This report provides the U.S. Department of Transportation's recommendations to Congress for allocation of funds to be made available under Title 49, United States Code, Section 5309 for construction of new fixed guideway systems and extensions (major capital investments or "New Starts") for Fiscal Year (FY) 2004, as required by Section 5309(o)(1).  The Annual Report on New Starts is a collateral document to the President's annual budget submission to Congress.  It is meant to be a constructive element in the administration of the Federal transit assistance program, enriching the information exchange between the Executive and Legislative branches at the beginning of an appropriations cycle for the next Fiscal Year.

The President's budget for FY 2004 proposes that $1,514.92 million be made available for the Section 5309 major capital investment program.  After setting aside one percent of these funds for oversight activities as proposed in the Presidentís budget and approved in Public Law 107-87, providing funding for ferry capital projects in Alaska or Hawaii, and for projects currently in Final Design or Preliminary Engineering, $1,368.28 million is available for project grants.  This report recommends funding for 26 current, pending, or proposed projects in FY 2004.  Of these, 19 have existing Federal funding commitments in the form of Full Funding Grant Agreements (FFGAs); funding commitments are pending for three; and four are expected to be ready for FFGAs before the end of FY 2004 (September 30, 2004).  In addition to these projects, there are seven current FFGAs that will not require additional funding in FY 2004, if the FY 2003 Congressional appropriation provides the amount requested by the President for each project. 

The funding recommendations contained in this report are the result of an extensive project development and evaluation process.  To be eligible for New Starts funding, proposed projects must complete the appropriate steps in the planning and project development process, as described in Section 5303-5306 and Section 5309 of Title 49, United States Code, and receive a rating of "Recommended" or higher in the most recent Federal Transit Administration (FTA) evaluation.  Each project recommended herein for a multi-year funding commitment has completed this process, has been reviewed and rated by FTA with respect to project justification and local funding commitment, has met or is expected to meet the criteria for receipt of a Federal funding commitment, and has either been awarded an FFGA or is a strong candidate for an FFGA in FY 2004.