Saturday, April 13, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Friday, July 27, 2012
Federal Transit Bill Shifts Funding towards Busses, Away from Rail
By Selected News Articles @ 5:59 PM :: 10934 Views :: Maui County, Education K-12, Energy, Environment, National News, Ethics

Inside MAP-21: New Starts Transit Grants

by Jason Jordan, APA Director of Policy and Government Affairs, July 13, 2012

The American Planning Association (APA) is taking a closer look at the new federal surface transportation bill, MAP-21, with daily posts detailing the changes and new provisions of a key program or section. The bill provides a 27-month, $118 billion authorization and has been signed into law by President Obama. The new provisions of the law will take effect October 1, 2012.


The New Starts program, also known as the Fixed Guideway Capital Investment Grant program, had its funding cut slightly by about $50 million to $1.907 billion for each of the fiscal years 2013 and 2014.

New Starts is the primary federal program providing funding for major new transit projects. The program is left intact overall but includes eligibility modifications and reforms designed to streamline the approval process.

In addition to funding new fixed guideway capital projects and small starts, the bill creates a new program category for Core Capacity Improvement Projects. These projects are defined as those that provide substantial investment while increasing the capacity of a corridor by 10 percent or more. This should increase flexibility for transit agencies to use funding to maintain their existing capital assets if they can generate at least a 10 percent increase in capacity as a result of the investment. (Funding is not to be used simply to maintain a state of good repair.)

As requested by the House, the bill modifies the definition of Bus Rapid Transit projects to broaden the use of the program. BRT projects will now be classified and funded as either Corridor-Based or Fixed Guideway. Corridor-Based BRT projects lack a separate right-of-way but include defined features that emulate rail service and are considered a small start. Fixed Guideway BRT projects include all the same features as the former category, but the majority of the project operates in a separate right-of-way dedicated to public transportation during peak periods.

A provision in the bill allows three Fixed Guideway BRT projects to receive at least 80 percent federal funding share each fiscal year. These provisions provide a significant opportunity for communities seeking to invest in BRT, which under SAFETEA-LU, was mostly funding through bus discretionary appropriations.

Lawmakers in both chambers put an emphasis on efforts to streamline project approval for all programs. New Starts evaluation criteria are simplified and duplicative project development steps are removed in an effort to enable FTA to review proposals more quickly. The bill specifically includes the Senate’s provision to expedite review for fixed guideway projects with a New Starts funding share of less than $100 million or less than 50 percent of the total project costs. The technical capacity review process would also be expedited for transit agencies that have already completed a similar project that achieved or surpassed budget, cost and ridership projections.

The bill also establishes a Pilot Program for Expedited Project Delivery, which is essentially a category for demonstration projects that require less than 50 percent federal funding share. Only three projects will be eligible, one of which must request more than $100 million and one less than $100 million in federal financial assistance.




TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together



Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Moms for Liberty

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

July 4 in Hawaii

Kakaako Cares

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii


Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

ReRoute the Rail

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

School Choice in Hawaii

Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii