Section 5309 New Starts Criteria Reporting Instructions


Printer Friendly Number 2008-36
08-07-08

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The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has updated its Reporting Instructions for the Section 5309 New Starts Criteria, which can be found on the FTA web site at http://www.fta.dot.gov/planning/newstarts/planning_environment_218.html.

For projects already in the New Starts or Small Starts “pipeline” (projects in preliminary engineering, final design, or Small Starts project development), FTA requests that information related to travel forecasts, operating and maintenance cost methodologies, and service annualization factors should be sent electronically on CDs to the FTA Office of Planning and Environment (TPE), 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, East Building, Washington, DC, 20590. When submitting electronic files, FTA requests that they be transmitted in both their original format (Excel/Microsoft Word/etc.) and as Adobe format (PDF) files.

We also want to provide some additional information on the "Preservation of Information for Before and After Study" requirement as stated in FTA's May 16, 2006 policy guidance: http://www.fta.dot.gov/planning/newstarts/planning_environment_5203.html#2_Preservation_of_Information_for_Before_and_After_Study.

FTA has an obligation to verify the information being preserved will be useful for developing a meaningful before and after study including:
-- Capital costs: plan and profile drawings, design standards, standard cost categories, cost methodology (includes typical cross sections and other assumptions).
-- Operating costs: documentation of methodology and results, plus the cost model itself (including derivation of the input assumptions).
-- Ridership: preservation of the ability to replicate the forecasts; this applies to model validation year, opening year, no build, baseline, and build forecasts; submittals to FTA on DVD include model documentation, application scripts, input data, forecast outputs, and Summit inputs and reports.

Compliance means preservation of forecasts produced from the alternatives analysis, preliminary engineering (PE), and pre-full-funding grant agreement (FFGA) final design (FD), but other milestones may become necessary depending on a project's history, such as when the forecasts of costs or ridership significantly change after the selection of a locally preferred alternative but before approval to enter PE is granted. Submittal of this information to FTA is a requirement for approval to enter PE and FD and execution of an FFGA. Project sponsors are encouraged to contact Stephanie McVey at FTA headquarters in the Office of Planning and Environment (stephanie.e.mcvey@dot.gov, 202-366-2573) to start a project-specific dialog as soon as possible.

We also wish to emphasize our interest in helping project sponsors with preparation of their Before and After plans, as well as technical assistance regarding the development of the rider surveys and other data collection that takes place before and after a New/Small Starts project is opened for revenue operations. Please contact Stephanie McVey.

Lastly, please check out several checklists that FTA recently added to our web site including the final design checklist, FFGA checklist, and letter of no prejudice checklist. These checklists outline the requirements for gaining FTA approval and contain links to the various guidance documents related to each item on the list.

For further information, contact John Witmer in Region 10 at (206) 220-7964 or email john.witmer@dot.gov.

Sincerely,

/s/

R.F. Krochalis
Regional Administrator