In 2005 FTA implemented a new capital costing format, the Standard Cost Categories, to establish a consistent format for the reporting, estimating, and managing of capital costs for New Starts projects. The cost information gathered from projects across the country was intended to generate a database and a cost estimating resource, useful to FTA and the transit industry alike. The thought was that a shared database would create greater transparency in our industry regarding capital costs, and a greater knowledge base of reasonable cost ranges. These should in turn improve the reliability of cost estimates. The database is still in a state of becoming.
The Standard Cost Category worksheets are a project management tool. They are “project-based,” as opposed to grant-based. Over the life of an individual project, the consistent format should make it easier to track, evaluate and control cost changes.
While the SCC worksheets provide a fundamental project management tool for New Start projects, an important part of operationalizing the Standard Cost Categories, is creating a simple interface with TEAM, FTA’s Grants Management System. A “crosswalk” was developed between the SCC and the Scopes and ALIs that make up TEAM grant budgets. To the extent possible, one pair of TEAM Scopes/ALIs was directly matched with one SCC category. There was overwhelmingly positive support among FTA headquarters and regional staff and project sponsors for tracking grants in TEAM at the "top ten" level: