The proposed budget provides $320 million to accelerate project implementation and development – a new category of funding that would allow other projects in the pipeline to progress if they are prepared to provide construction assistance before the end of the fiscal year. At least $75 million of this funding would be earmarked for small municipalities (urban and rural municipalities) to set up new bus routes with premium functions. Two major bay area projects are moving forward with New Starts grants: FTA considers each project for new launches (in the PE or final phase) to be high, medium, medium, medium, low or low. Ratings are included in the annual report on funding recommendations, which is presented to Congress each spring to implement a comprehensive funding agreement (FFGA) to support multi-year construction capital requirements. Hello, President DeFazio, member of the Duncan ranking and members of this subcommittee. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to testify today about the Federal Transit Administration`s (FTA) New Launches and Small Launches programs, which are among the federal government`s largest discretion programs. When the “New Starts” program was last evaluated by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the program received the highest score among 62 competitive federal grant programs. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Department of Transportation Office of the Inspector General have praised our management of the program as one of the strictest in government. New fixed-guide projects are planned for rail extensions with a minimum price of $300 million and require grants of more than $75 million. Small take-off projects include rapid bus projects and less expensive rail projects.
Basic capacity projects are improvements to an existing fixed guidance system that increases capacity by at least 10 percent. Investment grants should also become familiar with transportation planning requirements and environmental control procedures for projects funded by the FREI trade agreement. You will find information about the transportation planning process and the environmental control process We also communicate in writing with Congress before each New Starts project moves to the next stage of development. Before a project moves to preliminary engineering, final design or project development, we provide Congress with a 10-day notification and a brief description of the project. Prior to the signing of a FFGA, we provide Congress with a 60-day notice, a detailed briefing and a copy of the agreement and supporting documents. Our wish is certainly to make the process of new departures as transparent as possible, and close cooperation with Congress is a key element of this objective.