction

The Port Authority of Allegheny County (“Port Authority”) 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 10.7 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 total capital cost of the Stage II Priority Program is estimated at $386.40 million. The remaining portions of the original Stage II LRT project will be undertaken as local funding becomes available.

Section 3030(a)(98) authorizes the “Pittsburgh – Stage II Light Rail” project for final design and construction. In January 2001, FTA issued an FFGA for this project that would commit a total of $100.20 million in §5309 new starts funding. Through FY 2000, a total of $11.82 million has been appropriated for this project, and an additional $11.89 million was provided in FY 2001. This leaves a total of $76.49 million needed to complete the anticipated Federal commitment to this project. In accordance with Attachment 6 of the FFGA, it is recommended that $20.00 million be provided in FY 2002.

Portland/ Interstate MAX LRT Extension

The Tri-County Metropolitan Transit District of Oregon (Tri-Met) is planning a 5.8-mile, 10-station extension of the Metropolitan Area Express (“MAX”) light rail system, which will connect Portland’s central business district with the regional Exposition Center in north Portland. Riders will be able to transfer between the Interstate MAX 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. The total cost of the Interstate MAX project is estimated at $350.00 million. Tri-Met estimates that the Interstate MAX extension will serve 18,100 average weekday boardings and 8,400 daily new riders by 2020.

On September 20, 2000, FTA and Tri-Met entered into an FFGA that commits a total of $257.50 million in §5309 new starts funds to the Interstate MAX project. This does not include funding appropriated in prior years that was allocated to Portland Metro for the 12-mile South-North light rail line originally proposed for this corridor. The FY 2001 appropriation provided $7.43 million for the Interstate MAX light rail extension, leaving $250.07 million required to complete the FFGA. It is recommended that $80.09 million be provided for this project in FY 2002; this includes the amount specified in Attachment 6 of the FFGA, plus additional funding to compensate for prior year Federal funding shortfalls where appropriations were less than the amounts specified in the FFGA. The remaining $169.98 million needed to complete the project would be provided in future years.

Sacramento/South LRT Extension

The Sacramento Regional Transit District (RT) is developing an 11.3-mile light rail project in the South Sacramento Corridor. The system will follow existing Union Pacific right-of-way from downtown Sacramento to Calvine/Auberry. To maximize the use of available State and local capital funds, RT will implement this project in several phases. The first phase, a 6.3-mile minimum operable segment (MOS), would operate between downtown Sacramento and Meadowview Road. Population and employment in this corridor are expected to grow at rates faster than the regional average, resulting in severe congestion on the two major highways in the corridor. Construction of the MOS began in November 1999, and the project is projected to open for revenue service by September 2003. The total capital cost of this project is estimated at $222.00 million.

On June 20, 1997, an FFGA was issued for the 6.3-mile MOS, committing a total of $111.20 million in Federal new starts funding. This does not include $1.98 million in prior year funds that were obligated before the FFGA was issued, which brings the total amount of §5309 new starts funding to $113.18 million. A total of $77.98 million in FY 2000 and prior year funding has been allocated to this project. An additional $34.87 million was appropriated in FY 2001, leaving $328,810 required to complete the Federal commitment to this project. It is recommended that these remaining funds be provided in FY 2002 to fulfill the terms of the FFGA.

St. Louis/Metrolink St. Clair Extension

The Bi-State Development Agency (Bi-State) is developing a 26-mile extension of the Metrolink light rail line from downtown East St. Louis, Illinois to the Mid America Airport in St. Clair County. A 17.4-mile Minimum Operable Segment (MOS) will extend from the current Metrolink terminal in downtown East St. Louis to Belleville Area College (now known as Southwest Illinois College). This segment consists of eight stations, seven park-and-ride lots, 20 new light rail vehicles, and a new maintenance facility in East St. Louis. The route makes extensive use of abandoned railroad rights-of-way. Right-of-way and real estate acquisition is proceeding as scheduled, and revenue service is scheduled to begin in 2001. The total capital cost of the St. Clair MOS is estimated at $339.20 million.

On October 17, 1996, FTA and Bi-State entered into an FFGA that commits a total of $243.93 million in §5309 new starts funding to complete the 17.4-mile MOS to Southwest Illinois College, and provides for extending the system to Mid-America Airport should funding become available at a later date. The funding committed to the MOS does not include $8.49 million in Federal new starts funding provided prior to FY 1996, which brings total Federal funding for this project to $252.41 million under the new starts program. Through FY 2000, a total of $161.88 million has been appropriated for this project. The FY 2001 appropriation provided an additional $59.44 million, leaving $31.09 million needed to fulfill the original Federal funding commitment. It is recommended that these remaining funds be provided in FY 2002.

Salt Lake City/CBD to University LRT

The Utah Transit Authority (UTA) is implementing 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 CBD to University line is scaled back from the originally proposed 10.9-mile West/East line from the airport to the university. Total capital costs are estimated at $105.80 million.

FTA issued an FFGA for the CBD to University LRT project on August 17, 2000, committing a total of $84.60 million in §5309 new starts funds. This does not include $4.96 million in FY 2000 and prior year funding, which brings the total amount of new starts funding for this project to $89.56 million. An additional $1.98 million was appropriated in FY 2001, leaving $82.62 million remaining to complete the FFGA. As specified in Attachment 6 of the FFGA for this project, it is recommended that $15.00 million be provided in FY 2002, with the remaining $67.62 million to be provided in future years.

Salt Lake City/North-South LRT

The Utah Transit Authority (UTA) has completed construction of a 15-mile light rail transit (LRT) line from downtown Salt Lake City to the southern suburbs. The line opened for regular weekday service on December 6, 1999. The system operates on city streets downtown (2 miles) and then follows a lightly-used railroad alignment owned by UTA to the suburban community of Sandy (13 miles). This project is one component of the Interstate 15 corridor improvement initiative, which includes reconstruction of a parallel segment of I-15. Though original ridership projections for the South LRT system estimated daily ridership at 14,000 daily passengers in 2000 and 23,000 passengers by 2010, current ridership has already exceeded 26,000 weekday passengers. Total capital costs for this project were $312.49 million.

Salt Lake City has been selected as the site for the 2002 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. This project will connect major hotels and local residential areas with the Olympic venues for figure skating, medal rounds for ice hockey, and the International Broadcast Center, and will connect with bus service to venues for speed skating, curling, and the Nordic alpine events.

On August 2, 1995, FTA issued an FFGA for this project that commits a total of $237.39 million in Federal new starts funding. This does not include $6.60 million in prior year funds that were provided before the FFGA was issued, which brings the total amount of §5309 new starts funding to $243.99 million. A total of $243.28 million has been appropriated in FY 2001 and prior years, leaving $718,006 needed to complete the Federal commitment. The FY 2002 budget recommends that these remaining funds be provided to fulfill the terms of the FFGA for this project.

San Diego/Mission Valley East LRT Extension

The Metropolitan Transit Development Board (MTDB) is constructing a 5.9-mile, 4-station light rail extension of its existing Blue Line, from east of Interstate 15 to the City of La Mesa, where it will connect to the existing Orange Line near Baltimore Drive. The Mission Valley East line will serve four new and two existing stations, and would include elevated, at-grade, and tunnel portions. The project includes two park and ride lots and a new access road between Waring Road and the Grantville Station. The corridor runs parallel to Interstate 8 in eastern San Diego and La Mesa, and is characterized by a mix of low- to moderate-density industrial, residential, and commercial uses, but includes several major activity centers such as San Diego State University, the Grossmont regional shopping center, Kaiser Hospital, the Alvarado Medical Center, and the Grantville employment area. Over 24,000 jobs and nearly 10,000 residences are located within walking distance of the proposed stations, and existing zoning is generally supportive of transit. Total capital costs are estimated at $431.00 million.

On June 22, 2000, FTA issued an FFGA committing a total of $329.96 million in §5309 new starts funding to this project. Through FY 2000, Congress has appropriated $22.11 million for this project, and an additional $31.21 million was provided in FY 2001. As specified in Attachment 6 of the FFGA, it is recommended that $65.00 million be provided for this project in FY 2002, with the remaining $211.64 million to be provided in future years.

San Francisco/BART Extension to SFO Airport

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) in San Francisco and the San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans) are constructing an 8.7-mile, 4-station extension of the BART rapid transit system to serve San Francisco International Airport (SFO). The project consists of a 7.5-mile mainline extension from the existing BART station at Colma, through Colma, south San Francisco, and San Bruno, terminating at the Millbrae Avenue BART/CalTrain Station. An additional 1.2-mile spur from the main line north of Millbrae will take BART trains directly into the airport, to a station adjoining the new International Terminal.

The San Francisco International Airport is a major partner in this project. All structures and facilities to be constructed on airport property, and installation of related equipment, are being funded, designed and constructed by the airport for BART. This project is also part of the FTA Turnkey Demonstration Program to determine if the design/build approach will reduce implementation time and cost. On July 24, 1997, the first contract was awarded for site preparation and utility relocation associated with this project. Bids for the main contract for construction of the line, trackwork and related systems were opened on November 25, 1997.

On June 30, 1997, FTA entered into an FFGA for the BART-SFO extension, committing a total of $750.00 million in Federal new starts funds to the project; total capital costs at that time were estimated at $1,054.00 million. The total cost has since increased to an estimated $1,510.20 million; a recent surge in local construction activity has resulted in higher than estimated costs for construction of this project. Per the terms of the FFGA, any cost increases are the responsibility of the local project sponsors. Thus, the original Federal commitment is unchanged at $750.00 million. Through FY 2000, a total of $217.19 million has been appropriated for this project. An additional $79.25 million was provided in FY 2001, leaving $453.56 million of the total commitment remaining. In accordance with Attachment 6 of the FFGA for this project, it is recommended that $80.61 million be provided in the FY 2002 budget to keep this project progressing on schedule. The remaining $372.94 million would be provided in future years. This extension is expected to open for service by July 1, 2002.

San Jose/Tasman West LRT

The Santa Clara County Transit District (SCCTD) is implementing a 12.4-mile light rail system from northeast San Jose to downtown Mountain View, connecting with both the Guadalupe LRT in northern Santa Clara County and the Caltrain commuter rail system. The project is proceeding in two phases: the Phase 1 West Extension will connect the northern terminus of the Guadalupe Light Rail System in Santa Clara with the Caltrain Commuter Rail station in downtown Mountain View, a distance of 7.6 miles; the future Phase 2 East Extension will complete the remaining 4.8 miles. The total capital cost of the Phase 1 West project was $325.00 million.

Construction is complete and the Phase I West Extension opened for revenue service on December 17, 1999, a year ahead of schedule. The Phase II East Extension is being funded with State and local funds.

An FFGA was issued for Phase 1 of this project on July 2, 1996, providing a total of $182.75 million in §5309 new starts funding. A total of $170.50 million was provided in FY 2000 and prior years, and an additional $12.14 million was provided in FY 2001. This leaves $113,336 needed to complete the Federal commitment to this project. It is recommended that these remaining funds be provided in FY 2002.

San Juan/Tren Urbano

The Puerto Rico Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTPW) is constructing a 10.7-mile, 16-station rapid rail line between Bayamon Centro and the Sagrado Corazon area of Santurce in the San Juan metropolitan area. The system consists of a double-track line operating over at-grade and elevated rights-of-way with a short below-grade segment, and a maintenance facility. When complete, this system is expected to carry 113,300 riders per day by 2010.

This project has been selected as one of FTA's turnkey demonstration projects, which incorporates contracts to design, build, operate, and maintain the system. During 1996 and 1997, seven contracts were awarded under the turnkey procurement. The total capital cost of this project is now estimated at $1,653.60 million.

On March 13, 1996, FTA entered into an FFGA committing $307.41 million in §5309 new starts funds to this project, out of a total project cost of $1,250.00 million. This did not include $4.96 million in Federal new starts funding provided prior to FY 1996, which brings total Federal new starts funding for this project to $312.37 million. This FFGA was amended in July 1999 to include two additional stations and 10 additional railcars. This amendment included $141.00 million in §5307 funds and $259.90 million in flexible funding; no additional §5309 new starts funds were committed. A total of $84.63 million in §5309 funds has been allocated to the Tren Urbano project in FY 2000 and prior years, and an additional $74.30 million was appropriated in FY 2001. This leaves $153.44 million needed to complete the FFGA. In accordance with Attachment 6 of the FFGA, it is recommended that $50.16 million be provided to this project in FY 2002, with the remaining $103.28 million to be provided in future years.

Seattle/Central Link LRT (MOS-1)

The Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority (Sound Transit) is planning a 23.5-mile, 23-station light rail system 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 initial segment (MOS-1) consists of a 7.2-mile, 10-station line running southwest from the Northeast 45th Street Station to the South Lander Street Station. The line includes 4.5 miles of new and exclusive right-of-way, 1.3 miles through the existing Transit Tunnel, and 1.4 miles reconfigured from an existing busway south of the downtown area. Ridership for MOS-1 is estimated at 87,200 average daily boardings and 39,800 daily new riders. Total capital costs for this project are now estimated at $2,603.00 million, with revenue operations scheduled to begin in November 2009.

The Link LRT system is one element of Sound Transit's voter-approved ten year, $3.9 billion Sound Move regional transit plan. This plan 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 Sound Move Corridor was authorized for final design and construction by Section 3030(a)(85) of TEA-21.

In January 2001, FTA and Sound Transit entered into an FFGA for the Link LRT MOS-1 project, which committed a total of $500.00 million in §5309 new starts funds. Through FY 2000, Congress has appropriated $41.44 million in §5309 new starts funds for Sound Move. An additional $49.53 million was appropriated for the Link LRT in FY 2001, leaving $409.03 million needed to complete the Federal commitment.

However, due to increases in the overall cost of this project and delays in the implementation schedule, the FFGA for this project is currently under review. In April 2001 the Department’s Inspector General issued an Interim Report recommending that the Secretary hold funds and funding decisions for this project in abeyance until a specific set of actions related to cost estimation, project scope, cost control, and overall financing plans have been addressed. DOT and FTA immediately began implementing these actions. No funding is recommended for the Seattle Link LRT MOS-1 project in FY 2002.

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 has managed the project through preliminary engineering, and WMATA has assumed responsibility for managing the final design and construction activities. MTA and WMATA expect this extension to open for service by December 31, 2004. Total capital costs are estimated at $433.90 million.

This project is authorized by Section 3030(a)(94) of TEA-21 for final design and construction. On December 15, 2000, FTA entered into an FFGA with WMATA that commits a total of $260.30 million in §5309 new starts funds to this project. This does not include $5.65 million in prior year funds that were provided to the MTA for planning activities associated with this project, which would bring the total amount of §5309 new starts funding to $265.95 million. A total of $5.65 million has been appropriated through FY 2000, and an additional $7.43 million was provided in FY 2001. This leaves $252.87 million required to complete the pending FFGA. In accordance with Attachment 6 of the FFGA, it is recommended that $60.00 million be provided for this project in FY 2002, with the remaining $192.87 million to be provided in future years.

Pending Federal Funding Commitments

In addition to the funding recommendations for existing Federal commitments discussed above, new commitments are pending for two additional projects. In anticipation of these commitments, FTA recommends that a total of $37.23 million be allocated among these projects in FY 2002. 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 2002. Both of these projects have been authorized by TEA-21 for final design and construction.

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 additional trains which will 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.

Section 3030(a)(42) of TEA-21 authorizes the “Maryland – Light Rail Double Track” for final design and construction. A total of $5.65 million has been appropriated through FY 2000, and an additional $2.97 million was provided in FY 2001. An FFGA for this project is pending; the total amount of the Federal funding commitment will be determined at the time it is issued. In preparation for this commitment, it is recommended that $18.11 million be provided to this project in FY 2002.

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. The total cost of this project is estimated at $218.70 million, of which Metra is expected to seek $36.97 million (17 percent) in §5309 new starts funding.

The South West corridor, located along the former Norfolk Southern railroad right-of-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 daily new riders, by 2020. Northeastern Illinois is classified as a “severe” nonattainment area for ozone. 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 2000, a total of $5.74 million has been provided for this project, and Metra allocated an additional $12.12 million from its overall FY 2001 new starts appropriation. An FFGA for this project is pending; the total amount of the Federal commitment will be determined at the time it is issued[4] In anticipation of this commitment, it is recommended that $19.12 million in §5309 new starts funds be provided to the Metra South West Corridor project in FY 2002.

Proposed Funding Commitments

In addition to the funding recommendations for the existing and pending Federal commitments discussed above, five proposed projects are expected to be ready for commitments before the end of FY 2002 (i.e., September 30, 2002). In anticipation of these new commitments, FTA recommends that a total of $84.00 million be allocated among these projects in FY 2002. These projects have all been rated as “recommended” or “highly recommended” under the criteria and processes specified by TEA-21, or are exempt from the rating process under §5309(e)(8)(A). All of these projects have been authorized by TEA-21. The funding recommendations described below are based on the anticipated funding needs of each project in FY 2002.

Chicago/Metra North Central Commuter Rail

Metra, the commuter rail division of the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) of northeastern Illinois, is seeking to add a second mainline track along 12 miles of the 53-mile North Central Service commuter rail line. The proposed project also includes track and signal upgrades, construction of five new stations, parking facilities, rail yard expansion and purchase of one new diesel locomotive and eight bi-level passenger cars. The total capital cost of this project is estimated at $236.45 million, of which Metra is expected to seek $144.69 million in §5309 new starts funding.

 

The North Central corridor extends from downtown Chicago to Antioch on the Illinois-Wisconsin border, and traverses suburban Lake County. It includes the two most significant hubs of employment in the six-county northeastern Illinois region, the Chicago CBD and the area surrounding O’Hare International Airport. Metra estimates that this project will serve an average of 8,400 average weekday boardings by 2020, with 8,000 daily new riders. This project has been rated “medium” for both project justification and finance, earning an overall rating of “recommended.” FTA approved entry into the final design stage of development in October 2000.

Section 3030(a)(10) of TEA-21 authorizes the North Central project for final design and construction. Through FY 2000, a total of $19.60 million was provided for this project, and an additional $14.25 million was provided in FY 2001.[5] FTA anticipates that Metra will be ready for an FFGA for this project before the end of FY 2002. The total amount of the Federal commitment will be determined at that time. In preparation for this expected commitment, FTA recommends that a total of $23.00 million be provided to the Metra North Central Commuter Rail project in FY 2002.

Chicago/Metra UP West Commuter Rail (Central Kane)

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 36-mile Union Pacific West line which currently provides service between Geneva and downtown Chicago. This project would extend the line eight 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 two new stations and associated parking facilities, a new train yard, and the purchase of one diesel locomotive 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 $142.08 million, of which Metra is expected to seek $87.44 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. 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.”

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.

Section 3030(a)(13) of TEA-21 authorizes this project as the Chicago “West Line Expansion” for final design and construction. Through FY 2000, a total of $8.14 million was provided for this project, and an additional $8.31 million was provided in FY 2001. FTA anticipates that Metra will be ready for an FFGA for this project before the end of FY 2002. The total amount of the Federal commitment will be determined at that time. In preparation for this expected commitment, FTA recommends that $20.00 million be provided to the Metra Union Pacific West project in FY 2002.

Miami/South Miami-Dade Busway Extension

The Miami-Dade Transit Agency (MDTA) is planning an 11.5-mile, 12-station busway extension along US Route 1, between Cutler Ridge Mall near SW 200 Street and Florida City. The project is an extension of the existing 8.3-mile South Busway, which opened in February 1997 and serves Miami and the rapidly growing area to the south. The extension is expected to serve an average of 8,800 average weekday boardings and 3,000 daily new riders, and will improve travel time and transit access in the corridor along Route 1 in South Florida, which now has only limited service.

The total capital cost of the extension is estimated at $88.80 million, of which MDTA is seeking $23.40 million (27 percent) 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). The South Miami-Dade Busway Extension meets the requirements for this exemption. However, FTA strongly encourages sponsors who believe their projects to be exempt to nonetheless submit information for evaluation and rating purposes. As no information was submitted to FTA for evaluation, no rating has been assigned.

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), in conjunction with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), undertook a major investment study in 1985, which recommended that a busway be constructed in the corridor extending from the Dadeland South Metrorail station south to Florida City. Phase I of this busway, the 8.3-mile segment to Cutler Ridge, was constructed with FHWA funds and opened in 1997. FDOT and FHWA completed a preliminary engineering report and draft environmental impact statement for this extension in December 1997. In August 1999, the South Miami-Dade Busway Extension was selected as one of FTA’s ten bus rapid transit (BRT) demonstration projects. FTA approved entry into final design in October 2000, and construction is expected to begin on the first five-mile segment by January 2002.

Section 3030(a)(46) of TEA-21 authorizes the Miami South Busway Extension for final design and construction. The FY 2001 Transportation and Related Agencies Appropriations Act reprogrammed $16.90 million in prior year §5309 new starts funds for this project from the Miami East-West Corridor and North 27th Avenue projects. In order to continue the development of this project, FTA recommends that $5.00 million in §5309 new starts funding be provided to the South Busway Extension in FY 2002.

New Orleans/Canal Streetcar Spine

The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) is developing a 5.5-mile streetcar project in the downtown area, along the median of Canal Street. The Canal Streetcar Spine will extend from the Canal Ferry at the Mississippi River in the central business district, through the Mid-City neighborhood to Carrolton Avenue, where one branch will continue on Canal Street to the Cemeteries and another will follow Carrollton Avenue to City Park/Beauregard Circle. The corridor is located in an existing, built-up area that was originally developed in the streetcar era. Much of the corridor lies within the central business district and historic areas, where employment and housing densities, mix of uses, and pedestrian-oriented development are generally good. The central business district includes a high-density mix of office, retail, hotels and leisure attractions. The total capital cost of this project is estimated at $156.60 million, of which RTA is expected to seek $125.30 million (80 percent) in §5309 new starts funding.

RTA completed a major investment study for this project in March 1995, fulfilling the requirement for an alternatives analysis. FTA approved entry into preliminary engineering in September 1995, and RTA initiated final design activities in September 1997. Final design is essentially complete, contracts for vehicle assembly have been awarded, and construction contracts will be awarded in early 2001. This project has been rated “medium-high” for project justification and “medium” for local financial commitment, earning it an overall rating of “recommended.” The financial rating reflects the fact that sufficient local capital funds are now committed to this project, as well as improvements to the stability of the agency due to an extension in the scope of the RTA sales tax. RTA expects to open this line in April 2004.

Section 3030(a)(51) of TEA-21 authorizes the New Orleans Canal Streetcar Project for final design and construction. To date, Congress has appropriated a total of $55.18 million for this project. FTA anticipates that RTA 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, FTA recommends that a total of $23.00 million be provided to the Canal Streetcar Project in FY 2002.

San Diego County/Oceanside-Escondido Rail Project

The North County Transit District (NCTD) in northern San Diego County, California is planning to convert an existing 22-mile freight railroad corridor between Oceanside and Escondido into a rail transit line. The line would run east from the City of Oceanside through the cities of Vista and San Marcos and unincorporated portions of San Diego County, to the City of Escondido, using diesel multiple unit (DMU) rail vehicles. The alignment also includes 1.7 miles of new right-of-way to serve the campus of California State University San Marcos (CSUSM). The line is located along the State Route 78 corridor, the principal east-west corridor in the county. The complete 23.7-mile system will serve 15 stations, four of which would be located at existing transit centers. Passenger rail service would have exclusive use of the rail line during pre-defined hours of operation.

An Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Oceanside-Escondido project was certified in 1990, and a separate EIR for the CSUSM alignment was certified in 1991. A Major Investment Study was not required under the procedures in effect at the time, based on concurrence from FTA, FHWA, the San Diego Association of Governments, Caltrans, the City of San Marcos, and NCTD. Advance planning was completed in December 1995, and the Environmental Assessment/Supplemental Environmental Impact Report was completed in early 1997. FTA approved NCTD’s request to enter final design in February 2000.

The total capital cost for this project is estimated at $332.30 million, of which NCTD is expected to seek $152.10 million (46 percent) in FTA §5309 new starts funds. Ridership is estimated at 15,100 average weekday boardings in 2015, and 8,600 daily new riders. The San Diego region is a “serious” nonattainment area for ground-level ozone and a “moderate” nonattainment area for carbon monoxide. This project will help to eliminate the heavy congestion of northern San Diego County along the Route 78 corridor, saving 700,000 hours of travel time a year compared to the TSM alternative. The project will serve large intermodal transit centers in both Oceanside and Escondido, and the corridor between contains a dispersed mix of commercial, industrial, and single- and multiple-family residential developments. This project is rated “medium-high” for both finance and justification, earning an overall rating of “highly recommended.”

Section 3030(a)(77) of TEA-21 authorized this project for final design and construction. Through FY 2000, Congress has appropriated $7.93 million in §5309 new starts funds for this project, and an additional $9.91 million was provided in FY 2001. FTA anticipates that NCTD 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 $13.00 million be provided for this project in FY 2002.


[1] Section 3009(g) of TEA-21 requires that $10.4 million in §5309 new starts funds be set aside annually for ferry capital projects in Alaska or Hawaii; after accounting for oversight activities under §5327, $10.30 million is available for these projects.

[2] This includes the Seattle Central Link LRT MOS-1 project; however, due to increases in the overall cost of this project and delays in the implementation schedule, this FFGA is currently under review.

[3] Reflects amounts provided through the FY 2001 Transportation and Related Agencies Appropriations Act and the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 106-554).

[4] The FY 2001 Transportation and Related Agencies Appropriations Act provides $269.10 million in commitment authority for the three Chicago Metra commuter rail projects.

[5] FY 2001 and prior year funding reflects local allocation of Congressional appropriations for “Metra Commuter Rail Projects.”