In Fiscal Years 2011 and 2012, our Federal Transit Administration signed more capital construction agreements for transit projects through its New Starts and Small Starts Program than in any two-year period in the agency’s history. That means that FTA is getting more transit projects started than ever before, bringing more communities the transportation options they want and need, and creating more jobs --hundreds of thousands of them-- at a time when families really need them.
Now, FTA is making a New Year's resolution to make it easier to submit projects for New Starts and Small Starts funding, and last week's Final Rule for Major Capital Investment Projects is a terrific first step. This revised approach streamlines the transit project approval process so communities can enjoy the benefits of transit more quickly.
The new rule reflects the Obama Administration’s ongoing commitment to strengthening public transportation across the nation as efficiently, effectively, and fairly as possible. It's also consistent with the President's Executive Order 13563, which called on Federal agencies to “modify, streamline, expand, or repeal” rules that may be “outmoded, ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome.”
First, FTA is reducing regulations and red tape. FTA will allow project sponsors to bypass a detailed analysis of benefits that are unnecessary to justify a project. And FTA is developing methods that can be used to estimate necessary benefits using simpler approaches. Overall, these changes will significantly reduce the volume and complexity of the paperwork project sponsors have to submit.
That could save taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars every year and help communities benefit from transit projects faster.