Projects that have Completed Alternatives Analysis

Seven proposed new starts projects have completed alternatives analysis since the last edition of the Annual Report on New Starts was issued. All of these have been approved to enter the preliminary engineering stage of project development. Six of these proposed projects have been rated as "recommended" or higher; one these, the Central Phoenix East Valley Corridor project, had prior approval to enter preliminary engineering, and is included in this report with full project evaluation and rating information that had been omitted from the Annual Report. The seventh project is seeking less than $25 million in §5309 new starts funding, and is therefore exempt from the project rating and evaluation process by §5309(e)(8)(A). Approvals for exempt projects to advance to the next stage of development are based on their having met basic grant eligibility requirements for the new starts program.

Bridgeport, CT/Intermodal Transportation Center

The City of Bridgeport is proposing to reconstruct an intermodal facility located in the downtown area. This new facility will be designed to physically and functionally integrate a variety of existing and proposed modes of transportation in the heart of the central business district. The combination of commuter and high speed rail, ferry, intra- and inter-city bus, taxi, limousine, airport shuttle, automobile and pedestrian modes in a single facility is expected to be an important transportation and economic development magnet to the downtown and waterfront areas. The existing Bridgeport intermodal center offers more modes of transportation services in one location than any other city in the State of Connecticut. The proposed new intermodal center is expected to improve the connectivity for transit patrons.

The City of Bridgeport, in cooperation with the Connecticut Department of Transportation and Greater Bridgeport Regional Planning Agency, has studied the feasibility of the Intermodal Center Project. In June 2000, the Greater Bridgeport Metropolitan Planning Organization selected the Bridgeport Intermodal Transportation project as the locally preferred alternative and has included it in their long-range transportation plan.

The Bridgeport Intermodal Center Project was authorized in TEA-21 by §3030(c)(1)(A)(vi). To date, no §5309 new starts funding has been appropriated for this project, though the FY 2001 appropriations act provided $5.00 million in funding from the §5309 bus program.

The total capital cost for the intermodal center project is estimated at $62.40 million, of which Bridgeport is expected to seek $24.90 million in §5309 new starts funding. Under §5309(e)(8)(A), proposed new starts projects requiring less than $25.00 million in §5309 new starts funding are exempt from the project evaluation and rating process required by §5309(e). FTA strongly encourages sponsors who believe their projects meet the requirements for exemption to nonetheless submit information for evaluation and rating purposes, in order to provide FTA with a sound basis for decisionmaking and recommendations concerning their project. In those cases when such information is not provided, no rating can be assigned, and FTA must base its approval for advancement on a determination that basic grantmaking eligibility requirements have been met. On this basis, FTA approved this project to enter preliminary engineering in April 2001.

Dallas/Northwest-Southeast Light Rail MOS

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) is proposing to combine two proposed light rail extensions, the Northwest Corridor and the Southwest Corridor, into a single project. The northwest component of the combined Northwest/Southeast Light Rail MOS project is a truncated segment of the original Northwest Corridor line, which will extend from the CBD Transitway Mall and follow Harry Hines Boulevard and Union Pacific Railroad right-of-way through northwest Dallas to the City of Farmers Branch. The southeast component of the project extends from the CBD Transitway Mall to Buckner Boulevard along the median of the Good-Latimer Expressway and the Union Pacific and Southern Pacific Railroad rights-of-way. This 22-mile line represents the most cost-effective blending of the two corridors into a single project. DART intends to construct the remaining segment of the Northwest Corridor, from Farmers Branch to Carrollton, using local funds.

The northwest component of this project will link a large sector of DART’s service area to the light rail system, and the southern component will connect downtown Dallas with several southern communities. Sixteen stations are proposed, with most serving as intermodal transfer points with park-and-ride facilities. Ridership is forecast at nearly 41,600 average weekday boardings in 2025, with 9,500 daily new riders. The corridor contains a dynamic mix of land uses. The northern segment contains several residential communities and activity centers, and the southern segment contains several high-activity employment centers and transit-dependent areas. Some zoning changes have been adopted to encourage transit-supportive development within the corridor and growth management policies are included in the comprehensive plan.

The DART Board approved the locally-preferred investment strategies for the Northwest and Southeast Corridors in spring 2000. These strategies were based on a major investment study and a comprehensive public involvement process to determine the best mix of transportation modes and services to meet increasing demand in each corridor. The Regional Transportation Council endorsed the locally-preferred investment strategies and adopted them into its long-range plan for the region in January 2000.

The total capital cost of the Northwest-Southeast Light Rail MOS is estimated at $1,123.61 million, of which DART is expected to seek $500 million in §5309 new starts funding. Section 3030(b)(15) of TEA-21 authorizes the "DART LRT Extensions" for alternatives analysis and preliminary engineering. This project is rated "medium-high" for finance and "medium" for justification, earning an overall rating of "recommended." FTA approved this project for entry into preliminary engineering in July 2001.

Denver/West Corridor LRT

The Regional Transportation District (RTD) in Denver, Colorado is proposing an 11-mile light rail transit (LRT) system that will connect downtown Denver with the City of Golden. The West Corridor light rail line would extend from the Auraria station on the existing LRT line in Denver, and follow the former Associated Rail right-of-way and US Route 6 to the intersection of Route 6 and US Route 40 in Jefferson County. The double-track system is proposed to operate on an exclusive, grade-separated right-of-way, and would also connect with the Central Platte Valley (CPV) light rail extension serving Lower Downtown (LODO). Ridership is estimated at 23,900 average weekday boardings in 2020, 11,800 of which are daily new riders.

The Regional Transportation District (RTD), in cooperation with the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), completed a Major Investment Study (MIS) on this corridor in July 1997. The MIS resulted in the selection of a multimodal package of light rail and roadway transportation management improvements. The DRCOG Board has included the light rail project in the 2020 Long Range Regional Transportation Plan. A combination of Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and State funds are being used to fund preliminary engineering activities.

Section 3030(a)(25) of TEA-21 authorizes this project for preliminary engineering. Through FY 2001, Congress has not appropriated any §5309 new starts funds for this project.

The total capital cost of the West Corridor LRT project is estimated at $624.30 million, including right-of-way acquisition, final design, construction, and acquisition of rolling stock. Of this, the RTD is expected to seek $366.30 million in §5309 new starts funding. This project has been rated as "medium" for both finance and justification, earning an overall rating of "recommended." Based on these ratings, FTA approved this project for entry into preliminary engineering in March 2001.

Honolulu/Primary Corridor Transportation

The Department of Transportation Services (DTS) of the City and County of Honolulu is proposing a 32.2-mile, 31-station Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system connecting Downtown Honolulu with the University of Hawaii, Waikiki Beach, Pearl City, Pearl Harbor, Waipahu, and Kapolei. The proposed system includes several BRT routes that serve markets along Route H-1 from Kapolei to the Honolulu CBD, a circulator service within the Honolulu CBD, and extensions to the University of Hawaii and Waikiki Beach. The proposed project would use exclusive bus lanes along Route H-1 and street right-of way within the urban areas of Honolulu and connect a series of park and ride lots located at Kapolei, Kunia, Pearl City/Aiea, Middle Street, Dillingham/Kapalama, Iwilei, and Aloha Stadium. The proposed fleet consists of 768 vehicles, including conventional diesel buses, hybrid diesel/electric buses, articulated buses, and mini-buses in the various operating environments of Honolulu. The project is intended to improve mobility for residents and employees throughout the corridor, where transportation capacity is limited by environmental conditions, and to help resolve severe transportation congestion problems. The system is forecast to have 71,000 average weekday boardings in 2025, including 46,300 daily new riders.

Initial planning efforts for the Primary Corridor Transportation Project began in 1998, with a series of public involvement efforts known as Oahu Trans 2K. The input received led to the development of an Island-wide Mobility Concept Plan. This plan contained the general framework and concepts for the development of the Major Investment Study/Draft Environmental Impact Statement (MIS/DEIS) undertaken in 1999 and 2000. In the fall of 2000, the MIS/DEIS was issued for public and agency review, and the regional Bus Rapid Transit System was selected as the locally preferred alternative in November of 2000. The Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization adopted the locally preferred alternative into the Oahu Regional Long Range Transportation Plan in April of 2001.

The total cost of this project is estimated at $648.00 million, of which DTS is expected to seek $182.10 million in §5309 new starts funding. The "Honolulu Bus Rapid Transit Project" is authorized by Section 3030(b)(73) of TEA-21 as a new starts project. This project is rated "medium" for finance and "medium-high" for justification, resulting in an overall rating of "recommended." FTA approved this project to enter preliminary engineering in July 2001.

LouisvilleTransportation Tomorrow South Corridor LRT

The Transit Authority of River City (TARC) is proposing to design and construct a 15-mile light rail transit (LRT) line extending from the Louisville Central Business District south to a park-and-ride facility at the Gene-Snyder Freeway (I-265). The proposed project would serve major trip generators including the Central Business District, the Kentucky International Convention Center, the Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, the Louisville Medical Center, the University of Louisville, Churchill Downs, the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center, Louisville International Airport, the UPS World-Wide Distribution Center, and the Ford Motor Company Louisville Assembly Plant. The proposed project also includes the construction of 18 stations, purchase of up to eighteen light rail vehicles and the construction of a light rail vehicle maintenance and storage facility. The South Corridor light rail project is expected to serve 15,950 average weekday boardings by 2020, including 11,000 daily new riders.

In 1996, TARC, in conjunction with the Kentuckiana Regional Planning and Development Agency (KIPDA) and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, began undertaking a Major Investment Study of potential transportation solutions in the greater Louisville/southern Indiana region. In the fall of 1998, the South Central corridor along I-65 was selected as the primary corridor in the region for the implementation of a rapid-transit project with bus improvements. The locally preferred alternative was adopted by KIPDA into the region’s financially constrained long-range plan in March of 1999.

TARC estimates that this project will save nearly 1.5 million hours of travel time per year, nearly 3,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, and more than 35,000 BTUs of energy. Most of the major activity centers in the corridor (Churchill Downs, the Medical Center, etc.) are within walking distance of the proposed stations. The Central Business District employs 60,000 people, and enjoys good pedestrian access. Local officials have developed transit supportive land use policies at an early stage in the development of this project.

Total capital costs for the Transportation Tomorrow South Corridor project are estimated at $671.2 million, of which TARC is expected to seek $380.20 million in §5309 new starts funding.

This project is authorized for final design and construction as the "Louisville-Jefferson County Corridor" by Section 3030(a)(40) of TEA-21. This project has been rated "medium" for both finance and project justification, giving it an overall rating of "recommended." FTA approved the South Corridor project into preliminary engineering in August 2001.

Phoenix/Central Phoenix East Valley Corridor [1]

The Regional Public Transportation Authority (RPTA) in Phoenix, Arizona is proposing a 25-mile at-grade light rail system to connect the cities of Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa. As a first step, the RPTA is undertaking preliminary engineering on a 20.3-mile segment from the Chris-Town Mall area, through downtown Phoenix and downtown Tempe, to Mesa. The proposed project would have 28 stations and serve major activity centers including downtown Phoenix, the Sky Harbor Airport, Papago Park Center and downtown Tempe, and form the centerpiece of redevelopment along Apache Boulevard in Mesa. The total capital cost of the East Valley Corridor is estimated at $1,241.40 million, of which RPTA is expected to seek $620.70 million in §5309 new starts funding.

RPTA completed the Central Phoenix/East Valley (CP/EV) Major Investment Study (MIS) in the spring of 1998. In September 1998, FTA granted permission to enter the Preliminary Engineering/Environmental Impact Statement (PE/EIS) phase of development for a 13-mile segment of the corridor. FTA subsequently approved preliminary engineering on 20.3 miles of the proposed system. The Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) (local metropolitan planning organization) adopted the CP/EV Corridor as a fixed-guideway corridor and included the CP/EV LRT project in the Long Range Transportation Plan and the current Regional Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP).

Section 3030(a)(62) of TEA-21 authorizes the Phoenix Fixed Guideway project for final design and construction. This project is rated "medium-high" for finance and "medium" for justification, earning an overall rating of "recommended."

Wilmington, DE/Transit Connector

The Delaware Transit Corporation (DTC) is proposing a 2.1-mile electric rail trolley system between downtown Wilmington and the waterfront. The Wilmington Transit Connector would provide service from 12th and Market Streets, through the Wilmington central business district, to the revitalized Christina Riverfront mixed-use development area. DTC plans to use vintage replica rail vehicles to preserve the historical character of the service area. This project is being undertaken as a public-private partnership initiative between the City of Wilmington and the Wilmington Renaissance Corporation, a private-sector nonprofit organization supporting downtown development and economic opportunities. The proposed route encompasses the major business, commercial and cultural activity centers of the city. Twenty-three stations and stops are planned from Rodney Square to the riverfront area, including a stop at the Amtrak intermodal station.

The project corridor lies within the relatively high-density Wilmington central business district, which includes high-rise office buildings, three to five story commercial buildings with ground floor retail and hotels, enclaves of two to three story row houses, and a riverfront area redeveloping from industrial to retail and recreational uses. The entire corridor is laid out on a street grid pattern that is relatively pedestrian friendly. Total CBD employment is 45,000. Population densities are relatively high, averaging 18,600 persons per square mile in the corridor. Several high trip generators are located in the corridor, including seven colleges, a hospital, historic commercial core, stadium, arts center, rail/bus station, and riverfront and tourist destinations. Several initiatives at the State, regional and city level are designed to contain sprawl in the Wilmington area and municipal development plans are all transit-supportive. Nearly all development proposed or under way in the City of Wilmington is located within the Wilmington Transit Connector corridor. This new development includes corporate offices, downtown housing above stores, riverfront housing, and retail and entertainment centers. The Transit Connector is part of the broader "Wilmington Initiatives" which support the redevelopment of Wilmington’s downtown and focuses on transit and pedestrian improvements.

The Delaware Department of Transportation, Delaware Transit Corporation, and the City of Wilmington completed an Alternatives Analysis in December 2000 to address transportation needs within downtown Wilmington. The project was adopted by the Wilmington Area Planning Council and is included in its long-range transportation plan and FY 2000 Transportation Improvement Program.

TEA-21 Section 3030(b)(72) authorizes the "Wilmington Downtown Transit Corridor" for alternatives analysis and preliminary engineering. The total capital cost of this project is estimated at $41.70 million, of which DTC is expected to seek $29.20 million in §5309 new starts funding. Based on FTA’s evaluation as required by §5309(e), this project has been rated "medium" for both finance and justification, earning it an overall rating of "recommended." FTA approved this project for preliminary engineering in July 2001.

[1] The Central Phoenix East Valley Corridor was previously approved for preliminary engineering; however, it was listed as "Not Rated" in the Annual Report on New Starts, pending an update of the regional travel demand model at FTA’s direction. This data is now available, and is presented in this report.